Business Graduate Enjoys Storied Military Career
Following his graduation from LVC with degrees in business and economics, Ret. Maj. Gen. Ross Plasterer ’57 joined the U.S. Marine Corps as an officer. Within a year of trading his cap and gown for a Marine Corps uniform, Plasterer was flying a helicopter. Jets were his first choice, having had an early taste of flying on some locals’ prop planes in his youth. But his first choice wasn’t the Marines’ choice, so Plasterer went about being the best helicopter pilot he could be. That decision—to turn a disappointment into a triumph—changed the trajectory of Plasterer’s life.
As a helicopter transport pilot, Plasterer logged more than 6,800 flight hours and did two tours in Vietnam flying into hot zones for medivacs, troop deployments, and supply reinforcements. His exemplary service earned him command of the Marines’ air wing and logistic support group in Okinawa, Japan, from 1986–89. Ross was later assigned to the Executive Flight Detachment, which for the military novice, means he flew high-ranking government officials and heads of state on Marine One, including U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.
Plasterer admits he never expected the job with Marine One, nonetheless to reach the rank of general. But as he explained, his military career was a testament to the value of hard work. “I found out that if you work hard, you get rewarded. Do the job you are assigned to do, and the recognition will come with it.”