|Birth: ||Nov. 15, 1919|
|Death: ||Mar. 2, 2013|
Joseph Chalmers Secino, Colonel, US Air Force (Retired) passed away Saturday, March 2, 2013, at age 93 with his family in Hartwood, Virginia. Joe was born November 15, 1919, in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Thomas Anthony Secino and Jane Lee Coy. Growing up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, he was part of a large and resourceful extended Secino family that originally immigrated to the United States from Italy. From his earliest days a young Joe was focused on a future in flight. After graduating from Fitchburg High School in 1937, he was trained as a tool and die maker, eventually working at Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard. In early 1942, Joe joined the US Army as an aviation cadet, trained to be a single engine fighter pilot, and flew 50 combat missions in P-47 Thunderbolts while assigned to the 324th Fighter Group in France and Germany. Service in WWII led to a career in the US Air Force. Rising in rank to Colonel, Joe became a command pilot with over 5300 flight hours, 740 of which were in his favorite aircraft, the P-47 Thunderbolt. Joe was in the first jet unit to be based in Germany after WWII, flying P-80 Shooting Stars from Furstenfeldbruck Air Base. He flew cargo into Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift and later served in duty locations as diverse as Massachusetts, Labrador, New York, England, Colorado, South Carolina, France, Germany, and Vietnam. Later in his career, Joe was privileged to command three Tactical Fighter Wings, the 36th TFW (Bitburg), the 49th TFW (Spangdahlem and Holloman AFB), and the 366th TFW (Da Nang, Vietnam). While commanding the 49th TFW, Joe led the wing's redeployment of 72 F-4 Phantoms from Germany to New Mexico, a non-stop 5,000 mile flight which resulted in the unit being awarded the MacKay Trophy for the most meritorious USAF flight of 1969. While commanding the "Gunfighters" at Da Nang, Joe flew 176 combat missions over Vietnam.
Upon retirement, Joe settled permanently in Myrtle Beach, SC. During those years, he focused on immediate and extended family, his home, and hobbies. He remained very active in numerous professional and veterans associations, to include the Order of Daedalians. Joe especially enjoyed his final trips to Fort Pond, near old Fort Devens, Massachussetts.
Joe is survived by three children, Ms. Jane C. Secino of Gilsum, NH, Colonel Joseph W. Secino (Melite) of Hartwood, VA, Mr. Michael A. Secino (Lauren) of Houston, TX, and three grandchildren. Preceded in death by his brother, Robert Secino, he is survived by one brother, two sisters, Richard Secino of Leominster, MA, Evelyn Chester of Winter Park FL, and Betty Ann Rhodes of New York City. He is also survived by his Uncle Al Secino (100 years old), many wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews. He is survived by special friend Audrey Secino of Myrtle Beach, SC. He leaves behind many close friends, to include Stan Jensen, and Bob and Nancy Reagan also of Myrtle Beach, SC.
"Big Joe" lived through and participated in tremendous aviation history. He was a larger than life fighter pilot and the kindest man we have ever known. Big Joe will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, DC.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in the name of Joseph C. Secino to the Daedalian Foundation (Scholarship Program), PO Box 249, Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78148 or the Alzheimer's Association , 2217 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.
Note: Interred October 24, 2013
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 8, Site 9827
Created by: Jesus is the way to Heav...
Record added: Mar 08, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106369574