2021 Hall of Fame Inductee

University of South Florida (1972)

Col. Lonnie D. Vona was commissioned as an Infantryman in the Regular Army upon his graduation as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of South Florida in 1972. He is a graduate of the Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, Infantry Officer Course’s, Air Command and Staff College, Joint and Combined Staff Officer School, and the Army War College. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a master's degree from Furman University.

Vona has held multiple leadership positions in the Army.  He commanded the Headquarters Command Battalion in support of the U.S. Army Garrison and 6th United States Army Headquarters, Presidio, California. He served as Headquarters Commandant and Commander of the Army Element assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command.  Vona has also commanded the 2nd Brigade, First Region (ROTC), U.S. Army Cadet Command, at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  He has served as the Senior Army Adviser to the New Jersey National Guard. He also commanded the U.S. National Support Element, Taszar, Hungary, in support of Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia).  Vona served as the 49th Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Infantry Center and Fort Benning, Georgia.

Vona retired from active duty after competing 30 years of service. He served as the Senior Army Instructor at Hillsborough High School.

He has been awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, the Expert Infantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, and Master Parachutist Badge.  Vona was also the 1983 National Cadet Command ROTC Instructor of the Year.

About the Army ROTC Hall of Fame

The ROTC Hall of Fame was established in 2016 as part of the ROTC Centennial celebration. The first class (2016) inducted 326 former ROTC Cadets who had distinguished themselves in their military or civilian career.

The Hall of Fame honors graduates of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. It provides a prestigious and tangible means of recognizing and honoring Army ROTC Alumni who have made lasting, significant contributions to the Nation, the Army and the history and traditions of the Army ROTC Program.

Read more about the 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees.