Ramon Horinek was born in 1932 in Atwood, Kansas. He began flying at age 13 and later graduated from Hays Military Academy. Horinek enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force on August 27, 1953, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on February 24, 1955. Horinek then served as an instructor pilot with the 3575th Pilot Training Group at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from February 1955 to July 1960. He then transferred to the 3510th Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB, Texas, where he served from July 1960 to January 1962. During this time he completed one month in a space cabin simulator, from April to May 1961, which aided in the later Apollo space missions. He served as a flight instructor with the 3576th Pilot Training Squadron at Vance AFB from January 1962 to September 1964. Horinek received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Oklahoma State University in 1963 while serving as a flight instructor at Vance AFB, and he volunteered for duty in Southeast Asia in September 1964. After completing A-1 Skyraider combat crew training, he served with the 1st Air Commando Squadron at Bien Hoa AB in the Republic of Vietnam from February to August 1965. He was then assigned to the Tactical Air Control Center at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, where he served until February 1966, when he extended his tour and served as an airborne and ground forward air controller. Capt Horinek then volunteered to fly F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers in December 1966, and after completing combat crew training in the United States, he returned to Southeast Asia in August 1967, this time flying with the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam on October 25, 1967, and was immediately captured and taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 1,967 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. Maj Horinek was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and then attended pilot requalification training at Randolph AFB, Texas. He then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from 1975 to 1976. Col Horinek served with the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, from August 1977 to July 1979. His final assignment was as Chief of the Group Programs Branch of the 4442nd Tactical Control Group at Hurlburt Field, Florida, from August 1979 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 10, 1983.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
Captain Ramon A. Horinek distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a Forward Air Controller with friendly forces in Southeast Asia, form 16 February 1966 to 19 February 1966. He successfully directed air strikes which permitted the safe withdrawal of friendly forces and destruction of an evacuated site despite repeated machine gun hits on his light aircraft. While providing support for an attack against a second site his aircraft was again struck by hostile fire. Realizing the importance of his presence, he landed on the site airstrip, knowing that the approaches were dominated by the enemy. On foot, and under constant fire, he directed strikes which dislodged the enemy and permitted resumption of aircraft evacuation from the strip. Throughout the period, alternately in the air, and on the ground, he continued to direct strikes while repeatedly exposed to fierce hostile fire, until the site was successfully evacuated. Captain Horinek's gallantry and professionalism permitted the safe withdrawal of many friendly troops and prevented the recovery of quantities of munitions and supplies by the enemy. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Horinek has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.