The Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Kenneth L. and Bonnita L. Bonnell Family Army ROTC Scholarship Honoring the U.S. Army Value of Selfless-Service

The Story

Ken and Bonnie currently live on a 151-acre-farm, outside of Marysville, Ohio.  They moved to the farm in 1990 after Ken’s retirement from the Army. They manage the farm raising crops and purebred Suffolk sheep. This could be the end of the story; a peaceful, bucolic retirement for an honorable soldier and his loving wife.

The real story is much more interesting! It is an American story about the selfless service of a family to their country, their state, their community and to military families and veterans. It is also about The Ohio State University.

The Early Years

Ken Bonnell was born in Wooster on November 16, 1944, and grew up in rural Wayne County, where at an early age he enjoyed fishing and hunting.  He became an expert marksman with bow and arrow, and with all types of firearms.  His father, Clifton Bonnell, a WWII veteran, had repeated health issues; was often hospitalized. His mother, Hilda (Howman) Bonnell, a nurse, worked several jobs. Ken was required to spend most of his teenage years focused on raising his two younger sisters, and to manage their small family farm, consisting of large tracts of vegetables, dairy cattle, and purebred hogs and sheep.  Ken was a gifted athlete, active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America earning many awards with his Southdown and Dorset Sheep at many fairs in a number of counties and at the Ohio State Fair.

Bonnita Lee Bader was born on February 21, 1943 in Columbus, Ohio to Mrs. Doris L. (Hill) Bader, a Nurse, while her father, Master Sgt. Raymond L. Bader, was serving overseas within the Army Air Corps.  Upon notification of her birth, a B-24 Bomber was immediately christened the “Bonnie Lee.”

From the time of her birth until the mid-1950s, Bonnie lived on Maynard Avenue, just off of High Street, near The Ohio State University.  Her life and Ohio State campus life would intersect repeatedly. Around 1956, the Bader family moved into a newly-built home on Cranford Road in Upper Arlington.

In the summer of 1958, Ken and Bonnie met in the Sheep Barn at the Ohio State Fair.  He was showing sheep and she was helping her cousin show lambs. Ken and Bonnie immediately bonded and spent a week together at the fair enjoying each other’s company.  They corresponded by letter for several years, and met occasionally during the summer.

Bonnie graduated from Upper Arlington High School, and went to Cleveland to attend Medical Technician Training at Carnegie Technical College. Ken Graduated from Wooster High School and went to Columbus to attend the Ohio State University. Ken and Bonnie lost contact with each other.

Ken initially had no firm goals in mind when he entered OSU other than that he might become a veterinarian, based upon his parents’ advice.  The first two years of Reserve Officer Training Corps program were mandatory for all male students. Ken’s best grades were in his Army ROTC classes and in an elective anthropology course. While many students dreaded studying military history, marksmanship, and drilling in uniform, Ken was immediately drawn to the whole “military experience.”  Furthermore, he found himself excelling in all aspects of the ROTC Program.  Enrolling into the ROTC Program was a defining moment for Ken, changing his life forever.

During the Spring Quarter of his Freshman Year, Ken was drawn to, pledged and became an active member of the Pershing Rifles fraternity.  Within this military-oriented brotherhood of future military leaders, Ken formed strong bonds of friendship which have lasted to this day.  It was within the OSU Army ROTC program, and the Pershing Rifles, that Ken discovered “himself,” found a real purpose in life, and developed goals for the future.  Ken enjoyed the challenges of leadership and rapid promotions within the ranks of the approximately 6,000 Army Cadet Corps.  Ken always made sure he set the example when he put on his uniform; a practice he kept throughout his military career.

Mid-way through his second year at OSU, Ken decided to pursue a career in the Army.  Spurning his parents’ advice, and following the advice of his well-respected ROTC Instructor, Capt. Gerald Tippin, and Ken switched from his pre-veterinarian program to a major in anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. By Spring Quarter, Ken attained the rank of Cadet Sergeant Major.

Ken needed a date for the Military Ball. He had recently ended an engagement and found that he was at a loss for a date. Deep in his little “Black Book” Ken found Bonnie’s phone number and decided to give her a call. Bonnie was delighted to hear from Ken but let him know that she was engaged to be married with the wedding date set.  Ken wished her well and was resigned to the fact that he would not have a date for the Military Ball. Thus, he volunteered to command the Saber Arch for the Ball.

About a week later, Ken received a telephone call from Bonnie stating that she was no longer engaged, and would be delighted to go out on a date with him.  The next day, after drill practice for Corps Day, Bonnie picked Ken up in her yellow Ford Falcon convertible.  They went to Frisch’s Big Boy Restaurant on Olentangy River Road.  From that point on, they were inseparable.  Ken felt he needed to be straight forward with Bonnie about his intentions to make the Army a career. Despite the war in Viet Nam, Bonnie stated that she had no reservations about being an Army Wife, and pledged to support him and his career goals.  They were married on September 12, 1964 with a military wedding at the Upper Arlington Lutheran Church.

As a Junior, Ken became a Cadet Captain with the responsibility of drilling a company of about 100 cadets. Bonnie also had a number of first time experiences that year; she became an expectant mother and she and Ken experienced their first separation while Ken attended Advanced Camp at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA.  He returned from Advanced Camp with high marks in leadership and was designated a Distinguished Military Student.

Ken’s senior year was eventful: Ken and Bonnie’s first son, Brett, was born on Oct. 27, 1965 and he was promoted to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. He was given the responsibility of drilling, and eventually leading a battalion of approximately 400 cadets on the OSU Oval for the President’s Review. On Sept. 2, 1966 Ken became a Distinguished Military Graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and a Regular Army Commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

On Sept. 2, 1966, Bonnie was proud to participate in Ken’s commissioning ceremony, pinning on his gold bars as a Regular Army Second Lieutenant of Infantry.  Her life as an Army Wife began in earnest knowing that Ken’s orders read that he had only three days in which to report to Fort Benning, GA to attend the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course.  Losing no time, Bonnie quickly packed up their child, their dog, and all of their belongings into an old, broken-down, Ford station wagon.  They departed the next day for Columbus, Georgia.   For the next four months, Bonnie made a home for her family in an old, run-down apartment just outside of the Main Gate of Ft. Benning.  While Ken learned his trade as an Infantry Officer, Bonnie learned the “do’s and don’ts” of being an Army Wife.

Ken’s Service in the United State Army

Like many young couples reporting to Fort Benning to attend the Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC), Ken and Bonnie rented an apartment at the Camellia Apartments, just outside the main gate. After completing IOBC, and Ranger School Ken, Bonnie and Brett packed up and moved to the Federal Republic of Germany

Second Lieutenant Bonnell’s first troop assignment was as a mechanized rifle platoon leader assigned to 1/51st Infantry, 1st Brigade, and 4th Armored Division in Crailsheim. Ken’s recognized leadership caused him to be assigned throughout the battalion starting with two different rifle platoons in two different rifle companies. Next, his leadership was required by the battalion’s Support Platoon and by the battalion’ Consolidated Dining Facility. It was not long before this facility earned the Division’s Best Mess Award. Upon promotion to First Lieutenant, Ken Bonnell’s next Assignment was as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander for the 1st Brigade in Illesheim. Almost immediately, Ken took his unit to Grafenwohr for three months to host tank gunnery for the entire division. While Ken was away and not unexpectedly, Bonnie went into labor and was taken by helicopter to the American Hospital in Nuremburg to deliver their second son, Bryon. Ken was only permitted a very short visit after the baby was born.

Soon orders arrived and Ken, Bonnie, Brett and Bryon were on their way to Fort Bragg where Ken underwent training to be an advisor to Vietnamese forces. They then moved on to Fort Bliss, TX where Ken was required to learn the Vietnamese language.  On September 2, 1968, two years after his commissioning, Ken was promoted to the rank of Captain while learning to speak Vietnamese.

Captain Bonnell went to Vietnam in October 1968, with Bonnie and the boys going back to Upper Arlington to live with her parents. Upon arrival in Vietnam, Ken was assigned to a secretive team within the J-3 Office of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).  However, Ken soon volunteered to serve as the Senior Advisor to the elite 34th Vietnamese Ranger Battalion.  As the leader of a four-man American team embedded with these Rangers, Ken quickly saw repeated combat action.  He was first wounded in early-June 1969 while on a search and destroy mission just north of the coastal Rung Sat Special Zone. It soon turned into a rescue of a downed helicopter crew which crashed into a nearby river. During the rescue, Ken received a stomach wound.  After spending one night in a Navy Hospital, Ken returned to his team and the Rangers.  Soon, he was engaged in fierce fighting at Loc Ninh along the Cambodian Border.  After repulsing wave attacks on their small base and receiving additional wounds, Ken led the Vietnamese Rangers in a pursuit of the enemy and in a bayonet charge against a well-entrenched NVA force destroying their planned ambush. During this tour, Ken received two Purple Heart Medals and several awards for valor.

Upon returning to the United States Ken, Bonnie, Brett and Bryon moved back to Fort Benning. While there Ken first attended Airborne School and then the Infantry Officers Advance Course.  The Family rented a house in Columbus, Georgia and enjoyed being together as a family again. New orders came.  After being sent to the Air-Ground Operations School at Eglin Air Force Base, and after seeing Ken’s departure for another tour in Vietnam, Bonnie and the boys returned to Upper Arlington to live with her parents.

Ken returned to Vietnam in January 1971 serving as S-3 Air, Company Commander, and S-4 while assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.  While commanding Company E, 2/506th Infantry (of WWII Band of Brothers Fame), Ken was engaged in several key battles while commanding Fire Base Rakkason near the A Shau Valley, and while commanding Fire Base Khe Gio during Operation Lam Song 719 along the DMZ and Laotian Border.

Brad Lee Bonnell their third and youngest child was born on May 10, 1971 at Riverside Hospital, Columbus, Ohio during Ken’s second tour in Vietnam. Ken was in command of E Company, 2/506th Infantry, when he received notification by the Red Cross to come home on Emergency Leave due to health concerns for his expectant wife. He arrived home two days before his new son’s birth. Bonnie and Brad both came through the ordeal in fine shape.  Ken soon returned to Vietnam and his soldiers.

When his tour was over in December, Ken returned to Upper Arlington, to a house on Swansea Road which Bonnie purchased with their savings from two combat tours. Ken attended Graduate School at The Ohio State University from January 1972 to April 1973 receiving a Master’s Degree in Anthropology with a major in Asian Culture.  In April 1973, he assumed duties at OSU as an Assistant Professor of Military Science as which he taught Leadership, Tactics, and Military History. He was also charged with getting juniors ready for ROTC Advanced Camp and served on the cadre at Advanced Camp. He also served as the Advisor to the Pershing Rifles Fraternity and also dedicated a lot of time and energy mentoring cadets and the women seeking commissions in the Army through other commissioning programs.

In August 1975, as a Senior Captain, Ken was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA.  While assigned to the Division HQs, he served as a G-3 Plans Officer, G-3 Operations Officer.  He then was personally selected by the Division Commander to serve as the S-3 (Chief Plans and Operations Officer) of the 3/47th Infantry Battalion since they were scheduled for an important deployment to Alaska for a Jack Frost Exercise. Ken was promoted to Major shortly before the deployment.  Soon after returning to Fort Lewis, ken was selected to be the S-3 (Chief Plans and Operations Officer) of the 3rd Brigade.

In August 1978 the Bonnells returned to Columbus where Ken served as the Chief Training Advisor to the 83rd Army Reserve Command with the express mission of implementing and instilling a new training management system within the command. With this mission accomplished, Ken left the ARCOM in July 1980 to attend the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, VA.  Then in 1981 he completed the French Language Course at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA.

Ken returned to Germany in July 1981, and was assigned to Headquarters, Central Army Group (NATO) as a G-3 War Plans Officer.  After being promoted early to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1982, he was given command of the CENTAG Support Command, an international battalion comprised of American, Canadian, and German soldiers.   Ken was tasked to develop and implement an organizational design transforming his command into the CENTAG/4ATAF Joint Support Group consisting of Army, Air Force, and Navy personnel from three nations.

Ken relinquished command of this joint-combined NATO unit in June 1984 to take command of the New Haven, Connecticut U. S. Army Recruiting Battalion.  In this command, Ken was responsible for all of the Army recruiting throughout the entire State of Connecticut and the western-half of Massachusetts. After back-to-back battalion commands and four years of command, Ken felt that he needed to spend more time with his family, especially his teenage sons.  Thus, he turned down several assignment offers to the Pentagon fully aware of the consequences.

In mid-1986, he was selected to become the Senior Army Instructor and Senior Army Advisor at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL.  In this position, he led a team of seven Army Instructors and mentored the 40 Army Student Officers per class. In this assignment, Ken had more time to spend with his family, while providing a valuable service to not only for the Army, but also for the education of Air Force’s future senior leaders in the importance of the Air-Land Battle Doctrine.  Little did Ken know how important this would prove to be as our Armed Forces (and his sons included) were on the brink of involvement in a future conflict called Desert Storm.

With all three of his sons, and a daughter-in-law, actively serving in the Army, Ken retired from the Army on October 1, 1990, after serving on active duty for over 24 years. Ken’s awards and decorations include four Bronze Star Medals (two for valor), two Purple Heart Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Army Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Medals (one for Valor), the Army Commendation Medal for valor, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with silver and bronze stars for valor. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, and the Vietnamese Ranger Badge. Units that he served in were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm.   Of note, Ken was inducted into The Ohio State University Army ROTC Hall of Fame in May 2006 joining a very elite group of leaders.
Bonnie’s Career and Service

Bonnie Bonnell was a paid professional and then a sought-after volunteer Medical Technician for 30 plus years in various civilian hospitals, clinics, labs, and Red Cross offices throughout the United States, and in military facilities in Germany.  She has drawn blood from premature infants to old soldiers, and has tested bodily fluids in labs from Germany to Alabama to Ohio.  She especially enjoyed her employment in the Army Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany.  She also liked working in an outpatient surgery clinic in Montgomery, Alabama. Her final Med Tech position was with Roche Biomedical (later became Lab Corps) in Dublin, Ohio while Ken worked at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.  However, after several years of production lab testing at Roche, Bonnie decided to make a career change. She wanted to directly help people, so she became an Activities Specialist.

Through that career switch, she was a paid professional Activities Specialist and Activities Director within several Senior Care Facilities within Union County for 10 years helping numerous senior citizens attain a better quality of life.  She thoroughly enjoyed helping this segment of our population.  Likewise, the residents of Carriage Court and Gables loved her; some residents, and many family members, still fondly remember the helpful “Little Bonnie.”

Bonnie was, and remains, the consummate Army Wife supporting her husband during his 24 years of active duty in assignments around the World, including two tours in Vietnam and two tours in Germany.  She readily supported soldiers and their families, especially during Ken’s two company commands and his two battalion commands.  She provided advice to many Army Wives throughout Ken’s career including the wives of young Lieutenants to the wives of 44 Army Majors attending the Air Command and Staff College each year.  Even though Ken is retired from the Army, they both still serve military families.  From 2007 to present, Bonnie has participated in the Ohio National Guard Family Readiness programs and has directly aided ONG families, especially during deployments.  Also since 2007, Bonnie has been very active within the Union County Military Family Support Group aiding the families of local veterans, of all branches, who have served since September 11, 2001.  Soon after joining the UCMFSG, she was selected to be the Secretary/Treasurer for the organization; and remains so to present.

She has been an Army Mother from 1988 to present, actively supporting her three sons, and their families, through their military careers spanning numerous overseas assignments and several conflicts from Desert Storm to the Global War on Terrorism.  Bonnie and Ken took care of a grand-pet and personal affairs while Brett Bonnell saw action as an Infantry Platoon Leader, and his wife, Diane, served as an Army Nurse, during Desert Storm.  Bonnie quietly kept her fears in check, while all three of her sons were in Iraq in 2003, while taking care of their wives, children, and pets.  All three of her sons had additional combat tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan.  All three sons have served in Korea and in other locations around the World.  Bryon just returned from a year-long assignment as a brigade advisor in Saudi Arabia, and is now serving as a Branch Chief in the Combined Arms Maneuver School/Center, Fort Benning, Georgia. She also enjoyed being a surrogate mother to numerous OSU ROTC Cadets from 1973 to 1975; she has tracked their lives for many years afterwards.  She fed many a cadet and Lieutenant as they came to the Bonnell home needing advice and nourishment.  She also traveled with many of the P/R Drill Teams, often having to mend uniforms along the way.

Bonnie also persisted as a Correction Administrator’s Wife for over 16 years as her husband held numerous significant positions throughout Ohio.  She endured Ken’s long hours and numerous absences as he established and administered correctional facilities and drug treatment programs.  Bonnie managed a flexible home schedule as Ken moved from one program to another.  As Ken moved from a State prison position, to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, to a multi-county facility for felons, to being the Director of the Greene County Adult Probation Department, Bonnie often had to manage the farm and the sheep operation by herself.  Yet, she found time to interact with and counsel offenders and their family members. When Ken was the Director of the Union County Discipline and Rehabilitation Center, Bonnie attended chapel services with the inmates and their families almost every Sunday.  She now supports her son, Brad, who is a Corrections Officer at the local tri-county jail.

She has been a dedicated, hard-working Farmer’s Wife from 1991 to present.  She has helped manage a 151-acre farm and a purebred sheep operation. She has delivered many lambs at midnight in February’s sub-zero weather.  She is adept at nursing sick animals, even raising lambs by hand in the house.  She also has her own riding lawnmower so that she and Ken can readily mow over 10 acres of grass keeping the farm looking neat.  She is also the bookkeeper for the farm and she is the pay master for the numerous farmhands during hay and straw baling time.

Service to Ohio and Community

Ken Bonnell started his second career by joining the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections in October 1990 as the Internal Affairs Investigator at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio.  In 1996, he joined the Union County Sheriff’s Office and was asked to create the Union County Discipline and Rehabilitation Center within the old Marysville High School on Seventh Street.  He was the Director of this highly successful Union County jail and prison diversion program for two years. Ken then became the Deputy Director of the West Central Community Correctional Facility, just north of Marysville, helping create a highly-structured, drug treatment program serving male felons from eight counties.  Based upon his experience, expertise, and leadership in establishing correctional programs, he was chosen by the Greene County Common Pleas Court to establish the Greene Leaf Therapeutic Community, a drug treatment program for male felons within the Greene County Adult Detention Facility in August 2002.  Based upon his proven leadership, the Common Pleas Judges asked Ken to also become the Director of the Greene County Adult Probation Department in March 2004, while still maintaining supervision of the drug treatment program.  Ken handily incorporated the drug treatment program into his planned reorganization of the Probation Department. In March 2006, he also established a female drug treatment program for the Court.  On December 1, 2006, Ken Bonnell retired from Greene County ending his 16-year corrections career.  Occasionally, Ken has conducted sensitive investigations for various correctional agencies throughout Ohio.

Bonnie has, and continues to be, an ardent and dedicated Community Volunteer, in both military and civilian settings.  She has volunteered for many years, in many ways, and at many levels from Scout Den Mother to being the Mayor of a large military housing area.  When Bonnie was not employed as a Med Tech, she would often volunteer her services, especially to the Red Cross. She participated in many Blood Drives at many locations in the United States and in Germany.  She has also been a Teacher’s Aide, PTA President, President of numerous Officer Wives Clubs, and the Manager of Thrift Shops on Army Posts, Air Force Bases, and Naval Installations.  She also volunteered in every facet of her sons’ sports activities including leading Baseball, Soccer, Football and Wrestling Booster Clubs from Tacoma, Washington to Norfolk, Virginia to Monterrey, California to Heidelberg, Germany to Guilford, Connecticut to Hope Hull, Alabama.  For four years in Alabama, Bonnie spearheaded a fund raising drive for the Hooper Academy Football Team by selling ads placed in the Football Programs.  Because of her energy, dedication, and leadership, the team was well funded each school year. Bonnie was also actively involved in Army Community Services around the World, including providing a safe home for many military children from newborns to teenagers.  The Bonnell Household often had extra children to be fed and tucked in at night.  At present, the Union County Children Services knows that they can safely place a child from a local military family in the home of Ken and Bonnie Bonnell.

Service to Military Families, Veterans and Community

Ken has always had a strong desire to help his fellow military veterans and their families He began what he calls his third career in February 2007, when he was appointed by the Union County Common Pleas Court to the “At Large” position on the Union County Veterans Service Commission.  Ken is a Life Member of the American Legion, American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, 101st Airborne Division Association, the U.S. Army Ranger Regiment Association and The Ohio State University Army ROTC Alumni Society.  He is also active in his community as a member of the Leesburg Township Zoning Commission.  He is a Past-President of the Union County Sheep Improvement Committee, and a Past-President of the Ohio Suffolk Sheep Association, and remains actively supporting 4-H and FFA youth activities within Union County.  Ken has given numerous talks within local schools, and is often requested to be a speaker for Memorial Day and Veterans Day Activities.

Since Ken’s retirement from corrections, they both have been very active within the Union County Military Family Support Group (UCMFSG).  This organization was founded in 2003 by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Oscar Decker and his wife when many local citizens were called to active duty leaving numerous military families without support.  In 2007, Ken was appointed Vice Chairman and in 2012 General Decker asked Ken to assume the duties of Chairman.  Since 2007, Bonnie has been the Secretary and the Treasurer for this Support Group. Under Bonnie’s planning and attention to detail, the support group is in the best financial posture since its founding in 2003, with a well-heeled General Operating Account and a Scholarship Fund which dispensed $5,000 in 2015, with a $1,000 grant bestowed upon an OSU Army Cadet from Union County. In 2014, Bonnie gave direct financial aid to military/veteran families totaling over $9,000, with another $3,000 spent on postage mailing “Troop Care Boxes” to those service members stationed away from Union County.  Furthermore, Bonnie has organized many family activities such as bowling, a fun day at a Pumpkin Farm, cookouts, hayrides, and trips to the zoo.  She also organized “spouse Luncheons” at which the spouses of veterans who have recently served could discuss family issues and problems related to service members’ PTSD and TBI.  Then, similar luncheons were held for the veterans. For the past five years, she has organized outreach activities such as booths at the Union County Fair and the Richwood Independent Fair with photos of our local heroes prominently displayed.  In 2014, Bonnie and Ken started a support campaign to help an Army Sergeant, who lost both of his legs at the hip due to an IED explosion, and his wife and baby.  With the UCMFSG directly aiding this veteran and his family, Bonnie and Ken also started a fund and organized numerous events to raise money to assist the organization, Homes for Our Troops, which built this Sergeant a specially-adapted home in Union County.

Since 2007, Bonnie and Ken were also very active with the Union County Veterans Remembrance Committee.  In 2007, this committee built a very unique Veterans Monument and Plaza on the Union County Courthouse lawn.  The plaza also contains memorial bricks which have been donated by numerous families.  Ken coordinated over 100 Boy and Girl Scouts participation in the Dedication Ceremony on May 19, 2007.  The most unique aspect of the plaza is kiosk containing the records of many Union County veterans.  Since early-2007, Bonnie has given countless hours researching and verifying veteran records for the kiosk’s data base.  Bonnie has helped enter over 3,000 veterans’ records into this data base. Thus, visitors may go to the kiosk and look up veterans’ information, to include looking up how many Union County veterans have served on in a given war, ship or unit.  Since 2008, Ken has been the Vice Chairman for Veterans Remembrance Committee ensuring that the monument, plaza, and data base are maintained at the highest standard.

The Bonnell Family

Ken and Bonnie have three sons that serve or have served in the Army:  Lt. Col.(Ret) Brett L. Bonnell, is currently working as a contractor handling the aviation reset program for the entire Army; Lt. Col. Bryon L. Bonnell remains on active duty as the Leadership Branch Chief within the Combined Arms School/Center at Fort Benning, Georgia; and 1st. Sgt. (Ret.) Brad L. Bonnell is currently working at the Tri-County Jail in Mechanicsburg, Ohio as a Corrections Officer

Brett, Brett’s wife, Diane, and Bryon are graduates of The Ohio State University and were commissioned through The Ohio State University Army ROTC Program. Brad’s last tour of duty was as the Senior Military Instructor within the Army ROTC Cadre at The Ohio State University. These three career soldiers, as well as Diane, an Army Nurse for eight years, have had combat tours in Southwest Asia beginning with Operation Desert Storm, and later in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition, Brett, Bryon, and Brad are all Eagle Scouts, airborne rangers, all have earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, and all have been awarded Bronze Star Medals.

Ken and Bonnie love hosting family visits, greatly enjoy spending time with their seven grandchildren and relish living on their 151 acre-farm, outside of Marysville, Ohio. A fitting, peaceful, and bucolic retirement for an honorable soldier and his loving wife.