Master Sergeant Ronald E. Axley, age 70, of Evansville, IN, passed away at 7:35 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at St. Vincent Hospital – Evansville.
Ron was born on October 20, 1948, in Evansville, IN, to James and Mary (Lamb) Axley. He went to Bosse High School for two years then transferred to North High School to attend classes with the Technical and Industrial Program where he studied machine drafting. Ron was terrible at drafting, but still managed to graduate with his class after going with his classmates to Butler Field House to cheer the Huskies on to win the ISHSS state basketball championship in 1967.
Ron enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 1968 where he was trained to be an air traffic controller. Then, as an Airman First Class, he received his first ground-controlled radar approach rating and later became dual qualified by obtaining his control tower operators certificate.
Ron served three years in West Germany before coming home to Grissom AFB up by Kokomo. Once he had put on his fourth stripe, he was reassigned to U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand where he was working in the radar approach control facility when Saigon was captured. Ron helped recover over one hundred and thirty-four Vietnamese Air Force and civilian aircraft in a forty-five minute period during Operation Frequent Wind which earned him the Vietnam Service Medal.
Numerous stateside duty assignments were accompanied by a year out at King Salmon Airport, Alaska and two tours of duty in South Korea. Ron was cross trained into Operations Management as a Technical Sergeant and was assigned to the 552d AWAC Wing at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City where he was put in charge of simulator training scheduling for the wing. Ron completely restructured the scheduling procedures which not only helped accelerate the training of crew members for the Boeing E-3B AWACS aircraft but saved the Air Force one million five hundred thousand dollars annually. As a result, he was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal. Ron made Master Sergeant his first time eligible and later retired as head of operations scheduling for the air wing in September 1988 with the award of Meritorious Service Medal.
Ron returned to Evansville after retirement. He later embarked on another career in sales and soon moved to Indianapolis where he remained for 18 years before returning to Evansville to assist his elderly parents prior to their passing. Later, he played a key role in the reactivation of the old P-47 Memorial Chapter of the Air Force Association in Evansville.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, James and Mary (Lamb) Axley.
Funeral Services and Burial will be private. Per Ron’s request, he will be buried at Rose Creek Cemetery in Nebo, Kentucky next to his grandmother Roxie Axley.
Arrangements are being handled by Boone Funeral Home East Chapel – A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN.
Condolences may be made to the family online at boonefuneralhome.net