Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Donald F. Campbell
Lt. Col. Donald Fisher Campbell joined his beloved wife Sylvia (Knight) Campbell in the presence of God on May 24, 2018. He graduated from RFA in 1955. He was an offensive lineman and NYS Champion in the 180-yard low hurdles.
Don received his BA in history from Colgate University in 1959 and was commissioned in the US Air Force upon graduation. He was a nuclear missile controller on alert in West Germany during the 1960 Berlin Wall Crisis and an air traffic controller at Makah Air Force Station (Washington). Subsequently, he volunteered for service in Vietnam as a B-52 navigator with the 306th Bomb Wing at McCoy AFB (Florida). He flew 175 combat missions during four tours at Kadena AFB (Okinawa), U Tapao Royal Navy Airfield (Thailand), and Anderson AFB (Guam), earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and eight Air Medals.
After Vietnam, Don was assigned to University of Alabama, where he completed his MA in Latin American Studies. He served as an agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Kirtland AFB (New Mexico) and chief of counterintelligence collections for US Southern Command at Quarry Heights (Panama). He returned to Rome in 1976, assigned to Griffiss AFB. He was chief of operations plans for the 416th Bomb Wing, coordinating nuclear defense mission planning. He then served in the Site Activation Task Force, devising the base-level plan for the first ever implementation of the Air Launched Cruise Missile and B-52 Offensive Avionics System.
He became chief of the Base Operations and Training Division in 1982, leading airfield operations, a role which he continued for over 30 years in military, civil service, and as a director for Rome Research Corporation. In 1985, he volunteered to command the aviation element of Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras during at the height of military conflict in Central America. He was wounded in a helicopter crash and recovered to resume his duties at Griffiss. He earned two additional master's degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and joined the faculty to teach several generations of aviation students.
Lt. Col. Campbell was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Delta United Methodist Church, and Rome Elks Lodge #96. He was especially committed to the Elks, where he spearheaded efforts for building preservation for years. In addition to military decorations, he received a number of other recognitions, including the first PAR Technology Corporation Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
Don kept friends for decades, some for three-quarters of a century. He was mentored and inspired by the best of the Greatest Generation and brought those values to service in Vietnam and the Cold War. His love and devotion as a husband and father were extraordinary. He is survived by his son, Dr. Michael Campbell (Barbados), as well as cousins Margaret, Mary, Kenneth, Brian, and Robert Munney.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 10:00A.M. at Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home 7751 Merrick Road, Rome. Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Tuesday from 4-7 P.M. at the funeral home. Interment with Military Honors will take place in Evergreen Cemetery, Stokes.
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