Admiral Narmi Inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame
Retired Naval Rear Admiral Ronald Narmi (Iowa State University, 1955) was one of three inductees to the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame in September.
Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1933 Narmi loved to build model airplanes as a child. During WWII he watched Army Air Force glider pilots train at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. while standing on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. He was in ROTC during high school. His brother, Joe, served in WWII at Admiral Nimitz’s headquarters in communications; and his sister, Kathryn, was a “Rosie the Riveter” driving rivets on the B-29 Enola Gay at the Glenn L. Martin bomber plant at Offutt Airbase in Nebraska.
He wanted to be an engineer, and Iowa State was known for its engineering school. “A high school friend who was one year ahead of me had gone to Iowa State on a wrestling scholarship,” said Narmi. “He knew I was also interested in Iowa State, so when the college had its annual spring open house, he invited me to come see the campus and stay at the Delt house. I came, I saw, I pledged that fall.”
Narmi recalls the value in getting to know many great guys through the Fraternity. They shared the teamwork of building floats, conducted serenades and held song practice. “Working together with a lot of different personalities was quite an education. Perhaps the greatest thing I learned though was time management. So much to do, so little time to do it in,” said Narmi.
He was the first Iowa State University Navy ROTC graduate to be promoted to Flag Rank. In addition to a bachelors degree in aeronautical engineering from Iowa State, he has a master’s degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School; a MSSM degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California; a MSA degree in Administration of National Security Policy from George Washington University; and a Distinguished Graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also attended summer executive training courses at Harvard and at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Narmi served with distinction in the U.S. Navy for 30 years and accumulated 4,653 hours of flight time. He has been awarded 14 military decorations including the Air Medal. His assignments include: Command an aviation squadron, duty in the fleet Ballistic Missile Program in the missile branch, five tours in Vietnam flying combat fights; command of an aviation wing composed of six squadrons, command of the nation’s largest war college; the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; Commander Fleet Air Keflavik (Iceland); Commander Iceland Defense Force, commanding Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and NATO Forces.
In 1984 he was honored with the Iowa State University Professional Achievement in Engineering Citation, and in 2010, he was inducted into the Iowa State University Department of Aerospace Engineering Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
Following his recent induction into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame Narmi said he was impressed to learn more about Iowa's extensive and long-standing contribution to aviation. The state where early aviation pioneers such as Clyde Cessna, the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart lived in their childhood years, now boasts many industry firms supporting aviation and significant academic contributions from Iowa State University's aerospace engineering program.