Category Archives: Fallen Shipmates

Batey, William S. W. LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1954 – 1955

Batey, William S. W.Lt. Cmdr. William S. Batey, 93, passed away July 4, 2014; quick with a joke, quick with a smile. Bill Batey was born August 9, 1920 in Lewis, Delaware. He served our country proudly in both World War II and The Korean Conflict. While serving in the Pacific, his supervisors gave their difficult students to Bill, teaching them how to fly from aircraft carriers.
While teaching them he found out two things about himself, the first, was the naval officer’s lack of math expertise needed, and second, that he was both good at teaching and enjoyed teaching others. This began his second career.
After retiring from the Navy, he went back to the University of Texas earning his teaching credentials and began teaching math to middle school students. He kept teaching on & on. In fact, he was ‘Educator of the Year’ in 1991-1992.
Bill finally retired at the age of 81 years young. He left a positive imprint those who came in contact with him and on those he taught.
May Bill rest in peace with his wife, Jane and daughter, Barbara.
Family links:
Mary Jane Batey (1923 – 2006)
Barbara Anne Batey Chakales (1944 – 2011)*

Pezzei, Engelbert G. CAPT USN (Ret) VP-4 1962 – 1964

Pezzei, Engelbert 01 Pezzei, Engelbert 02CAPT Engelbert G. Pezzei USN (Ret) passed away in early June 2014. His daughter, Alice Tanita, told me that there is no additional info and an obituary was not published.

He was a LCDR and PPC of crew 5 while he served in VP-4 fron 1962 to 1964. He graduated from the School of Naval Warfare at the Naval War College in June of 1967. His later tours included duty as the Navigation Officer aboard USS Forrestal CVA-59 and as SECURITY/ADMIN OFFICER on the staff of GEN A.M. HAIG, JR., US ARMY SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE. CAPT Pezzei retired 1 Sept 1975.

Photos are from VP-4 1962 Cruise Book and CVA-59 1971 Cruise book.

Wilcox, Gary D. AT3 VP-4 1957 – 1962

Wilcox 1958 Wilcox, Gary D.Gary Wilcox, 75, of Oakland, died May 23, 2014, at his residence.

He was the son of the late Roy and Gladys Lichty Wilcox and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served as an AT3 in VP-4 from 1957 to 1962.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, John and Roy Michael.

Mr. Wilcox is survived by his wife, Geraldine “Jerri” Wilcox; his daughter, Suzanne (Jeff) of Lewisburg, Tenn.; his sister, Arlene Davis, Dallas, Texas; two grandchildren, Heidi and Valin; and many nieces, nephews and in-laws.

Visitation for Mr. Gary Wilcox will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Cone Funeral Home, with the funeral service at 7 p.m. in the chapel of the funeral home. The family has chosen cremation.

Passing of VP-4 Vet Thomas, Robert V. VP-4 1952 – 1954

Fallen ShipmateWhile searching for VP-4 vets to notify about our upcoming reunion, I ran across this sad news. I have not found an obituary or contact info for any family members.

I had Bob in our database but have no info about his Rank/ rating or duties in the squadron.  If anyone remembers him, please send any info you have about him.

Robert (Bob) V. Thomas, 92, of Yuba City, CA, passed away on May 11, 2014. Arrangements are under the direction of Ullrey Memorial Chapel, Inc., (530) 673-9542.

His wife, Barbara L. Thomas, 76 of Yuba City passed away December 19, 2013.

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

CDR BARNETT, Gordon Richard – USN (Ret) – CO VP-4 1962 – 1963

CDR Barnett and COsBARNETT, CDR Gordon Richard  USN (Ret) CO VP-4 1962 – 1963 passed away 28 Jan 2014.  Gordon R. Barnett joined the Navy in 1942.  After earning his wings and commissioning, he served as a pilot with Composite Squadron 15, Torpedo Squadron 97, Torpedo Squadron 44 and Air Development Squadron 1.  Later assignments included tours in VP-21 and VP-45.  Graduation from General Line School at Newport was followed by a tour as an instructor at the Aerial Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia.  A tour on the staff of Commander Fleet Air Wings, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as Aerial Mining Officer and Advanced Undersea Weapons Officer followed.  After a tour at the training command at Pensacola, he reported in 1957 to Commander Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet as Allowance/Complement Officer for the Pacific Fleet.  In March 1959 his career in ASW patrol plane aviation was renewed with a tour as Administrative Officer of VP-28 followed by a tour as Executive Officer of VP-31 and culminated by a tour as Commanding Officer of VP-4.  He retired shortly after completing that tour.
A celebration of his life was held at 10:00am on 8 Feb 2014 at the Alamo City Church, 6500 IH 35N, San Antonio, TX 78218.

ADAMS, ATC Charles David. VP-4 1971-1975

Fallen ShipmateADAMS, ATC Charles David, age 61, passed away March 25, 2013 in San Antonio. He retired as a Chief Petty Officer from the U.S. Navy.  Known as “Dave” while assigned to VP-4 from 1971 to 1975, he flew with several crews as an Inflight Technician.  He was a former Scout Master with Troop 513. Mr. Adams was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, TX, and served with the Guadalupana Society. He is survived by his wife, Nora Adams; Sons and Daughters-in-law: Matthew & Kari Adams, Andrew & Anne Adams; Daughter, Allison Adams; Brothers: Mike and Norman Adams; Sisters: Judi Tometich and Jaime Kindermann; Also surviving are 3 Grandsons: Landry, Garrett, and Luke.
Burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas

Swanson, Ronald R. LCDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1949 – 1950

Swanson, Ronald R.Ronald R. Swanson passed away April 8, 2014. Ron was born in Tacoma, Washington July 30, 1926 to Fred and Helen Swanson. Ron had one brother Carl who preceded him in death. Ron was a career Navy man who enlisted at the age of 17 in 1943. Ron earned his Combat Air Crewman wings and was assigned to a torpedo squad where he served throughout the war. Serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam he earned his commission as Ensign and retired as a Lt. Commander. Ron served on the East and West coasts, Asiatic and Mediterranean fleets. In Ron’s retirement he enjoyed his home with his lovely wife Belva and beloved dog Ole. Ron was an avid gardener and a graduate Master Gardener. He enjoyed his greenhouse, yard and large garden sharing his “bounty” with friends and neighbors. For several years he operated a “freebie” veggie stand meeting and greeting all who stopped by. Ron also loved wood working in his shop. Ron is survived by his wife Belva, dog Ole, daughter Sandy (Steve) Davenport, son Ron (Cel) Jr. of Florida, 3 grandchildren and several great grandchildren. The family wants to thank Avamere Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation for their wonderful care. At Ron’s request there will not be a service.

Published in Bellingham Herald on Apr. 20, 2014

AT3 Gerald D. “Gary” Myers VP-4 1959 – 1961

Myers, G.D.
VP-4 Vet Gerald Duane “Gary” Myers passed away on 8 March 2014.  He served as Radio Operator on Crew 1 during 1959 to 1961.
Military Services are set for Gary Myers cremains on April 11. 1330 Hours at:
Tahoma National Cemetery
18600 SE 240th Street
Kent, WA 98042-4868
Phone: 425-413-9614
His daughter, Deborah Kuno, has not yet decided on where contributions in Gary’s name are to be sent.
Condolence cards may be sent to:
Ms. Deborah Kuno
25135 110th Pl SE Apt B
Kent, WA 98030-6478
Watch this site for more info and to leave messages in Guestbook.

Passing of CWO4 Kent H. GUNN USN (Ret) VP-4 1978 – 1982

Fallen Shipmate

CW04 Kent Harold Gunn USN Ret. 75 of Covington passed away 2/18/2014 and is now with our Lord. A service celebrating his life will be held at Bethel Christian Church in Conyers on March 23rd 2014 at 2:00pm.

Kent was born and raised in Monroe. He was a Graduate of Monroe High School Class of 56, University of West Florida Batchelor of Science 1974. Kent proudly served his country for thirty years in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer. He Owned and Operated Gunn Brothers Truss Company of Covington from 1987 to 2003.

Kent was preceded in Death by Jessie Harold Gunn (father), Gladys Virginia McClure (Mother) He is Survived by Rick and Robin Haynes (daughter) of Conyers, Michael Kent Gunn (son) of Conyers, Alvin and Robin Gunn (brother) of Covington, James and Joyce Gunn of Rutlege (brother), Grand Daughters Megan Brown, Shannacy Morton and Jada Gunn. Great Grand Daughter Keiley Morton. In Lieu of flowers family request donations to Bethel Christian Church. 1930 Bethel Rd. NE Conyers, GA 30012.


Condolence cards may be sent to his son, Michael, who has posted several pictures of “Gunner” on the VP-4 Veterans Association on Facebook at


Mr. Michael K. Gunn

2725 Westminister Ln.

Conyers, Ga. 30012

CDR Melvyn “Mel” Maxwell BROWN VP-4 Veteran 1954 – 1956

Melvyn BrownMelvyn “Mel” Maxwell Brown passed away December 4, 2013 in Carlsbad, CA. He was born in Lanty, Arkansas on January 7, 1921. Mel was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He retired from the Navy after 27 years as a Commander, USN, Pilot. After retiring from the Navy, he was a real estate broker in San Diego County for over 20 years. Mel is survived by Ruth, his wife of 58 years; and his two children, Nancy Cook and family of Redwood City, CA and Ken Brown and family of Carlsbad, CA. Two grandchildren, Amy Buckley of Richland, MI, and Eric Brown of Oceanside, CA, also survive him. The memorial service will be at 11a.m. on December 17 at Miramar National Cemetery with full military honors.

Published in U-T San Diego on Dec. 15, 2013

CMDR. ALBERT L. DODSON VP-4 Veteran 1951-1953 – CO 1952-1953

Fallen ShipmateMemorial Services were Saturday at the George Belton Chapel, for retired Navy Cmdr. Albert LeRoy Dodson, 76, Raymore, who died April 29, 1992, at Research Belton Hospital.

Dodson was born in Cleveland and returned to this area in 1967. He served in the Navy from 1939 to 1967 and held five commands. He was a test and patrol pilot in World War II. He was a real estate broker for Kroh Brothers.

He attended Central Methodist College, Fayette, MO., and the Naval War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. He received the National Defense Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the Philipine Liberation Ribbon. He was past president of the Belton Historical Society and the Heart of America chapter of the Retired Officers Association. He was a member of the Navy League, the Quiet Birdmen, the Military Order of the World Wars, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, the Association of Naval Aviation, the U.S. Naval Institute, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Meteorological Society and the Harry S. Truman chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was a former board member of the Westport Historical Society. He was a Mason and a member of Ararat Shrine. He was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Raymore.

Survivors include his wife, Jane E. Dodson of the home; three sons, James L. Dodson, Lancaster, Calif., William B. Dodson, Ormond Beach, Fla., and Joseph G. Dodson, La Crescent, Minn.; a sister, Marie Curnett, Raymore; and nine grandchildren.

Burial with military honors will be in the Belton Cemetery. The family suggests contributions to the Belton Historical Society or the church.

Cyrus S. Lee VP-4 Veteran 1956 -1958

Lee Obit

letter with Lee Obit




Passing of VP-4 Vet David T. PITTS CDR USN (Ret) VP-4 1956 – 1958

I was informed by Susan Pitts of the passing of her husband, VP-4 Vet CDR David T. Pitts, who served in VP-4 from 1956 – 1958.
Condolence cards may be sent to :
Mrs. David T. Pitts
715 Chipandie Drive
Augusta, GA 30909
Pitts, David TPitts, David T. 2 AUGUSTA, Ga. – David Terrill Pitts, Sr., beloved husband of Susan B. Pitts, entered into rest July 2, 2013, and in exultation: For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Friends are invited to call at the home July 18th, between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00 PM, for a celebration of David’s life. A private family gathering will be held at the Pitts home the morning of July 19th under the leadership of Rev. Alan Smith, Associate Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Known early on as Skipper, and later as Davey, his youth was spent in a happy, competitive, and seemingly unwashed pursuit of fun, sports and adventure. He and his brother Petey were deprived of nothing since their parents had nothing, nothing material, but an abundance of love, and a concerted quest for excellence in education, more than made up for it. In addition to his wife of 33 years, other survivors are sons: LTC David Terrill Pitts, Ret. (Melissa), Augusta, GA; Rowland Whitney Pitts (Ryma), Bristow, VA; LTC Esli Terrill Pitts (Faith), Ft. Hood, TX; and daughter, Sarah R. Pitts, Augusta, GA; grandchildren: Chelsie of Auburn, WA; Sean and Kellie of Augusta, GA; Jessica and Angel, of Bristow, VA; Ashley and Alyssa, Ft. Hood, TX, Kelly and Veronica of Everett, WA; great-grandchildren: Lucas and Blaine; sister-in-law, Jocelyn Milner Pitts, Pasadena, CA, and nephews: Dr. Andrew Pitts (Sara), Dover, DE and Jonathan Pitts (Jiho), Baltimore, MD; niece, Amy Pitts Buckner (Matthew), Pasadena, CA; great-nephews: Will and Hank; and great-niece: Johanna. Also survived by special furry friend, Butch, and special family friend, Wesley T. Pearson (daughter’s companion). He was preceded in death by parents: Ferris Newcomb and Florence Austin Morris Pitts of Webster Groves, MO; brother: Dr. Ferris N. (Pete) Pitts, Jr. of Pasadena, CA; and former wife, Mary Ann Barden Pitts of Oak Harbor, WA; and son, Thomas Barden Pitts (Tanya), of Everett, WA. After graduating from Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School in Maplewood, MO, he received a full scholarship to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in English and Naval Science. He later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science degree from the University of South Carolina where he enjoyed a year’s attendance with his wife. Upon completion of flight training at Pensacola, FL, he was designated a Naval Aviator and he experienced a variety of squadron assignments culminating in duties as a fighter pilot, primarily flying his favorite aircraft, the McDonnell-Douglass F-4 Phantom II. He was interested in aviation safety and completed a twenty-six year career without accident or injury, which led to a job as acceptance test pilot at the Rockwell International production facility at Columbus, OH. David and Susan were married in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany. After arriving in Augusta, David became the Naval Science Instructor at both Westside and Glenn Hills High Schools, and the couple found a wonderful community of loving friends through their church home: Aldersgate United Methodist. Once both became librarians, David and Susan were affiliated with several local libraries. Their primary pursuit was Christian mission work, and their greatest achievement will always remain putting down family roots in their adopted hometown, Augusta, GA. Loving thanks and recognition to the following individuals and organizations for their unmatched professional care: Dr. Nasha Nayak and staff of the Georgia Health Sciences Cancer Center; Dr. Roger Fincher, Gastroenterology Dept., and Dr. Derek Baudoin, Family Care Center, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center. Thanks and appreciation also to Augusta Chapter, Military Order of the World Wars, of which David was a founding member; Magnolia Garden Club; College Hill Chapter, DAR; Susannah Wesley Circle, Good News Gospel Choir, Leigh Cupp, the Youth Group under Shelly Martin, and the rest of our church family at Aldersgate. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Military Missions, Aldersgate U.M.C., 3185 Wheeler Road, Augusta, GA 30909.
Published in The Augusta Chronicle on July 7, 2013

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

Passing of VP-4 Vet AFCM Quinten T. Starren USN (Ret) VP-4 1959 – 1960

Starren, Quinten T. ADCSLarry Scott, who served as an AK-3 in VP-4 from 1961-62, sent me a note about a 1959-1960 VP-4 Cruise Book available for purchase on Ebay.  He queried the seller about the source of the book and was told that it came from the estate of Quinten T. Starren who served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1972.
Quinten T. Starren served as an ADCS in VP-4 during 1959 – 1960 and retired as an AFCM in 1972.  He may have served longer in VP-4 but I could only find him in the 1959-60 Cruise Book and have no other record of him.
I located the following obituary.
Quinten T Starren
Birth: Mar. 6, 1923
Death: Sep. 2, 2012
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Quinten T. Starren
Posted on: September 4, 2012
Brainerd Dispatch
Quinten T. Starren, 89, Lower Sylvan Lake resident, died Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, at Essentia-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. He was born March 6, 1923, in Warroad, Minn., to Erick and Esther (Toombs) Starren. He was a graduate of Warroad High School. Quinten served in the US Navy for 30 years, retiring in 1972.
Surviving are his daughter, Diane Valenti, of Arkansas; and grandson, Patrick; and great-grandson, Alek.
His wife Clarisa died in 2010.
Graveside services with military honors will be 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery.
Nelson-Doran Funeral Home & Crematory

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager

AT1 Gary A. Nelson VP-4 1966 – 1969

During his tour in VP-4, Gary served as Radio Operator or 1st Tech on Crew 12 and Crew 5.  After his time in the Navy, Gary went to work for the FAA and retired from there.

Fallen ShipmateGary was born in Nov 1944 and passed away on 15 May 2013. He thought he had food poisoning, however it was his appendix.  He did not go to the hospital in time and it ruptured. They couldn’t fight the infection.
It was all very sudden and quick!!
His funeral is on June 27,2013 @ 11 AM At Willamette National Cemetery  in Portland, Oregon.
Condolence cards can be sent to:
Trevan & Jill Nelson
335 S. 7th St.
Saint Helens, OR 97051

Stubbs, Darrell D. AK1 USN (Ret) VP-4 1979 – 1980

Stubbs, Darrell D 1 Stubbs, Darrell D.Darrell Dee Stubbs, 55 of Lexington Park, MD, was greeted at the Gates of Heaven on June 15, 2013. He was the son of the late John and Irene Stubbs, born on April 5, 1958 in Fairmont, West Virginia. At nineteen years old, Darrell joined the U.S. Navy where he served his country for twenty years and at retirement was ranked a 1st Class Aviation Store Keeper. During his Naval career, he was awarded the following medals: Navy and Marine Corps Achievement, Good Conduct, National Defense, Southwest Asia and two Expeditionary. While stationed in Lexington Park, MD, Darrell met the love of his life, Cecelia (Darlene) Woodland and the two married on Christmas Eve in 1986. In his spare time, Darrell enjoyed playing bid whist and was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan. He also loved listening to the oldies but goodies and sharing his favorite meal of spaghetti with his granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his parents and a long-time friend, Vernon Coates. Darrell is survived by his wife, Cecelia; his daughter, Tesha Stubbs; two sons, Darrell Stubbs II and Dominic Pendleton, seven grandchildren, three sisters, Margaret Holman, Genevieve (Gary) Freed and Carolyn Stubbs; four brothers, John (Martha) Stubbs, Robert (Beverly) Stubbs, Videll (Sandra) Stubbs and Julian (Mildred) Stubbs; in laws, Joseph and Thelma Woodland; brothers-in-law, Joseph “Al” Woodland and David Woodland; one sister-in-law, Ellen (Daryl) Bogier; a special friend, Jackie Butler and a host of other relatives and friends. Family will unite with friends on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 for visitation from 3:30 p.m. until time of service at 5:00 p.m. at Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home, 38576 Brett Way, Mechanicsville, MD. Interment will be private.

CDR George R. HENRY VP-4 1961-62


Henry, George R. 1

I just received the following email from Dana Henry Young, daughter of George R. Henry, who served as Crew 7 PPC and Quality Control Officer while assigned to VP-4 during 1961 and 1962.




This is Dana Henry Young, George’s daughter.  It is with great sorrow that I inform you that tonight (28 May 2013, Tues, 10:30pm) at his home, your dear Navy buddy, George, has gone to be with his Lord and Savior.
I will be arriving in Hot Springs Village tomorrow to be with Mom, my brother, Richard and my sister, Sharon.   Feel free to call me at [removed for OPSEC] later in the day if you would like share your condolences.  Not sure what shape Mom will be in since Dad was her rock but if she is taking calls I will put you through.
I am praying Dad’s contact list is still on his computer when I arrive.  Please share this news with any other Navy friends of Dad’s that aren’t on this email.  He loved you all so much and cherished the friendships he made with each of you.
If you have any G rated stories you want to share with the family, please feel free to email me.  If you have R rated stories, you can send them to me and I will share them with Richard. J  Dad and Richard were best friends, please keep him in your prayers as well.
Since Dad became ill, as a family we were by Dad’s side through 2 hospital visits (2.5 months each) and 2 rehab stays (2 months each) + time at brother’s home and their beautiful home in Hot Springs Village for a total of 17 months.
The 10 months that I was helping care for Dad was the best time of my life.  I am so grateful that I had this precious time with my sweet Daddy.
If you want to send Mom a card, her address is:
Email Database @ vp4association . com for address information
Mom’s email is denehenry @ yahoo . com
All our love,
Dene, Sharon, Richard and Dana
Henry, George R. - Mom Dad Christmas 2012 Henry, George R. - Mom and Dad Officer Club

Larry Hames
VP-4 1975 – 1978
VP-4 Veterans Assn Database Manager
database @ vp4association . com
(503) 688-9804


Koontz, Kenneth Joe VP-4 1994 – 1998


Fallen ShipmateBRACKETTVILLE, Texas | Kenneth Joe Koontz and his loving wife, Melissa Lou Hill Koontz, along with their two daughters, Madison Glenn and Marley Ann, of Brackettville Texas, went to their heavenly home Sunday, April 14, 2013. They are survived by their son and brother, Kenneth Zachary Koontz. Ken and Melissa blessed us with their love and acceptance. They saw the best in everyone and raised their children to do the same. God blessed us all by sharing them with each of us. Ken had a passion for the great outdoors, flying, and loved working with his hands. He had a love for life and could always be counted on to lend a helping hand. Uncle Kenny was a favorite play partner for all his nieces and nephews. One of his happiest moments was when his son and best friend, Zachary, was born. Melissa was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She spoke from the heart and shared her faith and love. Melissa’s beauty shined from her eyes and radiated forth and warmed us all deeply. The brightest smiles were to be found when she was watching Madison act, Marley playing sports, and Zach creating with Legos. She loved sitting and having a cup of tea and sharing her life with her prayer partners and Bible study groups. Madison and Marley were both shining examples of young Christian ladies. Both of them list the book Heaven is for Real as a favorite. Both young ladies saw the beauty and goodness in others before anything else. Madison lit up the world with her smile on the sideline cheering and on the stage taking on a variety of roles. She loved Tae Kwon Do and teaching others about this and The Lord. She had a passion for music which she had hoped to share and develop at Texas A & M Corpus Christi. Her words of hope and listening heart will be missed by the many who counted her as a friend. Marley always had a smile on her face and kind words for others. She loved her friends and family and enjoyed spending time with all. Marley was always taking care of animals and loved her sweet dogs, Bella and Sammy. Her Facebook page reflected her strong faith. God is love. God is life. Our hearts mourn the loss of Ken, Melissa, Madison, and Marley. They are survived by a large family and extended family, mothers, Selma Clements Koontz and Lucinda Wilson Hill; brothers and sisters, Dan and Pam Koontz, Kimberlee and Mike Humble, David and Renee Koontz, Lucinda Kelly, Bettie and Steve Fedrizzi, Emily and Randall Bolander, Hilda and Andy Wertz, Maggie and Barry Johnson, Sam and Carol Hill, and Jane Hill; nieces, nephews and cousins, Megan and Leslie Bolander, Heather and Scott Gilbertson and Emily Fedrizzi, Matthew Henniger and Cinda Kelly, Emma, Melanie, Hannah and Caroline Wertz, Ella, Charles and Lillie Johnson, Tracy and Angel Hill, Chris Jorgenson and Richie Hill, Graham and Grady Koontz, Ryan Humble, Reid and Charlotte Humble, and Macy Koontz. They were preceded in death by father and grandfather, G. Doyle Koontz and Richard C. Hill; brother, Richard D. Hill, and nephews, William D. Hill and Gary Hill. Visitation for Ken, Melissa, Madison, and Marley will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013, at the Brackettville Civic Center. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday, April 22, 2013, at the Brackettville Civic Center. A private burial for the immediate family will follow. In lieu of flowers, the families are requesting for donations to be made to the Koontz Family Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will honor the family’s dedication and love for education and Brackettville. Donations will be accepted through the Brackettville ISD, P.O. Box 586, Brackettville, TX 78832. Please visit our website at and sign our online guestbook. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Sunset Memorial Oaks Funeral Home & Cemetery, 2020 Bedell Ave., Del Rio, Texas 78840, (830) 778-2020.


Published in The Citizen from April 19 to April 20, 2013




4/15/2013 – LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — An Air Force reserve instructor pilot and civilian employee was killed along with his wife and two daughters near San Antonio, Texas, April 13.


Lt. Col. Kenneth Koontz, a civilian simulator instructor and member of the 96th Flying Training Squadron was killed in a traffic accident on U.S. Route 90.


“Lt. Col. Kenneth ‘Jughead’ Koontz was one of the most seasoned T-6 instructor pilots at Laughlin,” said Lt. Col. Sean Garrett, 96th FTS commander. “He was a valued and trusted leader within the 96th FTS and he was loved by the students, having recently been named the ‘Best Guest Help IP’ by Class 13-15.”


Each pilot training class has instructor pilots who do not fly with them on a day-to-day basis, but do fly with them regularly. These instructor pilots are known informally as ‘Guest Help IPs’ and each class picks their favorite, as well as favorite simulator instructor. Koontz had been picked a number of times for these awards.


While Lt. Col. Koontz loved teaching students how to fly, it wasn’t his top priority, explained Garrett.


“Jughead was a man of strong faith, and spending time with his family was always his priority. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” said Garrett.


Before joining the Air Force Reserve, Koontz was in the Navy for 15 years. He became an Air Force reservist in 2006.


Many of the training flights for April 15 were curtailed as students and squadron members dealt with their grief.


“Our priorities right now are to help this family any way we can and to ensure our team is mentally ready to resume flight training,” said Col. Tom Murphy, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “Lt. Col. Koontz was a civilian employee and a Reserve lieutenant colonel, exemplifying what an Airman is all about, and he established a very high standard of excellence along the way. He and his family were deeply ingrained into the Laughlin, Brackettville and Del Rio communities. This is a tragedy and they will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Koontz family and friends.”


Koontz flew 894 sorties equaling 5,656.5 flight hours during his career; 4,456 of those hours were in the Navy and 1,200 hours in the Air Force. He also had 2,036 hours in a simulator.


“That means he probably worked with 1,800 students in the SIMs alone,” said Mr. Danny Williams, Director of Sims and Academics.


“The number of students Lt. Col. Koontz has worked with and helped shape into remarkable pilots is a testament to his skills and talents,” said Murphy. “He helped us graduate the world’s best pilots. That is a fact!”

Dittman, John G. ADRC VP-4 1956 – 1958

Dittman, John GlenJohn Glen Dittman, 83, passed away peacefully on March 28th, 2013.

Glen was born in Yonkers, NY, on June 1st, 1929, to Willis and Marion Dittman. He was raised in Walden, NY.
While working in Colorado, he met his future wife, Delphine. They were married October 20, 1948.
Glen joined the US Navy in 1951 and retired in 1971 as a Chief Petty Officer (E-7). He loved the Navy and he loved to fly. After retirement, he spent over 40 years active in the Fleet Reserve Assoc.
Glen had a great sense of humor and he never met a stranger. He had a strong sense of duty and responsibility for his fellow man, and was always doing for others. He was active in the First Congregational Church in Nampa and Wright Congregational Church in Boise.
Glen is survived by his children, Carol Tally (Les) of Nampa, and David Dittman, of Caldwell; grandchildren Erin Johnson (Nampa), Elizabeth Allen (Jon) of Albuquerque, NM, and Michael David Dittman of San Jose, CA, his sister Doris Bartow (Haverhill, MA); sister-in-law Virginia Dittman (Williamsburg, VA), and many cherished and beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his spouse, Delphine Dittman, brother Duane Dittman, sister Phyllis McClelland, and his parents.
Memorial services will be held on Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 10:00 am at the First Congregational Church, 55 S Midland Blvd, Nampa, ID. Interment will take place at 3:00 pm at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, ID.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Congregational Church, Nampa, ID or to the Fleet Reserve Association, 1012 11th Ave N, Nampa, ID 83687.

Published in Idaho Press Tribune on April 21, 2013

Drake, George USN (Ret) VP-4 1947 – 1951

Fallen ShipmateGeorge Drake of Little River, CA passed away at Ukiah Valley Medical Center on Monday, January 14, 2013. George was born in Petaluma, CA on February 21, 1924. After high school in Santa Rosa, George joined the U.S. Navy and retired after 20 years of service. He flew as an Ordnanceman on Crew 3. George became a police officer for the last 20 years of his working career. George was proud of his Navy and law enforcement careers and furthering is schooling in the Navy. He was also a mason and a volunteer firefighter. George loved trumpet music. He will be remembered for always being there to help whomever he could with outdoor and other projects. George lived in Albion, Ca. for 40 years and enjoyed his friends and neighbors there. He was never at a loss for words and would talk to anyone. George is survived by his wife of 41 years Mary Drake of Little River, Ca. daughter Debbie Parks of Weaverville, Ca. half brother John Morse, three grandchildren and six great grandchildren. No services will be held, inurnment will take place at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Ukiah. Memorial donations in George’s name may be made to ones favorite charity. Mary would like to say she “loves him and will miss him forever”. Arrangements are under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary. –
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Jan. 22 to Jan. 23, 2013