Ron Polfer was born on December 9, 1933, in Kansas City, Missouri, and was raised in Independence, Missouri. He was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy through the Navy ROTC Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology on June 8, 1956, and then completed flight training, earning his designation as a Naval Aviator on May 2, 1958. His first assignment was as a Droner Controller with VU-6 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, from June 1958 to June 1959, followed by F3H Demon Replacement Air Group training with VF-101 at NAS Key West, Florida, and with VF-121 at NAS Miramar, California, from July 1959 to April 1960. His next assignment was as an F3H-2 pilot with VF-193 at NAS Moffett Field and NAS Miramar, California, from May 1960 to March 1962, and then as a production test pilot and Senior Flight Test Officer at NAS North Island, California, from April 1962 to June 1965. LCDR Polfer attended F-4 Phantom II Replacement Air Group training with VF-121 at NAS Miramar from July 1965 to March 1966, and then served as an F-4B pilot with VF-154 at NAS Miramar from March 1966 to August 1968, during which time he deployed with the squadron to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) from July 1966 to February 1967, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) from November 1967 to May 1968. His next assignment was on the staff of the Commander of 7th Fleet at Yokosuka, Japan, and deployed to Southeast Asia from September 1968 to November 1969, followed by service as Executive Officer of VF-121 at NAS Miramar from December 1969 to May 1971. During this time, he earned his Master's degree from San Diego State University on August 7, 1970. CDR Polfer next attended RA-5C Vigilante Replacement Air Group training with RVAH-3 at NAS Albany, Georgia, from June 1971 to January 1972, followed by service as as an RA-5C pilot and Executive Officer of RVAH-7, deployed to Southeast Asia aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) from January 1972 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on May 7, 1972. After spending 326 days in captivity, CDR Polfer was released during Operation Homecoming on March 28, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and then attended RA-5C refresher training with RVAH-3 at NAS Albany from September 1973 to January 1974. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of RVAH-6 at NAS Key West and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59) from January 1974 to January 1975, during which time he conducted special surveillance missions during the Cyprus Crisis in July 1974. Capt Polfer next served on the staff of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare in the Pentagon from February 1975 to July 1976, followed by Industrial College of the Armed Forces studies from August 1976 to June 1977, at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. His final assignment was as Aircraft Modification Program Manager with Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C., from July 1977 until his retirement from the Navy on November 1, 1979. Ron Polfer died on August 5, 2014.
His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For heroism while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft while attached to Reconnaissance Attack Squadron SEVEN embarked in USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63). On 20 April 1972, despite intense anti-aircraft fire and airborne surface-to-air missiles, Commander POLFER acquired bomb damage assessment photographs of an enemy thermal power plant and coastal transshipment point in addition to covering three hundred square miles of urgently required enemy coastal areas. Through Commander POLFER's imaginative and resourceful mission planning and thorough knowledge of equipment capabilities, the outstanding imagery obtained allowed detailed analysis of assigned strike targets, enemy lines of supply and communications with associated rail and harbor facilities. Commander POLFER's professional performance, outstanding airmanship and exemplary flight planning reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.