DUBUQUE, Iowa –
You may recall the phrase whispered from the cornfield, “If you build it, he will come” in the 1989 Film “Field of Dreams.” In a slight twist, the Soldiers of the 389th Engineer Battalion hosted a memorialization ceremony here that drew roughly 125 people from the area, acknowledging, “If you build it, they will come.”
The public outpouring of support is not unique in this Mississippi River town, which boasts robust veterans organizations and agencies. The attendees came for the memorialization of the Dubuque Army Reserve Center, which is now named after Spc. Ronald D. Rennison. The ceremony was held July 10, 2022, just a week after what would have been Ronald’s 53rd birthday.
A new sign sits at the entrance of the Army Reserve property prominently featuring Spc. Rennison’s name.
Spc. Ronald D. Rennison was a native of Dubuque, Iowa, who followed his father Harry, a decorated Navy Sailor, into military service.
Rennison entered the U.S. Army in 1987 and trained as an 88M motor transport operator. While serving in South Korea, he completed 20,000 miles of accident-free driving. He participated in a Team Spirit exercise with the Republic of Korea military along with a mission to the DMZ. Rennison was then assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During his time with the 82nd, he completed missions in Honduras and Egypt, where he participated in a Bright Star exercise. He was honorably discharged in 1990.
After the invasion of Kuwait by the Government of Iraq, Rennison received recall orders in early 1991. He was assigned to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment and reported to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for training.
Specialist Rennison was one of 697,000 service members who took part in Operation Desert Storm, the coalition effort to oust Iraq from Kuwait. Ronald was, unfortunately, one of the 292 service members who lost their lives during Operation Desert Storm.
Iraqi president Saddam Hussein realized he couldn’t defeat the military forces and international political will represented by the coalition forces, so his only option was to try to divide it. In retaliation for U.S. cruise missile strikes on Iraq targets, his country launched Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia.
On Feb. 25, 1991, an Iraqi Scud missile tumbled end over end out of the night sky over Saudi Arabia and obliterated the makeshift barracks housing the 14th Quartermaster Detachment. The Detachment lost 13 Soldiers and 43 wounded. Overall, the attack killed 27 Americans and wounded 98. Ronald was among those killed instantly.
As fate would have it, Harry Rennison was located only about five miles away from the location where Ronald was killed by the Scud missile.
Just six days after arriving in country, the 14th Quartermaster Detachment suffered the greatest number of casualties of any allied unit during Desert Storm. Ironically, the war ended three days later.
Rennison’s awards include the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Overseas Service Medal. He was also awarded the Kuwait Liberation Medal from the government of Saudi Arabia.
Ronald’s immediate family include his father Harry and stepmother Verna, stepfather Ronald Miller, brother Randy and half-brothers Richard, Edward and Travis.