Donald Dean McVey

Mar 2, 1929 - Jul 29, 2015


Born March 2, 1929 in Lebanon, Indiana, passed away on July 29, 2015. He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Lola V. McVey, who passed away in 2002. He qualified for the Air Force Aviation Cadet program at the age of twenty. He received his commission as a 2/Lt. and Navigator rating in December 1950 at Ellington AFB, Texas. He served first as an Air Rescue Service navigator flying in the SB-17 in the Portuguese-owned Azores Islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. He directed his aircraft to intercept and escort disabled aircraft to Lajes Field and also performed search missions. He was then assigned duty as an aerial tanker navigator at Castle Air Force Base, CA. He was the first navigator to qualify in the new KC-97’s at Castle in 1953. The KC-97 was an aerial tanker used to refuel the B-47 jet bomber. He was selected to be a member of the Wing Standardization Crew and as an instructor flew many missions out of Castle over the Pacific Ocean to upgrade unit navigators in overwater navigation. In late 1954, after applying for upgrade training, he proceeded to Mather AFB, CA. He qualified as a navigator-bombardier and was then selected to be a flight and academic instructor flying in the T-29 Flying Classroom. He continued to upgrade in the newest bombing and navigation systems, and in 1959 was selected with a handful of other experienced navigator-bombardiers to develop a course of instruction on the new B-58 Supersonic Bomber bombing and navigation system. He taught a major portion of this course to the first class of navigator-bombardiers from Carswell AFB, Texas. The commander of the Combat Crew Training Squadron at Carswell in a letter to the commander of the Training Squadron at Mather specifically cited (then) Captain McVey’s exceptional instructional ability. As a result, he was reassigned to the 43rd Bomb Wing at Carswell in late 1960 as an academic instructor to teach in-flight maintenance of the B-58 Bomb-Nav System. He developed an in-flight maintenance manual for the bombing & navigation system. He was a member of the Institute of Navigation. An article he wrote for their journal in 1960 encouraged navigators to put their talents to use in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Field. In 1962, he applied for missile training and after schooling at Sheppard AFB, Texas and Chanute AFB, Illinois; he was assigned with a small cadre of personnel to Minot, AFB, North Dakota to begin bringing a Strategic Air Command Minuteman Missile Wing to fully operational status. He served as a Missile Safety Officer and later as Assistant Chief of Maintenance Training. In 1964, the Missile Wing Commander selected (then) Major McVey, and again, with a small cadre of personnel, all proceeded to Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota to bring another Minuteman Missile Wing to fully operational status. He served as Chief of Maintenance Training. He remained at Grand Forks until his retirement in 1970. Lt. Col. McVey also served as base Director of Administrative Services and later as Commander of the Services Squadron, rounding out his air force experience. During his career, Lt. Col. McVey logged over 3500 hours of flying time. He was rated as a Senior Navigator and Senior Missileman and received two Air Force Commendation Medals. He attended California State University, Sacramento where he graduated with honors and was member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Lt. Col. McVey is survived by his four children: David C. McVey and his wife Patricia, Steven G. McVey and his wife Susan, Lori A. Biddle and her husband Mark, and Lisa D. Gothrow and her husband Dave. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Leanna M. Biddle, Keegan J. McVey, Caitlin L. McVey, and David Caleb Gothrow, as well as by his brother, George McVey, and his family. At his request, no services will be held. Private inurnment will be at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento. Donations in honor of Lt. Col. McVey may be made to the Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center, 3480 Routier Road, Sacramento, CA 95827.

Funeral Home:
East Lawn Mortuary
5757 Greenback Lane
Sacramento, CA
US 95841

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