Dick Jonas served four years as an infantryman in the Georgia Army National Guard while attending Valdosta State College. He graduated in 1965 with a BS degree in Physics and Math. He entered the Air Force and received his commission through Officer Training School. In 22 years service he flew 3,000 jet fighter hours in the F-4 and the F-16. During 125 missions in Vietnam he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 12 clusters.
He recorded his first albums of military ballads in 1969, after returning from Vietnam.
He retired from the Air Force in 1986 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and became an Aerospace Science Instructor in the Air Force Junior ROTC program.