The Nevada Army National Guard recently inducted retired Lt. Col. Steve Ranson, in civilian life the editor of the Lahontan Valley News, and retired 1st Sgt. Max Bearden into its retiree Hall of Fame for service beneficial to the state military.
Also honored at a retiree appreciation ceremony at the Nevada Military Department in Carson City was retired Chief Warrant Officer Robert Bagnato. Ranson, Bearden and Bagnato, recognized by Brig. Gen. Frank Gonzalez, the Nevada Army Guard commander, have a combined 90 years-plus of military service. The guard also recognized 41 other recently retired soldiers for their service.
The Nevada Guard Family Assistance Office, which hosts the event yearly in Reno and Las Vegas, has seen a marked increase in response and event attendance since the program began in 2001. Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Willson, who now works with the office, says the event is a good way to keep military retirees within the guard.
"Just because you're retired, doesn't mean you're retired from the guard family," Willson said. "It's great to see more people get involved and it's a way to recognize all leadership, and not just senior leadership."
Ranson retired in 2009 after serving 28 years in the guard and U.S. Army Reserve.
He first served as a broadcast officer in the 106th Public Affairs Detachment before moving to the Republic of Panama to teach at a Department of Defense school and serve as a broadcast officer for U.S. Southcom's SCN TV-Radio Network. Returning to Nevada, he served in the 106th PAD as an executive officer and interim commander; a battalion adjutant for Troop Command in Hawthorne which processed the only NVARNG unit to Desert Storm; chief of the Visual Information section; State Area Command commander; and Army public affairs officer for Joint Forces Headquarters.
He also served two tours in the Republic of Korea for Team Spirit and had short tours in Central and South America and at Ft. Jackson, S.C.
As a civilian journalist, he has covered almost every Nevada Army Guard deployment and homecoming for the past three years and also embedded with the Nevada Guard in Afghanistan in November 2011. Ranson also helped with the guard's quarterly magazine and recently volunteered to help at the National Guard of the United States workshops in Reno, held in September.
Bearden, who retired with more than 25 years of service, began his military career in March 1972 by joining the Nevada Army National Guard. Throughout his career, he had held many positions including assignments in the 106th Public Affairs Department and in recruiting.
While residing in Nevada, Bearden was active in a variety of community organizations such as the Yerington City Council, Reno Affirmation Action Advisory Committee, Reno Civil Service Commission and many others.
Upon his retirement, Bearden remains active in his local community in Idaho. He has been a member of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for more than seven years. Bearden also has participated in over 200 funerals, playing Taps, presenting flags, or acting as firing detail noncommissioned officer in charge