Robert C. Ankony joined the Army in October 1965, at the age of 17. After serving as a paratrooper in Europe with the Eighth Infantry Division (Mechanized) and with Company D, Seventeenth Infantry (LRP) in V Corps, he transferred to the First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam, where he was made a sergeant and a team leader with Company E, Fifty-second Infantry (LRP), redesignated Company H, Seventy-fifth Infantry (Ranger).
After his Army hitch, he served with Company F, 425th Infantry (Ranger) in the Michigan National Guard and became an undercover narcotics officer and a detective sergeant with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department in Detroit. He received an honorable discharge for eight years of military service and was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Expert Rifleman Badge, Expert Mortar Bar, Parachutist Badge, Parachute Rigger Badge, German Army Parachutist Badge, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Recondo Badge, Ranger Scroll, Air Medal, Bronze Star, and a Bronze Star (First Oak Leaf Cluster) and "V" Device.
For his police service, he was awarded a Departmental Citation of Valor for repeated attempts to rescue two youths trapped in an overturned automobile in a frigid, fast-flowing river at night; a Departmental Citation for tracking two home-invasion suspects three miles on foot; a Departmental Citation for leadership in subduing a barricaded gunman who had shot two police officers; the Sheriff’s Personal Citation for selfless dedication to the goals of the department (Metro Narcotics Bureau, crew chief); a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commendation for a narcotics trafficking investigation; a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Commendation for an undercover firearms investigation; and three special assignment and four unit citations.
He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, a master's in correctional sciences from the University of Detroit; and an MS, MA, and PhD in sociology (criminology) from Wayne State University. He did graduate research in the former Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations and now writes criminological, firearms, and military articles for scientific and professional journals and special-interest magazines. He is a member of the American Society of Criminology.