548th Tributes 2018 –

We have had to split the 548th Tribute page because it had grow too big and it would take many attempts before changes were accepted.

Member Provided Tributes and Obituaries (By Date)
Send your tributes, additions and corrections to webmaster@548rtg.org

MSgt (ret) Bruce Skinner, 548 RTG Exploitation, 03/72 – 07/74 and 09/76 – 09/80, passed away on April 23, 2021 in Spokane Washington, he was 71. No Obituary.

Bruce at the 2016 Reunion in Las Vegas

Andy Anderson: Bruce Skinner passed away last Friday. No obituary. He leaves his loving wife of 47 years Mary Lou and his daughter Amy. Services are next Thursday 5/6/21. Sorry to be the person of bad news.

Steve LaFata Regrets to all…prayers

Rosie Bryant: Bummer

Randy Johnson: RIP. Praying for his family.

Stephen Martz: Bruce was my boss for awhile back in my youth. He was a great guy and a helluva teacher

Ullrich Seike: My condolences, God Bless

Bill Germer: RIP, Buddy. Enjoyed working with you so many years ago. Thankful I got to visit with you at the 2018 reunion.

John Pecarina: Sad. Prayers for the family.

Steven Pagel: Prayers up for the family.RIP Bruce

Steven E. Brightbill: Sorry to hear this. I remember him as a one of the better PIs on the floor.

Steve F. LaFata: Regrets to all…prayers

David Tressler: Another one gone…..

Jim Wells, SSgt, 548 RTG Exploitation, 10/68 – 12/71, passed away at age 72 on January 22, 2020 in Poland, Ohio.

Jim on 2008 pheasant hunt in North Dakota will Jay Johnson.

Jim and his wife Valerie

March 12, 1948 ~ January 22, 2021 (age 72)

James (Jim) Thomas Wells of Poland, OH, passed away at his home on Friday, January 22nd, 2021. 
Jim was born the youngest of five children in Youngstown, OH on March 12th, 1948. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Marie (Kinney) Wells; brother, Harold; and sisters, Ruth and Rita. He is survived by his bride of 48 years, Valerie (Kraynak) Wells; sister, Kathleen (George) Pallai; daughters, Amanda (Brian) Wells and Katherine (Jack) Rosson; and granddaughters, Emma and Grace Rosson. He will be remembered as a patriot, a Veteran, a loving husband, a cherished sibling, a saint of a father, and a co-conspirator as a grandfather.
Jim grew up on the south side of Youngstown where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1966. He fondly remembered his glory days on the football squad, but readily acknowledged that his real journey began in 1967 when he enlisted in the United States Air Force. His aim was to go to Vietnam and contribute to the war effort.  Upon graduation from Basic Military Training and his technical training, Jim found himself stepping off an airplane at Hickam Air Force Base, HI, where he served as a Photo Interpretation Specialist for the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group until the end of his enlistment in 1972.
While his time in Hawaii was full of meaningful work and plenty of “war stories” with his fellow Airmen, the time period in which he served was most notably defined by the 30 days of leave he spent in Youngstown in 1971, where he met Valerie at a mutual friend’s wedding. After spending every remaining day of his leave with her, he boarded the plane and flew back to the islands.  A few months later, he called Valerie and asked for her hand in marriage. Valerie and Jim wed in 1972 upon his return from service. 
He began his career at the Mahoning County Engineers Office while continuing his studies at Youngstown State University, graduating in 1978.  He began work in 1980 at Eastgate Regional Council of Governments as the Environmental Program Manager, then moved to the position of Director of Transportation, before retiring as the Director of Public Works Program in 2008. 
Jim and Valerie used this time to build a life they loved together. YSU football was a family tradition in the autumn, braving the elements to sit in the stands and root for the Penguins. Coaching softball and soccer for both Amanda and Kate became a cherished pastime, spending any spare moments sneaking out to the backyard to play catch. As his daughters grew up, they moved out of Jim’s home, but not out of his life. Jim and Val kept busy traveling to visit their children and grandchildren. They saw skyscrapers in New York City; the northern lights in Alaska on the night of their first granddaughter’s birth; an “authentic” German Oktoberfest in Hermann, MO; the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia, walked a portion of the Appalachian Trail at Harper’s Ferry, WV; and toured each military service’s war memorial in Washington DC. Jim’s life was defined by the love he had for his family and the time he spent with them.
Jim’s family will receive friends Thursday, January 28, 2021, at the Cunningham-Becker Funeral Home in Poland from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Prayer Service at 10:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish at St. Matthias Church in Youngstown with Fr. John Jerek officiating. 
Interment will follow at the Riverside Cemetery in Poland.  
Donations can be sent to Our Lady of Sorrows Building Fund, 915 Cornell Ave., Youngstown, OH 44502. 

Jay Johnson: I am so very saddened to tell you that my dear friend, and former roommate, Jim Wells, passed away today.  We received a call from his wife, Val, about an hour ago and she gave us the sad news.  She told us that he had gone to lunch with some friends today, and apparently became ill.  They helped him get home, but he collapsed in front of their garage door and they couldn’t revive him. I had spoken with Jim back around Christmas and he told me he had been in the hospital for a few days but was feeling a little better then. His diabetes was a constant issue, and he had survived a heart attack and prostate surgery a few years ago. He was a battler, but he finally succumbed. It was not Covid-19 related. Val said he had been tested twice and both times it was negative. He and I were roommates until he was discharged in early 1971.  We played on the 1970-71 Championship football team together.  He was a great friend and I’ll miss talking with him about football and other life’s topics.

Mark Jessop: Jim was a good friend and one of the truly nicest guys I knew in the Air Force. We roomed together for just at few weeks at Lowry while in tech school. He was ahead of me, and of course we both wound up at the 548th. I always remember talking with him about his hometown because my Dad was from Boardman and I visited my grandparents there a lot in my youth. My deepest condolences to family and friends.

Sam Walker: I met Jim Wells via a telephone conversation around 2008 or 2009. I had relocated to western Pennsylvania near Youngstown, Ohio. I had attended a regional planning meeting at Youngstown and met there another USAF veteran who asked what my unit had been. He had been in a tactical fighter unit in maintenance during the Vietnam war. I mentioned the 548th saying it is likely he never had heard of it. He had. He knew Jim Wells. I shared my telephone number and Jim gave me a call. He had left the 548th before the consolidation with the 67th RTS of which I was a part. It was a memorable conversation.

John Kipp: One of the nicest guys I ever knew. I’m glad to have known him.

Col (ret), Eugene Brock, 548 RTG Deputy Commander (LtCol), 1978-1979, passed away on December 2, 2020, he lived in Hanahan, South Carolina.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 30, 1929, Eugene was the son of the late Hugh Oliver and Aline Sims Brock. He received his Master’s Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A Vietnam War hero, Eugene courageously served in the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Director, Maintenance Staff Officer, Commander, Weather Officer, and General Navigator for the KC-135 and the C-123. He honorably received many medals and ribbons to include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation. Eugene retired with the rank of Colonel after totaling 35 years of dedicated service to his country. Above all else, Eugene’s faith was of utmost importance to him; he was a member of Christ United Methodist Church and North Charleston United Methodist Church. He was also a dedicated leader with the Gideons International mission to spread the gospel throughout the world. His memory will forever be cherished by his children, Julianne Bryant of Warner Robins; Scott Brock (Marlys) of Hanahan, South Carolina; Laura Colgin (Larry) of Juniata, Nebraska; Donald Brock of Warner Robins; Bonnie Lowe-Cox of Perry; and Brooks Brock of Warner Robins; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and sister, Kathryn Niager of Lilburn. A graveside memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Magnolia Park Cemetery. For friends and family unable to attend, the service will be streamed live via the McCullough Funeral Home Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcculloughfuneralhome/live/. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests memorial donations be given in memory of Col. Eugene Byron Brock, USAF (Ret.) to the Gideon’s International Association, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.

Martha North: So sad!  I remember his face like it was yesterday!

Bill Forsyth: I remember him as a really nice professional officer who was a pleasure to work for.

Army CW3 (ret), Norman “Wayne” Simpson, A2C, 548 RTS Showa AB, Japan, January, 1959 – January 1962, Carto, and SSgt, 67 RTS, Yokota AB, Japan, July 1963 – July 1966, Carto, passed away on November 21, 2020, he lived in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Norman Wayne Simpson, age 83, a resident of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away Saturday evening, November 21, 2020, in a local hospital.

Mr. Simpson was born in Chattanooga and he was the son of the late Cordie Rice Simpson and Ernest Simpson. His wife, Billie Ruth Simpson; son, Kenneth Wayne Simpson; and brothers, J. C., Jewell, Orville, Elmer, Glen and Gordan Simpson also preceded him in death.

Mr. Simpson was retired military as a CWO (Chief Warrant Officer), serving two tours in Vietnam. He served 10 years with the U. S. Air Force, 11 years with the U. S. Army and 20 years working for the Department of Defense as an intelligence contractor. He earned his Masters Degree and also worked for H+R Block for 12 years. He enjoyed Dr. Pepper, being on the water including boating and fishing, reading and refurbishing old cars. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Mr. Simpson was a member of the Central Church of Christ where he was a very active. He also was a minister with the Church of Christ.

Survivors include his daughter, Diana Lynn Nageotte and her husband Randy of Fredericksburg, Virginia; grandchildren, Bryan and Angela Nageotte, Josh and Jacob Simpson and his wife Taylor; great-grandchildren, Blake and Ashton Nageotte and Camden Simpson; daughter-in-law, Linda D. Simpson of Winchester; sister, Carolyn Minor; brother, Harold Simpson and his wife Linda all of Cisco, Georgia; and several nieces and nephews also survive.

The Remembrance of life Service will be conducted on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 12 p.m. C.S.T. at the Winchester Church of Christ with Minister Joseph Horton and Minister David Morris officiating. Interment will follow in the Franklin Memorial Gardens with family and friends serving as casket bearers. Military honors will be given.

The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, at the Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services North Ocoee Chapel. The family will also receive friends from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.  C.S.T. on Saturday at the Winchester Church of Christ, 1230 College St. S Winchester, Tennessee
37398.

The family request in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Multi-County Cancer Support Network by going to mccsn.org.

The Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services North Ocoee Chapel has charge of the arrangements. You may share your condolences and your memories with the Simpson family at www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.

 

Unkown (ret), Jack Tubert, 548 RTG Chief Clerk in the orderly room, passed away on September 6, 2020, he lived in Maricopa, Arizona

John William Tubert Jr.  

May 27, 1949 – 6 September 2020
John William Tubert, Jr. Passed away September 6, 2020 at Chandler Regional Medical Center due to complications of Agent Orange and Parkinson’s Disease.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John W. Tubert and Rose Martha French Tubert.He is survived by his bride of 48 years, Maureen Tubert; His 3 children, Kelly Tubert, Shannon Tubert McLaurin (Husband Scott McLaurin), Patrick Tubert (Significant other Carol Kawsarani); His 6 grandchildren, Analysa (Husband Wade), Jordan, Kylie, Brandon, Colin and Dylan; His 2 great grandchildren, Mirajane and Ari Klabis. He is also survived his brothers, Mark and Robert Tubert and sisters, Jody Tubert, Marcia Mulcahy, Lisa MacDonald and Tracey Tubert.

He was a 1968 graduate of Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, Mass. After graduation he entered the Air Force where he was a credit to the uniform he wore for over 21 years. He served around the country and world.

He was stationed in Washington, D.C., Vietnam, Las Vegas on the USAF Thunderbird Team, Hawaii and later as an Air Force Recruiter in Ohio and Massachusetts.After retirement he served as Human Resource Director with Sheraton and Stanford Hotels.

Due to Covid 19, memorial services will be private at this time. Personal memories may be shared on Legacy.com. Memorial contributions can be made to Michael J Fox Parkinson’s Foundation.

Scott McKenna: I just found out that Jack Tubert, 548RTG chief clerk passed away on six September from Parkinson’s disease and agent orange.  RIP Jack 

Howard Melching: I was HQ Sq Commander in 1978 when Jack was there I am sad to hear of his passing.

 

MSgt Robert Norris, 548 RTG, passed away on September 4, 2020 in a hospital near his home in Washington, Indiana.

Robert J. Norris age 81, of Washington passed away Friday, September 4, 2020 at St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville.Robert was born May 3, 1939 in Washington to Joseph A. and Myrtle (Craney) Norris. Robert was a retired Master Sargent in the U.S. Air Force where he served his county for 24 years. He also ran Washington City Utilities and worked at Kimball Furniture in Jasper. Robert was a member of Washington American Legion, VFW and Knights of Columbus. He loved hunting and woodworking.
He is survived by his wife Rita (Ross) Norris who he married on October 6, 1962; two sons Robert (Amy) Norris II of Fort Branch and Brian Norris of Mesa, AZ; two daughters Joycelyne (Roger) Abney of Fort Myers, FL and Kathleen (Ken) Ramoz of Brentwood, CA; brother Gordon Norris of Washington; two sisters Patty Turnbaugh of Evansville and Shirley Capehart of Washington; nine grandchildren Jordan Stamper, Brandon Stamper, Christen Stamper, Lauren Stamper, Ashley Crail, Isabella Ramoz, Cortney Norris, Sydney Norris and Whitney Norris and one great-grandchild Kayslie Smith.Robert is preceded in death by his parents Jospeh Norris and Mrytle Fields; step-father Bob Fields; brother Glen Norris and granddaughter Alicia Stamper.


Randy Johnson:   Bob was a great guy.  I worked with him at Lowry.
Pete Durnell.  So sad to hear.  I knew and worked with Bob for some time.  He was a great person to work with.  RIP, Bob.

 

TSgt (ret) David Martin, 548 RTG, Research and Analysis and Operations, September 1976 – October 1979 and June 1982 – November 1985, passed away on February 18, 2020 in Mango, Florida.

      Dave Martin                       Dave and Moon enjoying retirement

BG (re) Jim Grant:  More sad news.  I am especially sorry for your personal loss.

Benjamin Gomes:  I am sad. The Hawaii Circle grows smaller.

Stephen Martz: One great guy. Was at my wedding in Korea, Sept 1980, he and his wife made my wife’s transition from Korea a lot smoother than it could have been. Condolences to his family.

Bill Germer:   God rest your Soul, Dave. I love you, Brother. Thanks for being such a good Friend. Bill

Randy Johnson:  Rest In Peace old friend. May God bless and keep your family. You’ll be missed.

Dave Tressler:  Dave Martin you will be missed my friend! Your family is in our prayers!

Steven Clark: Good man…we would talk when I was in the library…setting up the msg boards…

Steve Brightbill:  Remembering him. . .I worked with him for a brief period. Condolences to his family and friends.

Steve Clark:  Good man…we would talk when I was in the library…setting up the msg boards…

Jeff D. Shaffer:  I remember him. Thank you for your service…..

Les Mahoney:  Wow, very sad–he was my first supervisor in the USAF.

 

MG (ret) Ronald Makarian, 548 RTG Commander, passed away on  October 12, 2019 in Fresno, California.

Ronald Henry Markarin

June 27, 1931 – October 12, 2019

Major General Ronald H. Markarian was born June 27, 1931 in Fresno, CA and grew up on the Markarian Fig Garden homesite, fig orchard and packing company founded by his great-grandfather, Melkon Markarian and grandparents, Henry and Armenuhue Patigian Markarian. Ronald’s father, Theodore Everett Markarian, ran the business after their passing at a very young age before he was able to graduate from Fresno High School. Markarian Fig Gardens was located on Blackstone, bordered by Shields, Fresno St. and Dakota. Melkon was born and raised in Armenia but moved to the US and became a US citizen in 1865. He returned to Armenia and later moved to Fresno in 1881 with his family and thereafter Ronald’s Grandfather, Henry, established Markarian Fig Gardens in 1902. They were the pioneers of the fig industry in California. The land on which the farming and packing operated was taken by the State of California by eminent domain in the 1950’s for the purpose of building a new Fresno State College campus. The State later decided to build the college in its present location on Shaw and the CENTER. The family mansion was located where Sears now stands.It was on this property where General Markarian was raised that he had an inspiration to become a General in the military. During his early teens he formed a battalion of his “soldiers” comprised of his friends and the farmworker’s children. With money earned by him and his sister Patty for picking figs for their father, his army was supplied with tents, gun belts, fake training rifles, canteens, carts, helmets etc. His army was well equipt and they would go on BIVWAC in their tents in the fig orchard and prepare “General Markarian’s” breakfast, raise a flag, and play the bugle in the morning. This love of the military continued throughout his life until the day he passed, and his dream of becoming a two-star general was fulfilled with his appointment by Governor Deukmejian to the position of Commander of the Army National Guard’s State Reserves. He had already retired from the United States Air Force as a full Colonel where he flew 116 combat missions over Vietnam in B-47 and B-52 Bombers while on active duty. General Markarian was educated in local Fresno schools, but chose to attend Clovis High School because of their California Cadet Corps program, graduating in 1949. He went on to graduate from Fresno State College in 1952, and soon after began his active duty career in the US Air Force, later attending George Washington University where he earned a Master’s in Public Administration in 1964. General Markarian attended countless other military schools and courses over his military lifetime.General Markarian was appointed by the President of the United States as the California State Director of the Selective Service System in 1987 and served in that appointment for many years. He also held the position of Chairman of the Fresno County Republican Party for 4-years. He was a 33-Degree Mason and the past National President of the Sojourners. General Markarian was appointed to the California Veteran’s Board by Governor Pete Wilson and worked tirelessly to bring the Veterans Home to Fresno. His federal military awards included (2) Legion of Merit awards, Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Ribbon, Air Medal (5 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Joint Services Command, Air Force Commendation Medal, Selective, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star, Selective Service Distinguished Service Medal, and the Selective Service Exceptional Service Award. General Markarian’s California commendations included the Order of California, Medal of Merit, Combat Readiness Medal, Distinguished Infantry Association Medal with device, and countless other awards. General Markarian was a patriot and a friend to many in his life of service to others. He always shared credit for his many successes which is the mark of a great leader.The general was preceded in death by his father, Theodore who passed in 1963; his mother, Rose Tateosian Markarian in 2010; his daughter Cynthia Ann Hancock Luna in 2009; and his wife Benny Louise Harley Markarian in 2015. He is survived by his children Pamela Susan Milam (husband Bill) of San Destin, FL; Sandra Louise Fujioka of Temecula, CA; Ronald Monte Markarian (wife Francesca) of Dublin, OH; Grandchildren Shawn Renee Fujioka of Temucula, and Drew, Justin and Alyssa Markarian of Dublin, OH; sister Patricia Markarian Gorrell (husband Lyman); nieces Wendy Gorrell Reenders, Shelly Pine Friedman, and Lisa Melo; and numerous cousins from the Markarian, Arakelian, Chituni, Enoch, Zartarian and Samuelian families. He was also related through his maternal grandmother, Baidzar Samuelian Tateosian Zartarian, to deceased local Armenian artist Varaz Samuelian who designed and built the David of Sassoon Bronze Statue located at the Fresno Courthouse Park.Funeral Services will be held on Monday, October 28, 2019 at 10:00 am at Fresno Veterans Memorial Auditorium 2425 Fresno Street Fresno, CA 93721.Burial to follow at Ararat Cemetery, 1925 West Belmont Avenue, Fresno CA 93728.Donations in memory of Ronald Markarian may be made to the MG RONALD H. MARKARIAN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, PO BOX 69, WASHOUGAL, WA 98671 (a tax deductible 501c3 corporation).

Ben Gomes:  It was an extreme Honor to serve with you RIP
Glee Shae Baker:  RIP, Sir.
Jeff Shaffer:   I remember him well at the 548th…he presented me with my CM. Clear skies General….
Jim Grant:  Time marches on for all of us. Ron lived a good life…

 

MSgt (ret) Richard Mundinger, 548 RTG Exploitation and Training, passed away on September 22, 2019 in Hamburg, Iowa, after a long battle with brain cancer.

 

Richard Louis Mundinger JUNE 11, 1951 ~ SEPTEMBER 22, 2019 (AGE 68)

Richard L. Mundinger, age 68 of Hamburg, IA passed away on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 at his home. Richard was born on June 11, 1951 in East St. Louis, IL; the son of Millard H. and Marian M. Dotzauer.  He attended school and graduated from Columbia High School in Columbia, IL with the Class of 1969.  He later attended college at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL.  Richard entered the United States Air Force on August 28, 1973 and proudly served his country for 24 years and 3 days.  He was honorably discharged at Offutt Air Force Base on August 31, 1997.   While in the Air Force, Rich was an Imagery Interpreter Craftsman.  Rich was assigned to the 548th Exploitation and Training Divisions, 1986-1992.He was united in marriage to Pamela Helen Lotz on April 8, 2012 in Fremont County, IA. Richard is survived by his wife, Pam Mundinger of Hamburg, IA; mom Marian Rey of Columbia, IL; children:  Tania Prince of Ireland, Jennifer Cook of Ft. Dodge, IA, Noelle Marchant-Hughes of Pleasantville, IA, Brian Halder and wife Andrea of Nebr. City, NE and Mia Schrader and husband Josh of Knoxville, IA; nine grandchildren; sister Laurel Kelly and husband Kevin of Germany; other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Millard Mundinger and his step-father, Arland Rey. A Graveside Funeral Service will be held on Monday, September 30 at 1:30 p.m. at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO will complete Military Honors by the United States Air Force Funeral Honors Detail. No public services will be held in Hamburg.Condolences may be left at www.gudefuneralhomes.com.Rash-Gude Funeral Home in Hamburg, IA is in charge of arrangements

I appreciate the obituary you sent for Rich. He was in hospitals for almost 4 months and then came home with Hospice for about a week before he passed. He was so glad to be home. I will miss him so much and I am sure all his friends will as well. Take care, Pam Mundinger
Tania Prince (Daughter)  Rip Rich Mundinger  I’m grateful to have had such a kind and fun father and think fondly of the memories we had together. It was a long struggle and I’m happy you were able to spend the final days in a loving environment surrounded by the people closest to you. You will be missed. 

Greg Olson   Thanks so much for sharing these pictures with us.  I worked with your dad as well when we were at the 497th RTG in Germany.  We reconnected many years later via Facebook.  So sorry for your loss.           

William Gremer Your Dad, Rich, was a great professional, and a Friend of mine. I was proud to have served in the Air Force with him. May God bless Rich, and your family.

Fred Wiles  RIP Rich Mundinger

Jim Paine  So sorry to hear, I was stationed with Rich twice in our careers, all around guy, will be missed.

Stephen Martz So sorry to hear this. He was an extremely talented PI and an all around great guy.

Karla Gorrell Keeping his family and friends in prayer for comfort and peace ….life is fragile and the seasons of our life seem to go faster and faster

William Germer Was stationed with Rich a couple of times. A real professional, and a good friend. This is terrible news. Rest In Peace my old comrade.

Ken Parman Rich was in my class at Lowry…. Sorry for your loss… He will be missed

Fred Hoover Very sad news. First served with Rich at Offutt, then as fellow instructors at Lowry; we were at Hickam together too. He was a good person and will be missed. My heart goes out to his family. 
Steve F. LaFata Regrets to both family and friends, Rich was a good man, talented, and caring.

Mark Olsen So sorry to hear this sad news. But thankful our paths crossed in Hawaii at the 548th/PACAF. Sincerest condolences to the family.

Benjamin Gomes My prayers and love to family.  My Heart is heavy our AF family grows smaller each year.

Rosie Bryant Very sorry to hear. I learned a lot from Rich. My condolences to the family.

Phil Oliva Oh my god Rich is gone! God bless him and his family

Rita Jane Spruill Unruh I’m so very sorry to hear this… he was a great man to work with… my condolences to the family

Teresa Sanchez I’m so very sorry to hear this. My thoughts & prayers are with his family.

Dale Hutchinson Oh no…I am stunned. He was my very first sponsor in the Air Force at the 497th way 

Becky Meyer Archer Oh no!! He was one of my instructors at PI tech school at Lowry AFB, CO. Great memories. Thoughts and prayers for his family

Connie Calvin So sorry for your loss. Praying for peace and comfort for you and all your family.

Marianne Chisholm Sad news. Nice guy! So sorry for the family.

James Davis Rich was a great wing man at Lowery AFB and a heck of an instructor. We had many a great time  together and I’ll never forget him. R.I.P Rich and you’ll never be forgotten!

Marcus Schmokel I thought a lot of Rich. He was great instructor and really did a lot to make a stressful time in a young Airman’s a lot more relaxed. RIP and best wishes to the family

Martha Mackey North I’m so sorry!!! Prayer sent to you and all his loved ones. God sure got a good one! He was an awesome and patient man who taught me a lot.

Randy Johnson Very sad news. Thank you for letting us know. He was so young.

Bruce Stephen Bailey Very hard to know he has passed….As most here know him from training school….he left a indelible mark on us all….Prayers for your entire family.

Jeff Kuntzelman My condolences to the family. Nothing but fond memories of Rich. RIP Rich

Mike Maggiano Condolences to the family. Rich and I go all the way back to tech school. R.I.P. my friend.

Kenneth Krotzer Sorry to hear this. Sending my condolences. He and I were instructors together he will be missed. I will be prayers for his family.

Neal Rosner I am truly saddened to hear of Rich’s passing. We were fellow instructors at Lowry and have many fond memories of him. He will surely be missed by all those who were honored to know him.

Sean Gallagher Sad news! Rich was a true colleague, accomplished instructor and a truly great guy ! Worked with him at DIA and at Lowry ! RIP Rich.
Robert Shaw This is very sad news. Rich was a wonderful friend, who shared a weakness for MG Sports cars. Peace until we meet again

Pat Murray  Rich was one of my first Bossed in Omaha and we worked together for a short time in HI.  GOOD GUY!!!   RIP, Rich!!!!
Les Mahoney  Rich was a good guy.

Jim Sertich  Sadly, we lose another one of the truly good guys in our extended group of friends. RIP Rich. Blessings to your family

Mike Gross  Godspeed, My Brother in Arms.  Will always remember the “good food” and fellowship with you, Rich and family…the many 4th of July picnics at Bellows and serving at the many 548th fundraisers.  May our Father, be enriched by your presence in Heaven, Brother!  

Lucian “Taco” Vela, 548th DOE, about 1989 – ?, passed away on July 25, 2019 in Corpus Christi, Texas          

Luciano “Taco” Vela, 49, passed away on July 25, 2019. He was born on July 17, 1970 in Corpus Christi, Texas to Richard Vela and Herminia Guerrero. He graduated from Miller High School and served in the Air Force from 1989 to 2001.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents Anita & Camilo Vela and Jesusa Gonzales & Eliseo Guerrero Sr., and his father Richard C. Vela Sr.

He is survived by his wife Melony Vela, son Brock Vela, daughter Chyenne Vela, mother Herminia Heil, step father Martin Heil, Sr., brother Richard Vela, sisters MaryAnn Jennings and Valerie Vela, and brother Martin Heil.

Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m., Monday, July 29, 2019 at Maxwell P. Dunne Funeral Chapel, 5921 Yorktown Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78414 with a Funeral Service to follow at 7:00 p.m.

Burial will be held at a later date at Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery, 9974 I-37, Corpus Christi, TX, 78410.

Eric Mathewson: Ah man… dude could’nt stay awake at work but was wide awake when he got back to the barracks. Great guy would go to the north shore and bogey board with him. Anyone know what happened?

Ken Parman:  Way too young! Very sad news indeed. Taco worked for me in the late ’80s at the 548th in DOE. I’m pretty sure it was his first assignment out of Tech school. Ran into him a few times down at SOUTHCOM over the last 10-15 years or so when he came through as a contractor. Very appropriate photo because he loved to fish. Good guy!

Brett Schoepflin: Taco taught me to scuba dive…great guy!

Todd Wise:  I cannot believe this news! We lived in the barracks together on Hickam. We used to hit the beaches together regularly. Very sad day.

Amanda Park:  What a shock! He will be missed. 

Sean Gallagher: I’m shocked and stunned ! Had the opportunity to work with Taco many times from the late 90’s until I retired in 17. A really great guy ! He will be sorely missed ! RIP Taco.
Lance Brown:  Hell and hell! not at all good with this news. seems a lot of us are dropping.  I know of no one that will have a negative thing to say about Taco. what took him?

Donna Hecktor:  Prayers for his family

 

WO (ret) John P. McConnell, 548 RTG INOE, mid-1970’s, passed away on June 18, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.  No obituary found.

WO John P McConnel (April 22 1947 – 18 June 2019), with his wife Young-Ai, daughter Mi-Young, and Son Sean

                                         John and Young-Ai

                                      John and his furry friend

John Pecarina wrote:  John was an Army E-3 fresh from Vietnam when he arrived at the 497th in 1968.  I was assigned as his trainer, also an E-3; a couple years later, John was an E-6 Team NCOIC.  I was on his team, an E-4.  Gave us plenty to talk about. When I arrived at the Honolulu Airport in 1975, John met me at the plane and announced he was my sponsor. Now, Army wasn’t normally selected to sponsor an Air Force NCO and family, but somehow, John wangled his way into the position.  I don’t recall how much longer John was in the 548th (INOE), nor do I remember when he was selected for Warrant Officer, but eventually he left us for Korea. 

 I think he came back to the 548th around 1979 to brief us on a big project they had there, to deconflict Korean targets,  There were a lot of duplicates in those days.

Picture of John McConnell provided by John Pecarina:

May he rest in peace 
Joseph Murphy:   Worked with him while I was at the 548th. Sorry to hear, he was a good guy!!
Kirk Darling:  Sad about that. John gave me good advice and counsel.
Sean Gallagher:  Very sad news indeed. John was a great guy. Any info on arrangements ?
Ken Sharkey: If I remember correctly; we went to the advanced PI course at Offutt in ’82. RIP
Martha Mackey North:  Prayers to all of his loved ones. Huge loss.
Ronald Young:  CONDOLENCES
Gary Gohn:  Sorry to hear. Rest in Peace


Thomas Kenney, 548 RTG Carto,  SSgt, 1969-1972, passed away on May 4, 2019 in Mililani, Hawaii.

      May 11, 1944 – May 4, 2019

Thomas Hideki Imaizumi Kenney, 74, of Mililani, passed peacefully with his loving family around him. He is survived by his wife, Ginny, their son Thomas (and partner Lori), daughters Joli and Nicole (and husband Tommy), and grandchildren Joshua, Kristen, and Andy. He had a wonderful and full life accomplishing all his dreams. May 11, 1944 – May 4, 2019. Private services were held. Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary LLC 

Details of Tom’s fascinating life provided by his wife Ginny:

Tom was born in Tokyo Japan in 1944 to Japanese parents, his given name was Hideki Imaizumi.  His father was a chemical engineer and was a member of a long established “samurai” family, he died of tuberculosis in 1944.  Tom’s mother, Yuri Kono, married an American, James Thomas Kenney, in 1953 and they came to Hawaii in June 1957.  His father became the Chief Historian for PACAF and died in 1974.  

Neither he or his mother spoke English when they got to Hawaii, where he entered 7th grade, there were no translators then, but he quickly made friends who helped him out, and they remained friends for life.  In January 1962 Tom became a U.S. citizen, along with his mother.  He graduated from Kailua High School and then the University of Hawaii in 1968 majoring in history and cartography.  He married his wife Ginny on February 10, 1964 and entered the Air Force about two weeks later.  His first assignment was the 2nd Reconnaissance Technical Squadron at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana as a cartographer.  Tom came to the 548th in June 1969 to work in the Carto Division, and separated from the Air Force in 1972 as a SSgt to pursue a civilian career here in Hawaii and Alaska.  

For his civilian career, he had planned on working for the Highway Department in New York or Washington, but by then having a two year old son and with English as his second language, he chose to stay in Hawaii, where he first worked for Duty Free Stores selling high end items to mostly Japanese tourists.  He then became a buyer, traveling to Europe to buy items.  He was promoted to manager of three shops at the Anchorage Airport from 1978-1985.

Returning to Hawaii, he worked in retail management, until he got a job with Etro, a Japanese company out of Milan, Italy, and he opened a store at Ala Moana Center and then opened a second store in Waikiki, in 2000, the company ended its Hawaii operation.  He then went into real estate, working for Caldwell Banker Commercial doing leasing and investment sales, including the Waikiki Trade Center in 2014.  He also worked part time for TSA at the Honolulu Airport International Terminal for six years and was a guide on the USS Missouri.  He finally retired in 2014, hoping to travel the country he loved, but in April 2015, after a 21 day stay in the hospital, he was told he had multiple myeloma.  He went to Seattle and received a stem cell transplant, the disease was gone for four mouths, only to return.

Tom and his wife Ginny had three children, a boy and two girls.  His son Thomas is a HPD Sergeant of 22 years, Joli, a Complex School Psychologist, and Nicole the Deputy Museum Director at the Oregon Historical Society Museum in Portland. 

Tom passed away on 14 May 2019 after a two year fight with multiple myeloma.  He said he had a wonderful life and his only wish was to make it to their 50th wedding anniversary, he had been married 51 years and three months when he passed away.   (Information provided by his wife Ginny)

Brigadier General (Ret) Jim Grant:  More sad news…

Brian Bauer:  I remember Tom very well may God bless him
Mark Jessop:  One of my very best Recce friends. We stayed in touch all   these years.
Martha Mackey North:  Prayers to all of his loved ones. 
John Giamalis:  
Tom and I served with the 2nd RTS at Barksdale AFB.  I never served with the 548th.  I can say that Tom was an excellent airman and he and I  became good friends.  We stayed in touch and this friendship remained strong  through the almost 50 years since our discharge from the AF.  We saw each       other again at a reunion at BAFB in 2006.  Tom was a good NCO and a good      friend to me and others who served and stayed in touch with him.

 

Richard Lacey67 RTS, June 1965 – May 1966, A2C, and 548 RTS/RTG, May 1966 – October 1968, Sgt, Air Targets Material, 22150,  passed away on April 4, 2019 in New London, Connecticut   

                                         Photo 11 February 1967

 June 23, 1946 – April 4, 2019               

Waterford – Richard Lacey, 72 of Waterford, died April 4, 2019 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. He was born in New London June 23, 1946, son of the late Stafford and Louise (Brogan) Lacey. 

He graduated from St. Mary’s, Saint Bernard High School, and later in life, Mitchell College, Three Rivers Community College, and Charter Oak State College. After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving as a sergeant with the Fifth Air Force PAC in Asia, and in the United States with the Eighth Air Force SAC. After his service, he worked as a steamfitter and master plumber in the region, having apprenticed under his grandfather, Harry Lacey. 

He is survived by his brother, Kent Lacey and his wife, Lisette Grunwell of Old Lyme; brother, Dennis Lacey of New London; son, Christopher Lacey and his wife, Ali (Abrahamson) Lacey of Norwich; son, Thomas Lacey and his fiancée, Erin Shattuck of Union, N.Y.; daughter, Crystal Torraco of Manchester; daughter, Mary (Beth) Lacey of Waterford; three grandchildren, Jack, Matthew, and Megan Lacey of Norwich; and cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Stafford H. Lacey Jr. of Westerly, R.I.; and sister, Louise (Lacey) McGarry of Old Lyme. 

Calling hours are from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 12 Ocean Ave., New London. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, at East Neck Cemetery, Niles Hill Rd., Waterford. 
Published in The Day on Apr. 7, 2019

 

Raymond Walter Ingold, 548 RTS and 67 RTS Korea, October 1954 – December 1955, passed away on November 13, 2018 in Muskego, Wisconsin.

                     Marge and Ray at 2016 Reunion in Las Vegas

                       Ray Ingold 22 November 1932 – 13 November 2018  

Ray Ingold left this earth to go to his savior on November 13th, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marguerite (Hanlon) Ingold; daughters, Erin and Maureen Ingold; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Jason) Farnsworth, Scott (Jessica) Herbert, Ryan (Emily) Herbert, and Claudette Ingold; and great-grandchildren, Olivia and Lucy Farnsworth, and Caroline Herbert; his sister, Delphine Harmon; and other family and friends. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Lydia (Neiderhauser) Ingold; and brother Eugene Ingold. 

Ray was a US Airforce veteran of the Korean War. He graduated from MSOE in 1960 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He was the Salutatorian of his class and went on to work at Delco electronics NASA Space program as a design engineer. He was always proud that a part of him “went to the moon”. When the space program finished here in Milwaukee, he transitioned to the biomedical field at GE Medicals systems where he spent 30 years as a design engineer in the dental X-ray field followed by CT and MRI. He was also the owner of Ray’s TV’s and later Ray’s Outboard Motors. Ray wore many “hats” in his life.

After his retirement, he joined his wife’s business: Ingold Marketing Assistance, as office manager and partner. He learned to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles at 12 years old and rode well into his 80’s. He restored his pride and joy, a 75-year-old Harley WWII bike and led off the Muskego Days parade several times.

The Honor Flight of May 2017 was a high point in his life but he also enjoyed influencing young people in Muskego with his conservative values. He received a commendation and plaque from the Wisconsin State Senate for his lifetime achievements of which he was very proud. He was a proud usher for St. Paul’s Church in Muskego for the last 20 years.

Visitation will be held at the Max A. Sass and Sons Funeral Home – Westwood Chapel on Monday, November 19, 2018 from 4 – 7 PM the family will share eulogies of Ray at 7 PM. A Funeral Service will take place at St. Paul Lutheran Church (S66w14325 Janesville Rd, Muskego, WI 53150) on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 9 AM. Burial with Full Military Honors will take place at Southern Wisconsin Veteran Memorial Cemetery privately for family. Donations can be made to St. Paul’s Church of Muskego or The Honor Flight.

 


Col (ret) Bryon Lee Schatzley
, 548 RTS Yokota AB, PI Officer, June 1948 – September 1951, 548 RTG Deputy Commander, July 1967- January 1969 and Commander, January 1969 – July 1970, passed away on October 26, 2018 in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Col Schatzley at the 2010 Reunion in Dayton

Carol Graff and husband Bryon Shatzley

SCHATZLEY, Byron Lee, Col. (USAF Retired) Age 98 of Beavercreek, Ohio, passed away October 26, 2018. He was born on May 29, 1920 in West Milton, Ohio. A memorial service will be held at 12 Noon on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at Temple Israel, 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice.  Gluckler Funeral Home handling arrangements. 

Bio

Colonel (Ret) Byron Lee Schatzley was born on May 29. 1920 in West Milton, Ohio and entered military service in June 1941.  He received his bombardier’s wings and upon completion of aviation cadet training he was commissioned a 2Lt in March 1943.

During World War II, Colonel Schatzley served as a B-26 crewmember assigned to the 558th Bombardment Squadron, 387th Bombardment Group, in England and flew 40 combat missions over Europe.  For a mission flown against Prurn Germany he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his performance as lead bombardier.  He had a total of 2,500 flight hours.

Upon return from Europe, Col Schatzley was assigned to the Photographic Laboratory at Wright Field, Ohio.  In 1946 he attended a six month aerial photographic officer course at Lowry AFB, Colorado, followed by a short tour with the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell, New Mexico.

In September 1947 he entered Air Force Intelligence School at Lowry again.   Upon graduation, in June 1948 he was assigned to the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan.  In September 1951 he returned to Lowry as a photo interpretation instructor at the Air Force Intelligence School.

From 1953 to 1956, he served as Chief of the Photo Interpretation Section of the Reconnaissance Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB.  In 1956, he transferred his entire section to the Intelligence Laboratory, Rome Air Development Center, New York, which was later redesigned as the Reconnaissance Interpretation Branch,  HQ Air Research and Development Command.  While stationed in New York, Colonel Schatzley earned his bachelor’s degree in social science from Syracuse University under the Bootstrap program.

In September 1959 he attended the University of Indiana in Bloomington under a program of the Air Force Institute of Technology and was awarded a master’s degree in business administration. 

In September 1960, Colonel Schatzley was assigned to Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) at St. Louis, Missouri.  He left there in June 1963 for the Policy and Programs Group, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, HQ USAF, where he become chief of the Policy and Programs Branch, then chief of the Reconnaissance Branch, then chief of the Reconnaissance Division.

Colonel Schatzley was assigned to Hawaii in July 1967 as Deputy Commander of the 548th Reconnaissance Group, and in January 1969 he replaced Colonel Storm Rhode as Commander.

On July 30, 1970, he became Commander of the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) in St. Louis, Missouri.  He retired from the Air Force after 30 years ofcommissioned service on July 31, 1972 as the Director, Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, St. Louis.

Colonel Shatzley has published research papers on photo interpretation and reconnaissance.  He also holds a patent for an Oblique Aerial Photographic Plotting Template.

His first wife, Cora, passed away on 5 May 1979 at the Wright-Patterson AFB Hospital.  On 16 April 1982 he married Carol Graff.  Cora and Byron have two daughters, Jill and Linda.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit w/1OLC, Bronze Star, Air Medal w/7OLC, Air Force Commendation Medal, and numerous other decoration for a total of 20.   On July 13, 2010, he received Frances highest decoration for merit for military and civilians, the Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal.  From the ACIC Orientor, July 31, 1970.

Story of B-26 mission Germany and diary entries:  Schatzley B-26 mission Germany  Video of Col Schatzley talking about his WW-II service at:    https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/greene-county-wwii-veteran-never-felt-like-hero-did-the-job-was-paid/C6QjD7UpzyuB0V3nvEOxAL/  An additional recording of Col Schatzley speaking at the dedication of the 548th/67th bench in June 2008 on the 548th History page.

Denver Cook:  Sad news. Prayers to his family. 

Mark Jessop:  Thank you for passing this on. I remember him well.  

Cecil Brown:  He has a treasure of intelligence memorabilia that Larry Benson and I will help his wife sort through to insure it passes through the Office of the AF Historian.

Bill Forsyth:  We have lost a great member of our association and the second Commander of the 548 RTG, he will be missed by all the knew him. 

 

LtCol (ret) Steve Alber, 548 RTG Deputy Commander for Operations, June 1985 –  June 1991, passed away on April 4, 2018 in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Obituary for Steven Colt Alber 
Steve, 72, died April 4, 2018 at Pohai Nani Care Center from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was born March 22, 1946 in San Francisco to Ruth and George Alber. His father, a career Air Force Officer, flew P-38’s during WWII. Steve spent his childhood in Japan, various parts of the US, and in Europe. His life-long love of airplanes, military history and all things aeronautical began at an early age.

Steve earned a BA in Far Eastern and Russian Studies from the University of Washington in 1968; and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the USAF at the same time. While on Active Duty, he earned a Master’s in Russian Studies from George Washington University, a Masters in Business from the U. of N. Colorado and a BA in Computer Science from Roosevelt University.

Steve spent his 23-year Air Force career as an Intelligence Officer. He served in Vietnam; was stationed in Alamogordo, NM, Colorado Springs, Washington, D.C, and briefly in Geneva while assigned to work on the Salt II Agreement. He earned his pilot’s license while in New Mexico. Steve retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel in 1991. His last assignment was as Deputy Commander of the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group at Hickam Air Force Base. Steve married his wife, Linn, in 1988.

Steve had a 15-year second career as an Energy Planner for the State of Hawaii. He managed “The Hawaii Energy Strategy” project, published in 2000. During part of this time he taught Business courses at Hawaii Pacific University. After he retired in 2007, Steve spent many hours volunteering at the Pacific Aviation Museum, where he was a Founding Member. He amassed a large aviation and military history library, focusing on WWII.

Steve enjoyed skiing, running, hiking, sailing and doing projects around the house – especially those requiring multiple trips to the hardware store. He liked travelling, going to the opera and to Symphony concerts with Linn. Steve excelled at making model airplanes and train layouts. He continued to use this talent by creating a series of “boy” themed Christmas trees with moving parts that he donated to the Honolulu Academy of Art’s annual fundraiser. They were a huge success!

Steve was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000. He maintained his avid interest in aviation and military history, his sense of humor and his gentle, kind disposition, throughout his long struggle. He put up a good fight.

Steve is survived by his wife of 30 years, Linn, his sister Leslie (Gene Medina), brother Bruce (Lynette); five nephews and three grand-nieces; Linn’s sister Jane Redmond, husband Jim; and their children Andrea WIlburn (Jim), Neil (Chloe), Leah and two grand-nephews.

Private services. Donations may be made to the Pacific Aviation Museum.  

His wife Linn sent the following:

“Steve passed away at Pohai Nani Care Center in Kaneohe where he had been since September 2013.  I was with him.  As you know, he was a real fighter but Parkinson’s Disease along with everything else that was happening to him was too much for his body. He turned 72nd on March 22.  Our 30th anniversary was March 26.  Steve went under Hospice Care on March 28, and died around 6:00 P.M. April 4th.   I am relieved that he is no longer suffering or trapped in his unresponsive body.
The 548th was very special to Steve and I know he would want me to share his passing with the group.  Herb (Boasso) wrote that he would talk about him at the reunion.”
​Linn told me in a separate email they are planning for a private service at a future date and his obituary has not yet been published.  In his retirement Steve dedicated himself to the Pacific Aviation Museum where he was a founding member, docent and volunteer.  Steve was one of the finest officers I knew in my Air Force career and was a staunch supporter of our association, he will be deeply missed.  We plan to honor his memory with a donation to the museum from the association.  

Linn added:  Please direct anyone who asks about sending donations in Steve’s memory to: 
Pacific Aviation Museum,319 Lexington Boulevard,Honolulu, Hawaii 96818-5004  Att’n : Carol Greene.  
Please ask them to indicate the donation is: In Memory of Lt. Col. Steven C. Alber, USAF, Ret.  Donations will go to the Museum’s Endowment Fund. 

Steve at 2010 Reunion Dayton

LtCol Alber promoting Barbara Arnold

Jim Grant    Steve’s courage and determination to continue to contribute and be productive despite the progressive diminution of his physical capabilities demonstrate what an exceptional man he always was. In the years we shared together at Hickam, he was always on  the short list of people I wanted to discuss tough problems with. I had great respect for his superb professionalism, intelligence, and integrity. His strength of character and sterling example always had a positive impact on me – never more so than in his final years. I send my best wishes and sincere condolences to Linn and other family members.

Ronald Young  548 RTG (1985-1988)  So sorry to hear this news.  My sincere condolences to the family.

Stephen Glass   Sad to read. He was such a nice and kind person and leader. 
Dick O’Neil   Great guy. Sad to hear the news. Can you please send me info on how to make a donation to his museum. I would like to do that.  

Andy Laning    Sad to hear this.   May God bless.  

Janice Cannon    Thank you for sharing this news. I wish his family peace. 

Tim Houghton  I had a chance to talk with Steve and Linn over the last six months as we have a friend at Pohai Nani.  It is good to know he is no longer suffering.. 

 Mike Carey   Steve was a wonderful boss and a great person. I met him for lunch the first day I was in Hawaii, and would like to think he was a friend and not just a boss for my time at the 548th, and was privileged to be at his wedding to Linn. If you are speaking to Linn, pleas pass on my condolences. 

Kevin Wooton    Chris Stafford (who is a neighbor here in Boerne, TX) and I were commiserating and mourning.  Much of what passed for both our careers was developed under Steve’s tutelage.   

Mary Johnson    I am so sorry to hear of Steve’s passing he had a tremendous impact on me and my career. When you get the info on where to send museum donations, please let me know.  

Thomas McFadden   Yes, I remember him. He seemed like a quiet, gentle type man. But never a negative word spoken about him. Our prayers go out to his family and friends????

William Germer   Sad news.

Lee Hester   Sorry to hear; and that he had such a tough few years……remember him well.

Fred Hoover   We lost a good man. He will be missed.

Maureen DeNunzio    So sad. Thoughts and prayers for his family. Thank you for letting us know.

Mark DeNunzio    Very sad…he was a great mentor and friend to me. Prayers to his family

Peter Escalante    At a loss for words. Kind, decent, and honorable. It was a pleasure to have him as my superior. Whenever I think of the 548th and PACOPS, he is one of the people who I first think of. Until we meet again.

Joe Weller   A very nice man and excellent Officer, kind thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. 

Patricia Miller   Very sad, may he Rest In Peace.

Joseph Murphy   SAD!

Robert Ardizzoni   Sad news indeed. Prayers for his family.

Bradley Bartter   Sad news indeed, I truly enjoyed all the time working with him.

Morgan Birge II   God Bless!

Col (ret) Thomas Eastler, USAF Reservist, active duty assigned multiple times to the Research and Analysis Branch, underground facilities project, passed away on August 30, 2018 in Farmington, Maine.

                                           Thomas Eastler       

 October 10, 1944 – August 30, 2018

FARMINGTON  – How I might sum up the life of my Father, Thomas Eastler, 73, of Farmington, Maine, in a reasonably sized written document is nearly impossible. He passed away on August 30, 2018, at his home. It should include his humble beginnings in Waltham, MA, and his impressive pedigree, from Brown University to Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in Geology in 1971. It should describe his incredibly successful career in the military, which spanned Active Duty service for the USAF during the Vietnam War, and both Desert Storm and Desert Shield; he retired at the rank of Colonel in 1996 after 30 years and 30 days of service (most of that spent in the Active Reserve).
It should include his love of teaching, retiring from the University of Maine in Farmington in 2015 after spending 41 years as a Professor of Geology. Teaching was his passion, and he was able to combine that with his love of sports becoming influential in the development of youth racewalking for USA Track & Field in Maine and throughout the U.S.
It would be incomplete if it didn’t include his “free time” activities, which included farming on his beloved 140 acre farm, privately consulting for the Department of Defense for several decades, sitting on 3 Gubernatorial appointed Boards for the State of Maine, writing dozens of publications and books, and serving the Town of Farmington for over 40 years (most recently, the 29 years he spent on the Planning Board).
I would be remiss not to mention some of the awards he accumulated over the years, which include the Legion of Merit, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Fellow of the Geological Society of America, among many others.
None of this, however, adequately sums up the man that Tom was and what legacy he has left behind. Tom lived with a purpose for life that he felt was bigger than living simply for oneself. His work ethic was unparalleled, leaving no job unfinished. He felt responsible for his fellow man, consistently doing for others at the expense of himself. **He lived at least 5 more lifetimes as measured by the amount of deeds accomplished while others were sleeping; while his family often saw this as a sacrifice to his personal being, it was probably more accurate to view this as part of his drive to live his life with great intention. He lived his whole life with curiosity, never losing his drive to learn. He took immense pride in not only the accomplishments of his family, but also of those he taught and coached over the years; he never felt that he was personally responsible for anyone’s success, but simply viewed his effort with each person as an encouragement to help them find the power and greatness within themselves.
Tom is survived by his beloved wife, his high school sweetheart, Susan Sinclair Eastler; his sister, Kathy Eastler Maher of Bainbridge Island, WA; his children, Lauren Farkash and her husband, Ron, Gretchen Fishman and her husband, Jayme, and Kevin Eastler and his wife, Sara. He leaves his greatest legacies, his grandchildren, Emma, Abby, and Nathan Farkash; Lily, Shayna, and Evan Fishman; Savannah and William Eastler. In addition to his sister-in-law, Sharon Sinclair Williams and her husband, Robert, and numerous nieces and nephews, he will be missed by many whom he touched along the circle of his life.
~ Humbly written by his daughter, Gretchen, whose strong voice and persistent manner (gifts from my Father) was quieted ever so slightly in this writing. Words could never do justice to the life of this amazing man.
In his memory, two scholarships have been established in his name. Donations to the Thomas E. Eastler Geology Scholarship may be sent to the University of Maine at Farmington, Ferro Alumni Center, 242 Main St., Farmington, ME 04938. Donations to the Thomas Eastler Youth Fund for the USA Racewalking Foundation can be made at www.usaracewalking.org.
There will be a public Celebration of Life for Tom on Sunday, September 30, at 1 p.m. and the University of Maine at Farmington (please check the UMF calendar for specific location, www.umf.maine.edu) followed by a gathering at Sunny View Farm, 300 Mosher Hill Road, Farmington, Maine. Rocks for his memorial cairn are welcome.
Arrangements are assisted by Wiles Remembrance Center – Adams-McFarlane Chapel, 137 Farmington Falls Road, Farmington. Memories and condolences may be shared on his memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.

Steve Brightbill:  All of us who worked on that particular special project enjoyed working with him. In addition to his expertise, he was an interesting character. We had him over for dinner one time and it was fun getting his perspective on a number of things that you would probably only get from someone who lived in Maine. BTW, I occasionally look at that place on Google Maps to see what’s happening. As expected, not much to see.  Steve added: Right after I got the news from LTC Desjardins, I looked up his obit and read the one by his daughter Gretchen. I texted her and added my comments and remembrances, and she replied shortly after with her thanks and appreciation. He was an interesting person, and I wished he could have stuck around a little while longer. He was the right person at the right time to lend his expertise to what was a one-of-a-kind target back then. He made significant contributions in a number of fields and I’m glad I knew him.
Philip Desjardins   He sure made an impact on our lives.
Bill Forsyth  Tom was a wealth of knowledge and one of the most pleasant individual to work with.  He was the author of ‘Military Use of Underground Terrain’