ANTHONY J.R. BILOTTI, LTJG, USN
Anthony J.R. Bilotti '77
Date of birth: March 19, 1955
Date of death: December 6, 1979
Tony was lost on December 6, 1979 in a A-6E Intruder that crashed in the Mediterranean during practice bombing run at the Avgo Ni Si training range in Crete. He was a bombardier/navigator operating from USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with Attack Squadron (VA) 35.
From the March 1980 issue of Shipmate:
Lt.(jg) Anthony Joseph Bilotti USN was killed in the crash of his A-6 Intruder aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea off the island of Avgo Nisi, north of Crete on 6 December 1979. The pilot of the plane, Lt.(jg) Mark Gontkovic USN, Class o f 1976, also w a s killed in the crash. Participating in an operational training flight, the plane was flying off the carrier NIMITZ. Memorial services for the two officers were held on board NIMITZ on 7 December 1979 at sea.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Lt.(jg) Bilotti at the Naval Air Station Chapel in Alameda, California, on 10 December 1979. Presentation of our grateful country's flag was made by Ens. Virgil V. Moore IV (SC) USN, Class of 1978 and a former member of tiie Eighth Company at the Academy with Lt.(jg) Bilotti.
Lt.(jg) Bilotti had recentiy written to his family, telling of his recognition of the danger in which he and his fellow airmen lived and indicating his dedication to the service. He stated, "In order for the air crew to survive, they must have a supreme degree of confidence in both themselves and their machines. They must push themselves in order to really know their capabilities....In this era of complacency, there are still men willing to face these odds, men who are ready to push themselves far into areas that they are unfamiliar with in order to better prepare themselves for that one time that all of their training will come into play."
While at the Academy he had been an accomplished sailor. Designated a naval flight officer on 26 August 1978, he completed the replacement air group syllabus at VS-42 and was assigned to Attack Squadron 35 on 11 April 1979, based at the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred A. Bilotti, 537 E. 22nd St., Oakland CA 94606; four brothers and his maternal grandparents.
Mark Gontkovic '76 was also lost in this crash.