Ronald Ellwin Evans was born in St. Francis, Kansas, on November 10, 1933, son of Clarence E. and Marie A (Prieke) Evans. He attended Highland Park High School, Topeka, Kansas and in 1956 received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. While there he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit and upon graduation was commissioned Ensign in the US Navy, February 3, 1956. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Commander, to date from October 1, 1969.
After receiving his commission in 1956, he had flight training at the Naval Air Basic Training Command, naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Transferred in December 1956 to the Naval Air Advanced Training Command, Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee, he had further training there and on April 12, 1957 was designated Naval Aviator. He then returned to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, for additional training. In June 1957 he joined Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED FORTH-TWO and while serving with that squadron participated in two Western Pacific cruises. In January 1961 he was assigned as a Combat Instructor with Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRES TWENTY-FOUR.
In June 1962 he reported for instruction at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, form which he received the degree of Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering in June 1964. He the rejoined Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR. In October of that year he transferred to Fighter Squadron FIFTY-ONE and in that assignment served a period of seven months in the Vietnam combat area, flying F-8 (Crusader) aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). He was awarded the Air Medal with Gold Stars in lieu of the Second through the Eighth Air Medal for successfully completing seventy-three strike and fourteen flight missions against communist guerilla forces in Southeast Asia during the period November 5, 1965 to April 18, 1966. He also received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and was cited in part as follows:
“… Lieutenant Commander Evans distinguished himself (on March 17, 1966) by his heroic and courageous actions against two Viet Cong battalions in the village of Cu’u Lo’i… during their assault on friendly troops. The attacks were major factors in …area being denied to the enemy…”
Selected for the astronaut program, he reported in April 1966 for training at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas.
In addition to the Air Medal with Silver Star and two Gold Stars (seven addition awards) and the navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” Commander Evans has the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam) and the National Defense Service Medal.
He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Society of Sigma Xi and Sigma Nu. His hobbies are golfing, boating and swimming.
He died April 7, 1990.