Nevada News Group - A longtime newsman and educator who primarily served in the Nevada Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve was recognized on October 18, 2023 as the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) Veteran of the Month for September.
The NDVS recognized LTC (Ret) Steve Ranson of Fallon, Nevada, for not only his 28 years of military service but for the additional years he has supported various Veterans and civic 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 a number of news sources including the Nevada News Group and This Is Reno.
“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 said Ranson’s stories originate from the front line to the communities back home.
In 1981, Ranson enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard, received a commission, and attended his Adjutant General'S Corps officer basic training in 1982 at Fort Benjamin, Indiana, and his advanced officer training in 1990 where he was named an honor graduate. He completed the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1996. Other schools included the Advanced FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Public Affairs Officer Program, the U.S. Army Crisis Management PAO Program, the Advanced Audio-Visual Managers Course, and the U.S. Army Reserve PAO course.
Ranson was an educator for 30 years teaching at Wells (Nevada) High School, the Department of Dependents Schools in Panama, and within the Churchill County School District.
In 1974, Ranson received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism and a Masters of Education in Educational Administration and Higher Learning, also from the University of Nevada at Reno, in 1980. He also completed coursework for a co-major in English from the University of Tennessee at Martin and Brigham Young University.
During his years in the military, Ranson was commander of the State Area Command, executive officer and interim commander of the 106th Pubic Affairs Detachment on two different occasions, a battalion administrative officer (S-1) during Desert Storm, and state command information officer for Joint Force Headquarters in Carson City. During a Team Spirit exercise in the Republic of Korea in 1984, Ranson was a television newscaster for AFKN (American Forces Korea Network) reporting on the daily events associated with the multi-national training.
From 1984-1986 in Panama, Ranson was a broadcast officer and on-air talent for news stories and promotions for the Southern Command Network at Fort Clayton and worked with Balboa High School to establish a Partners in Education program.
Ric Fairbanks, a Vietnam Veteran who recently retired from the Fallon Job Connect 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 he personalizes our neighbors and their contributions to our communities.”
Fairbanks said Ranson enlightens the non-military community through his writing about what is important to Veterans which opens a door for more broader communication.
Fairbanks said Ranson, as a civilian journalist and then-editor of the Lahontan Valley News, traveled to the Arabian Sea in November 2011, two years after his retirement, to document the training done at Naval Air Station Fallon and how it relates to the operations with an air wing aboard an aircraft carrier. He covered both Naval Air Station Fallon and the Nevada 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 traveled 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, Military Reports and Editors, and the Nevada Press Association.”
Ranson served as President for the Nevada Press Association and the International Society of Weekly Newspapers, and has been on the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Authority for a decade. He is an inductee of the Nevada Army National Guard Hall of Fame, and a sportswriter inducted into both the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and Churchill County Greenwave Hall of Fame.