Dr. Ruggiero was born and raised in Newark, NJ. During the Great Depression, he left high school to participate in the Civilian Conservation Corps, working on projects in Northern Idaho. He served in the US Navy Reserve prior to World War II and enlisted in the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He earned an Armor officer's commission at Fort Knox, KY, and served as a Sherman tank commander in the 752nd Tank Battalion in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
After WWII, he joined the Signal Corps Reserve and worked for American Airlines in communications. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served in the 24th Infantry Division. He returned to the Pacific/Korean Theater as part of Amphibious Group 1 aboard the USS Eldorado (AGC-11), part of Task Force 90. He continued as a career US Army Signal officer thereafter, serving at Fort Monmouth, Italy, NORAD (during the Cuban Missile Crisis) and West Berlin.
He continued his education while in the service, eventually earning his PhD at Temple. After retiring from the Army, he worked as a civilian for an engineering firm in Vietnam during the war and, later, started his own consulting firm.