Ronald Lee Koch





1stinf purple_heart  












Private First Class Ronald Lee Koch was born on December 17, 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Koch of Lima Township, Michigan. Ronald is a 1966 graduate of Chelsea High School in Chelsea, Michigan. He worked for the Larowe Feed Company in Chelsea before entering the Army on March 2, 1967 . He receiveed his Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Advanced Training at Fort Polk, Louisianna.

Private First Class Koch began his tour of duty in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam on July 27, 1967 serving as an infantryman with A Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Ronald was killed on February 6, 1968 from shrapnel wounds sustained in an explosion.

Ronald Lee Koch is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister. He lived 20 years 1 month and 19 days. He is resting in Oak Grove Cemetery in Chelsea, Michigan. Ronald's name is listed on the Vietnam Memorial in Ypsilanti Township under Chelsea. His name also appears on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC on Panel 37E Line 060.


The Wall rubbing by John Kinzinger


The following was written by Ron’s sister Lynda:


Private First Class Ronald Lee Koch was born into a farm family, with an older brother and younger sister. When not out in the field with Dad, there were chores to be done--feeding livestock, getting the eggs, working in the garden--helping out wherever needed. There was time too to ride bikes, swing on the rope in the haymow, just have fun. Many of our neighbors were farmers of Germanic descent like we were. Life centered around the ethic of hard work, but also good food, and good fun. We never had a lot of money, but we were blessed with loving, hard-working parents. Our Mom was a good cook and a great baker--her pretzels and Christmas cookies were the best. I remember helping Mom pack up some of her cookies to send to Ronald when he was in Nam, and writing letters, sent by Air Mail.

Ronald began his schooling in a one-room school and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1966. He was well-liked, never bossy. A classmate fondly remembered that she never heard him say a bad word about anyone. Not interested in sports, Ronald’s love was fast motorcycles and fast cars.  Starting with a used Cushman motor scooter, he graduated up to a new 1967 SuperSport Chevelle. In the mid-60’s when skinny, tight-legged jeans were in style, I used to ‘peg’ (take in) the  side seams of his jeans--he liked the way I did it. Even though my brother Ronald and I got along well, he didn’t include me in the wild times with his friends--probably figured Mom and Dad would find out too much.

Starting with Sunday School, we all became members of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, and learned early the lessons in the Bible. Looking at the old pictures of when we were little floods one with memories, emotions. and some tears. On my Facebook page I posted a picture of Ronald on his tricycle and bib o
ronalds-chevelleveralls, probably around 5 years old. I captioned it: ‘In the days before fast motorcycles and the red SuperSport Chevelle’. After graduation, my brother and his friends spent any free time riding their motorcycles, hanging out and having fun--they knew these days could soon end.

Around February, Ronald a bright red 1967 396 SuperSport Chevelle, black interior, 4-speed on the floor, 4-barrell carb, dual chrome exhaust, and red sidewalls. It was a beautiful car and did not know how to go slow. Ronald knew he’d likely be going to Nam soon--I’m sure he and his friends made many wild and fun memories in that car. At his funeral, there was a bouquet of two dozen red roses, from his friends.

Dad drove the Chevelle down to Fort Knox, KY when Mom, Dad, and I went to see Ronald graduate from Basic Training. After additional training in the swamplands of Fort Polk, LA Ronald was sent to Viet Nam. At Detroit Metro Airport, as we were all saying our goodbyes, Ronald smiled at me, handed me the keys to his Chevelle, said ‘Keep the carbon out of it!’  I couldn’t believe it--he was trusting me with his new car--Ronald always was good to me. One Christmas, Ronald surprised me with a new stereo; we didn’t  buy each other gifts like that. So
thoughtful and kindhearted, and not expecting anything in return. After Ronald was buried on the 29th of February, I would drive his Chevelle through the cemetery, slowly past his grave, rock and roll blaring, then go tearing out of there. Dad sold the Chevelle later that year; he couldn’t bear to see it anymore.

Life was not the same after Ronald’s death. The grandkids filled some of the void and provided much love and laughter for Mom and Dad. It took me a long time to ‘get over it’ and get on with life, if one ever really does.  Ronald was always so thoughtful and good to me--although as kids we’d argue and Mom would say it was a sure sign it was going to storm.  What a nice brother--no wonder he is missed so much. I look forward to seeing him again, when my time comes. I like to think that he and some of his buddies, and our uncle Lawrence, are in Heaven riding their motorcycles and enjoying Mom’s pretzels. My husband Jeff and I gave our son Braden, Ronald’s middle name Lee, as an honor and remembrance forever.

Ronald’s sister,
Lynda (Koch) Gladstone


Dennis McIntyre
His sgt.
Vancouver, Washington
Not a day goes by that I don't see your face seconds before you died.
Sunday, May 11, 2003

The above comment from

View Name on Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC

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