Ronald Cole was drafted into the Army in 1968. Trained in power generation repair, he was sent to West Germany. After six months, he was transferred to Vietnam, where he became the crew chief of a Huey helicopter. On missions, he would man a .30-caliber machine gun. He left the Army in late 1969, and joined the Army National Guard. He returned to active duty because “he couldn’t find work,” and served in West Germany and Korea to oversee maintenance of power generators. He was discharged in 1983 with the rank of sergeant.