Ona, son of a Norwegian fisherman, grew up in Poulsbo, Washington. He served in the US Navy as a radio operator in the South Pacific in 1943-1946. After some college work, he joined Boeing's Physical Research Laboratory as a technician, where he designed and built one of the first radio-activated destruct devices for an experimental ramjet missile. He then worked for Philco as a Tech Rep to the Navy on sonars. He was called back into Navy service during the Korean War, and returned to Philco thereafter, becoming the systems engineer for the Mark 32 torpedo. Ona joined Convair in 1956, working on final Atlas ICBM checkout. He was then made chief of reliability engineering for the Centaur program. Except for a brief break, he continued working for Convair until the 1970's. Thereafter he worked for the Aerospace Corporation until retiring in 1987.
Birth Place: Poulsbo, Washington.