Ronald Cardona

Ronald Cardona

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Gardner, Massachusetts, US
United States Army
Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam, 07/06/1969


Nearly 40 years after her husband died in the Vietnam War, Kathleen Cardona will finally see him recognized for his service. On Sunday, U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, will present Cardona with Vietnam-era service medals in honor of her late husband Ronald Cardona’s service during the war. The couple had been married just six months when Cardona was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.

The ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. at the American Legion Post 14, located at 114 West St. Courtney will be joined in the ceremony by American Legion Post 14 Commander Eric Molitoris and other dignitaries.

Kathleen married Ronald, a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, in December 1968 against the wishes of her parents and just prior to his deployment to Vietnam. He was killed in action six months later, and his military records were never updated to reflect his marriage. As a result, Kathleen never received the medals Ronald had earned or the survivor benefits she was entitled to as a military widow because the Defense Department refused to correct its records and recognize the marriage. Courtney’s advocacy, however, resulted in the Defense Department’s finally recognizing the marriage. The department announced in August that Ronald’s records had been corrected.

Vernon police, South Windsor police, and the American Legion Riders will escort Kathleen from her home to America Legion Post 14 for the ceremony Sunday. The medal presentation will feature a military honor guard, including a bugler from the 102nd Army Band who will perform Taps and sing the National Anthem, and a flyover by four Connecticut National Guard helicopters in the missing man formation.

Ron’s portrait is also on Poster 1


5 Responses to “Ronald Cardona”
  1. Chandler C Smith says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    my name is Chandler Smith. I was in the army with Ron Cardona in 1968. We were in basic ft .dix a.i.t. ft.mcclellan,,ranger school,and airborne training ft.benning. Ron and I were not close friends ,but we were definitely aware of each other. We flew to viet nam on the same plane in January 1969. I have good thoughts and memories of Ron. Ive tried to contact you before with no luck. I hope I,m succcessful this time. P.S. I did not know Ron got married. RANGERS LEAD THE WAY.
    Sincerly, Butch Smith.

  2. Doreen Cardona says:


    Iam sorry to inform you that Ronald Cardona was known by Ronnie to his family. He was 1of 9 children. This new knowledge of you being married to my brother, is the first that I have ever heard of you. Not to mention, that I heard this information from my daughter who is a veteran. I just would like to inform you that there is a whole family of Cardona’s in California. If you would like contact me please email me

  3. Frank Cardona says:

    Hi Kathleen I am Ronalds brother and a retired Marine Gygst. I had no idea that Ronnie had been married. All his medals went to my mom. I would like to hear from you or anyone else that knew my brother including Chandler Smith.

  4. Bonita Cardona says:

    Hi Kathleen
    I am Ronald Cardona sister and he has nine brothers and sisters in California and we have never heard of you. My brother was never called Richard I think you have the wrong man. My brother died in 1969. The metals my brother received were given to our mother. My Brother would be in his late 60’s. I am sorry for your lost but I don’t believe it was my brother, but that is his picture.

  5. Frank Cardona says:

    Anyone knowing my Older Brother SSgt Ronald Cardona Please contact me at I was only 13 when he died in Vietnam. Especially Kathleen, I would really like to meet you.

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