O’Donnell, John A. (Jack) Capt. USNR (Ret.) Age 95
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, VF-11 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 2.5-year 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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