Navy Veteran Ron “Rondo” Sharfe is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Navy Veteran Ron “Rondo” Sharfe is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Ron “Rondo” Sharfe was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1929. At the age of 16, he attempted to enlist in the Navy by using bleach to alter his age on his birth certificate. However, the recruiter saw through his craftiness and told him to come back in two years.  Not discouraged by this, Sharfe used a forged baptismal certificate to join the Navy after convincing his parents that he would not be sent into overseas combat until he turned 18.

Once Sharfe was allowed to enlist, he completed amphibious training and began serving as a coxswain on Higgins boats in different battles throughout the Pacific Theater. As a coxswain, Sharfe’s responsibilities were operating and maneuvering landing crafts.

His first experience with combat was at the young age of 16, at the Battle of Iwo Jima. His boat, carrying 36 Marines, capsized before reaching the beach. Due to the impact, Sharfe sustained severe injuries, including lost teeth and a cracked sternum. He was pulled ashore by one of the Marines and took cover on the beach until he was rescued after the battle. Only 17 Marines from his boat survived the battle.

Sharfe re-entered combat two days later, this time helping with supply convoys. While on the island, Sharfe witnessed the raising of the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi. In an interview for the American Veterans Center’s “Veterans Chronicles” podcast, Sharfe reflected on his feelings about witnessing the iconic moment. “It was pretty chilling, you know… you really felt jubilant about it.”

Sharfe’s final combat experience took place two weeks later at the Battle of Okinawa, where he again served as a coxswain and later, a supply organizer.

Sharfe returned to his home in Chicago to recover from the various injuries he had sustained in battle. After a few years, he joined the Chicago Fire Department as a fireman. He served as a fireman for 22 years before moving to Missoula, Montana, where he currently resides with his wife, Mary Jean Sharfe, and three daughters.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Writers: Maggie Thomas, Ryan Beane

Editors: Theresa Lyon, Nicolas Nunnally

Researcher: Giacomo Ferrari

Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley

By DME Interns

Share this story

Published on Jun. 10, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 24

One Comment

  1. Senior Veterans Care Network June 13, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for your service Ron “Rondo” Sharfe.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Alan Shepard served in the Navy aboard a destroyer and as a test pilot. He was a member of the NASA Mercury Seven and became the first American to travel into space.

  • Army Veteran Charles W. Whittlesey is a Medal of Honor Recipient and is today’s Veteran of the Day.

  • Army Veteran Hank Welzel served in the Korean War, but his military experience began in the German Army during World War II.