O’Donnell, John A. (Jack)

Capt. USNR (Ret.) Age 95

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John was born in Philadel­phia, PA on May 30, 1921. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from West Catholic High School, John en­tered the V-5 Avi­a­tion Cadet Pro­gram in Novem­ber 1942, af­ter which he was com­mis­sioned ENS USNR and re­ceived his Wings of Gold Septem­ber 8, 1943. He was then as­signed to Com­pos­ite Squadron 81, fly­ing the FM-2 “Wild­cat”. He flew 59 com­bat mis­sions. He was re­leased from ac­tive duty in June 1946 and flew the F6F “Hell­cat” in re­serve train­ing. He re­ceived a BA from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia un­der the GI Bill and vol­un­teered for ac­tive duty in June 1951. Pro­moted to lieu­tenant and as­signed to VF-11, the “Red Rip­pers”, he flew the McDon­nell F2H-2 “Ban­shee” jet­fighter in com­bat over North Korea in the Win­ter cam­paign 1952-53, fly­ing 66 com­bat mis­sions from the USS Kearsarge (CV-33). Dur­ing his two-year squadron tour, VF11 also de­ployed on USS Wasp (CV-18) and aboard USS Oriskany (CV-34) for a South Amer­ica tour. He flew over 1,100 hours in the Lock­heed TV-2 “Shoot­ing Star” jet as an in­struc­tor in the Ad­vanced Train­ing com­mand at NAS Kingsville, TX and NAS Mem­phis, TN where he met and mar­ried Ann Ray and was pro­moted to lieu­tenant com­man­der. Af­ter a tour of 27.5 months on USS For­re­stal (CVA-59) he was as­signed to NAS Oceana (VA) and pro­moted to com­man­der. He was even­tu­ally as­signed to NAS Glen­view (IL) where he served as per­son­nel, main­te­nance of­fi­cer and air sta­tion XO dur­ing a 2.5year tour, and at­tained the rank of cap­tain. While on the staff of the chief of Naval Ma­te­rial he com­pleted a Mas­ter of Sci­ence from Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity be­fore re­tir­ing in 1970 af­ter 28 years. He had logged 4,089 to­tal flight hours in 43 air­craft types and mod­els, with 2,200 jet hours and 253 car­rier land­ings. He re­ceived the DFC, seven awards of the AM, NCM w/Com­bat V and the PUC while serv­ing in WWII and Korea. Fol­low­ing Navy re­tire­ment, he spent 21 years in the data pro­cess­ing in­dus­try.

John is pre­ceded in death by his fa­ther John, mother Brid­get, sis­ters Mary and Kath­leen and brother Joseph.

John is sur­vived by Ann, his wife of 59 years, two chil­dren, Blythe Rat­cliffe (Mark) of Wy­omiss­ing, PA, and Caro­line Col­bert (Craig) of Ger­man­town, MD and his grand­chil­dren Ellen, Bradley, Noelle and John “Jack”. Funeral ser­vices will be pri­vate. In lieu of flow­ers your tax de­ductible con­tri­bu­tions may be given to sup­port the Tail­hook Ed­u­ca­tional Foun­da­tion @ www.tail­hook.net or the NJROTC pro­gram in Mont­gomery County Pub­lic Schools. Check do­na­tions should be made payable to “Seneca Val­ley High School NJROTC” and mailed to Seneca Val­ley High School 19401 Crys­tal Rock Dr., Ger­man­town, MD 20874.

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