Donald R. D’Amico
d. 9 NOV 2011
Colonel D’Amico’s obituary from The Denver Post:
“D’Amico, Colonel Donald Richard, 83, of Parker, CO passed away peacefully on November 9, 2011, after a long illness. Colonel D’Amico is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Dora Bertoglio D’Amico, daughters Adrienne Southworth and Nancy D’Amico and sons Donald and John-Peter D’Amico. He is also survived by his 5 grandchildren. Colonel D’Amico dedicated his career to protecting our country as an Air Force fighter pilot during which time he received numerous commendations, medals and awards for his service in Korea and Vietnam. After his retirement, Colonel D’Amico was active in charitable and political organizations and enjoyed being with his family. A memorial service will be held Jan. 6, 2012, at 11am at Ave Maria Catholic Church in Parker, Colorado. Interment will follow with a full Military Honors funeral at Ft. Logan National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association at www.river-rats.org.”
A rememberance by fellow River Rat Tony Simon:
“Col Donald R Damico passed away on 19 Nov 2011 of Alzheimers Disease. He had suffered from it for about 16 months and just got progressively worse to the point that he did not know people who were close to him, such as family.
I did talk to him the early on the day he died and I got a rise out of him by digging into his brain’s past as he loved the USAF. I asked him if he remembered that he and I used flying F-4s at DaNang and he looked at me and said, “DaNang”? Then I asked him if he wanted to go to Saigon and chase some women, and he smiled. Even the Hospice lady in the room with me noticed it.
He was the 480th TFS Squadron Commander in 1968 until he got shot down and due to injuries sustained during the ejection, he was sent back to the US for treatment to his back.
Don started his military career as a buck private in the Army and through in service education, transferred to the Air Force and worked his way up the ladder to retire as an O-6. He started flying at the end of the Korean conflict in F-86s, finally getting into F-4s.
While at DaNang, he was instrumental in starting an orphanage. He was also picked for involvement in Operation Homecoming for the returning POWs from the Hanoi Hilton.
He was a father of 4 and a husband to Dora for more than 50 years.
From the U,S. Congressional Record, 2 February 2000:
HON SCOTTMcINNIS of Colorado IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, February 2, 2000
“Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to honor a winner of the Amercian Century Award, Donald R. D’Amico, Retired Colonel of the United States Air Force.
Colonel D’Amico served in the USAF for nearly 30 years, most of which were as a combat and fighter pilot. He flew 129 combat missions during the Korean War and over 100 missions in Vietnam during three tours of duty. Colonel D’amico was awarded four Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism, two Purple Hearts, and thirteen Air Medals among a total of 50 awards and decorations.
Colonel D’Amico also displayed a quality of character that makes us all proud to be Americans. During the Korean conflict, Don used some of his spare time to help an orphanage for Korean children. He would gather milk that the soldiers would not drink and take it to the orphanage along with other supplies, some of which were donated and mailed from his parents’ church in Rochester, New York. Don keeps pictures of the children he helped.
During the Vietnam Conflict, Don nearly lost his life after being shot down during an attack on a heavily fortified position. Fortunately, he and his crew were rescued and after nine months in the hospital, Don returned for two more tours of duty.
Since retiring from the Air Force in 1977, Don continues to be involved with issues and community service. In the 1980’s, he joined the Board of Directors of Street-Smart Inc., a program helping inner-city youth avoid the dangers of gang involvement. In 1990, Street-Smart was recognized by President Bush as one of the “Thousand Points of Light”.
It is with this, Mr. Speaker, that I would like to honor Donald R. D’Amico, Amercian Century Award winner. He risked his life in defense of freedom and still gives selflessly to his country and community.”