An agronomy student will be one of three Iowa Staters honored during the Gold Star Hall Ceremony this afternoon in the Memorial Union. Robert Vance Rannells of Dunlap, Iowa, enrolled at Iowa State in 1936, studying agronomy. A month before receiving his degree, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He died in April 1945 when his B-29 bomber went down in the Pacific Ocean near Japan.
Rannells was born Dec. 9, 1918, to William and Adah Rannells. Growing up in Dunlap, Rannells worked the family farm like so many other Iowa farm boys. They raised cattle and harvested corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
He trained in radio operations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and ranked in the top 10 percent of his class. Before leaving for active duty in the Pacific Theater, Rannells married his college sweetheart, Virginia Lynch, in March 1943.