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Fallon journalist, retired Guardsman named Veteran of the Month

Longtime Fallon resident, journalist and retied military officer Steve Ranson, left, was named September’s Veteran of the Month by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony presented a certificate of recognition. NDVS photo

Nevada News Group

A longtime newsman and educator who primarily served in the Nevada Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves was honored on Oct. 18 as the Nevada Department of Veterans Services Veteran of the Month of September.

The NDVS recognized Steve Ranson of Fallon for not only his 28 years of military service but for the additional years he has supported various veterans organizations throughout the state. He retired in 2009 as a lieutenant colonel. Ranson is editor emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News, but he continues to write military and veterans articles for the Nevada News Group.

“He volunteers time to research and write stories on active duty and reservists and the National Guard,” said Joseph Thiele, executive officer of NDVS. He told his stories from the from line to the communities back home.


Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony presented the award and congressional representatives from the offices of Congressman Mark Amodei and U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, presented certificates.

“The State of Nevada is committed to serving our veterans,: Anthony said, adding he and Gov. Joe Lombardo are also supportive of the veteran community. “We have a very robust Nevada Department of Veterans services,” he said.

Ranson was an educator for 30 years teaching at Wells (Nevada) high School, the Department of Dependents Schools in Panama and Churchill. County School District where he taught high-school English and journalism and was vice principal at the middle school (formerly the junior high school).

In 1981, Ranson enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard, received a commission and attended his Adjutant General Corps officer basic training in 1984 and his advanced officer training in 1990 where he named an honor graduate. He completed the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1996.

During his years in the military, Ranson was commander of the State Area Command, executive officer and interim commander of the 106th Pubic Affairs, a battalion officer during Desert Storm and state command information officer for Joint Force Headquarters.

From1984-1986 in Panama, Ranson was a broadcast officer and on-air talent for news stories and promotions and worked with Balboa High School to establish a Partners in Education program.

Ric Fairbanks, who recently retired from the Fallon JobConnect office, nominated Ranson for the award.

“Steve’s biggest contribution to our state has been his contributions and efforts in supporting our Armed Forces and their various missions,” Fairbanks wrote. “From the training that takes place at Naval Air Station Fallon (Top Gun), to the deployment of our National Guard units to faraway lands, Steve’s writing and disseminating of these stories help educate and inform our local communities not only on veterans’ issues, resources, programs and events but the personalizes our neighbors and their contributions to our communities.”

Fairbanks said Ranson enlightens the non-military community through his writing to what is important to veterans which opens a door for more broader communication.

“For over 30 years now, I have had the privilege of participating in all kinds of military events from military installation change of command ceremonies to veterans’ Job Fairs and during all that time, I’ve had the pleasure of observing Steve at most — if not all — of them. Most recently Steve covered the Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature (VAMDAL) event in which he was running back and forth from the state library building to the legislative building trying to cover all the major events of the day,” Fairbanks stated in his nomination. “It is his enthusiasm and dedication to our military community that inspired me to make this nomination.”

Fairbanks noted Ranson, along with two other authors, wrote  “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War” which focuses on Nevada’s World War II veterans and their stories. Proceeds from book sales have been directed to Honor Flight Nevada.

Fairbanks said Ranson, as a civilian journalist and then-editor of the Lahontan Valley News, traveled to the Arabian Sea in November 2011 to document the training done at Naval Air Station Fallon and how it relates to the operations with a carrier air wing aboard an aircraft carrier. He covered both Naval Air Station Fallon and the National Guard.

“Steve embedded with Nevada Army National Guard units in Afghanistan twice — in November 2011 and November 2012. In 2011, he stayed with Nevada Army National Guard soldiers at Kandahar and then used Bagram Airfield as a central location. The following year, he travelled to Forward Operating Base Shank and then to Camp Phoenix near Kabul,” Fairbanks said. “He received two Military Reporters and Editors awards in 2011 and 2012 for his reporting from Afghanistan in addition to numerous awards from the National Newspaper Association and Nevada Press Association.”

Fairbanks said Ranson also belongs to various civic and military organizations and helps the Fallon American Legion Post 16 with its holiday meals program. Ranson’s military involvement includes the National Guard Association of the United States, the Adjutant General’s Regimental Corps Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion, Military Veterans in Journalism .He also assists the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post with their Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contests for students.

Ranson said the stories need to be told and that’s why he reached out to fellow Nevada Guard commander to sponsor him to embed to Afghanistan. He also accompanied the Nevada Guard to Romania in January to report on a Carson City based military police unit that had been deployed to a NATO base near the Black Sea.

Ranson self-funded his three overseas trips to report on the Nevada Guard.

During the presentation, Ranson recognized his co-authors of “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War.” In less than three years, he said the book has netted more than $25,000 for Honor Flight Nevada.

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