Ron Dolecki’s Biography
I joined the U.S. Army in July 1963 and underwent basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. From there I went to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, where I was railroaded into attending a Map Compiling course (Military Occupational School, or MOS 812.10) followed by a Multiplex Map Compiling course (MOS 812.20). Afterwards, I was sent overseas to Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya, for a few months before being permanently assigned to the Ethiopia-US Mapping Mission headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most of my time in Ethiopia (1964-66) was spent as a field classifier with Drifter Field Party at various locations. I also flew many missions into the hinterland aboard UH-1B Huey helicopters supporting our operations. I extended my tour of duty in Ethiopia for six months (totaling two years overseas) in exchange for a three-month early-out. So, I got discharged from the army in May 1966.
During the summer of 1966, I worked in a glass bottle factory, which made me regret taking an early-out from the army. My factory job was mind-numbing (I hated every second of it) and it paid nearly $100 less per month than the army was paying me as an SP/5 on flight status.
In the fall of 1966, I began attending Clarion State College in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1970 with a BA degree in Earth & Space Science. Afterwards, I worked one year as a laborer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENDOT) while waiting for the completion of a background investigation so I could join the CIA. I was a bit frustrated at that time because nearly all of the other job applications I sent around the region went unanswered. I guess my future with the CIA was pre-ordained.
So, I began working for the CIA in 1971 and they immediately sent me to a school called the “Defense Sensor Interpretation and Application Training Program” at Offut Air Force Base (Strategic Air Command Headquarters) in Omaha, Nebraska. Upon graduation from that school (the toughest school I ever attended), I worked in Washington, D.C., as a satellite photo interpreter while undergoing a lot of follow-on training at various locations in the U.S. Consequently, I managed to get several compartmented/codeword security clearances tacked on to my Top Secret clearance. My last assignment with the CIA, before retiring in early 2004, was working counterterrorism issues in a Special Operations Division. My 32 years with the CIA were very interesting, fulfilling, and rewarding.
Two weeks after “retirement,” I began working as a consultant for Booz-Allen-Hamilton (BAH) and ironically got assigned to CIA headquarters (a BAH client) in Langley, Virginia, to work as an imagery analyst. During that time, I wrote a report about the Ethiopian salt caravans that travelled between Mekale and the Danakil Depression. I was permitted to include some of my personal photos in my report because I had been to the Danakil Depression while assigned to the Mapping Mission. The publication of that report was a real thrill for me because my name had to be included on my photos (an attribution requirement). My stint with BAH ended in early 2006 when my contract expired.
In mid-2006, I resumed working as a consultant for another company called Courage Services, Inc., doing research from my home computer. This entailed putting together extensive data tables on current intelligence issues and writing research papers. That contract expired in April 2009, when I again became unemployed/retired in place. Nevertheless, I applied for a job with yet another company called Science Application International Corporation, or SAIC for short. I’m still waiting for their response.
Who knows? I may be retired permanently already without realizing it.
As of 2009, I’ve been married 37 years to my wonderful wife, Linda. We are blessed with three daughters and one son. My daughters are Lesley (age 34, head nurse of an Alzheimer’s unit), Laura (30, stay at home mom and part-time hospital receptionist), and Megan (27, federal government travel specialist); my son is Derek (32, union construction worker).