Tennis player of the month – Ron Lord

Georgia Lord (Mayor of Goodyear) and Ron Lord

Dennis Whitley

If you ask most six-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up, you would probably get answers like be a fireman, a policeman or professional athlete. At age six, Ron Lord knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

After giving college a try, Ron knew it was not for him and decided to follow that childhood dream to become a fighter pilot. Ron did so well in the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program that he was able to pick any assignment he wanted to pursue. After training on the F-86 and F-100 Ron took an assignment to fly the F-100 in Japan for two years.

Upon returning to the states and being stationed at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina, Ron heard that the Army was looking for fighter pilots, so he went to the Army jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia and became a jump qualified forward air controller.

Somehow, Ron found the time to focus on his social life and met Georgia in Orlando, Florida and they were married in 1962. In 1964, they were off to Fort Lewis, Washington where he worked with the Fourth Infantry Division of the Army for the next two years. After this assignment, Ron requested an exchange assignment with the U.S. Navy, so he could fly fighter jets off of aircraft carriers. He was selected for the exchange, however, was going to be assigned to a base in Florida. Ron knew the Vietnam War was accelerating and the action was out of the West coast, so Ron asked the Navy if he could be stationed there. The Navy responded, “We’re looking for guys like you!” He was sent to San Diego where he flew the F-8 Crusader off the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard for nine months.

While on the aircraft carrier, Ron had his first tour in combat, flying over North Vietnam and facing surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft fire and Chinese and North Vietnamese MIGs. Ron’s second combat tour in Vietnam was flying the F-100 for the Air Force out of Phu Cat Air Base in South Vietnam. After six months, Ron returned to the states. The only way Ron could get another flying job was to go back to Southeast Asia, so he volunteered and was sent to Korat, Thailand and flew the F-4. This was Ron’s third combat tour.

Once back in the states from Thailand, it was off to the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, then to Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon. After three years at the Pentagon, Ron decided to become the U.S. Air Force attaché to the American Embassy in Germany and took Georgia and their children with him. From Germany, Ron went to the Allied Forces Central Command in the Netherlands, NATO.

Ron retired as a colonel in Washington, D.C. in 1986, after 30 years of service in the military. Obviously, Ron’s passion was flying and he was able to take that dream of a six-year-old boy and turn it into a distinguished career of service to his county.

Ron and Georgia moved to PebbleCreek in 1999 and as he describes it, their roles have reversed. Georgia and their children followed Ron’s career for many years and now he finds himself following Georgia around as mayor of Goodyear. Ron is happy fulfilling his current role as Goodyear’s “First Dude.”