BEETS, RONNIE D.
Rank / Branch:
SP4 E-4, U.S. ARMY
101ST AIRBORNE DIVIS
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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RONNIE D. BEETS, SPECIALIST FOUR, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Silver Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Military Merit Medal.
Ronnie was born in Cyril, Oklahoma. He grew up in Odessa and attended Odessa schools. He attended Ector Junior and Senior High School and was a 1962 graduate. He was active in sports and was a well liked student and was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" and "Mr. Congeniality" by his class. He married Merylyn Fraley also a 1962 graduate of Ector High School in August of 1962. Ronnie and Merylyn moved to Oklahoma City where Ronnie was working when he received his draft notice from Odessa. He was to be drafted into the Marine Corp in the spring of 1966. Ronnie decided that he would rather be in the Army, as his older brother was in, so he and Merylyn traveled to Odessa where he joined the Army.
Ector High School-Odessa 1961
Ronnie and Merilyn Beets
He completed his basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and then volunteered for airborne training and he then went to Fort Benning, Georgia where he completed his infantry AIT and parachute training. He began his tour in Vietnam in early September 1966. He was assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and he became a squad leader. On August 13, 1967, almost two weeks before the end of his Vietnam tour, his squad was ambushed while on patrol. Ronnie took charge and was credited with keeping his squad from being overran. During the action, he was credited with killing six V.C. Ronnie was seriously wounded when a grenade landed near him. For this action, he was awarded the Silver Star.
Ronnie in Vietnam-1966
He received a serious injury to his spine and he was paralyzed from the waist down and was almost dead, when he was medevaced. He ended up in Camp Zama, Japan and eventually stateside to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He was then sent to a Naval Hospital in Long Beach, California for spinal cord injuries. He and Merylyn moved back to Odessa when he was medically retired from the Army in 1970. He and his wife Merilyn had adopted two children, a boy and a girl in 1969. He resided in Oklahoma City for a year and he attended the University of Oklahoma. They moved back to Odessa in 1971 and Ronnie attended Odessa College. He died from complications of his wounds in Medical Center Hospital in Odessa on October 26, 1972, five years from his Vietnam service.
He was buried with full military honors in Memory Lane Cemetery in Anadarko, Caddo County, Oklahoma. His name was added to The Wall in Washington D.C. in November 1986.
Merylyn Beets raised their two children and now lives in Boise, Idaho.