From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Dan Dewispelaere '81

Date of birth: December 16, 1958

Date of death: October 10, 1991

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1981 Lucky Bag:

1981 Dewispelaere 1.jpg


From Aviation Safety:

A-6E Intruder BuNo. 152620/NE-507 of VA-155, US Navy, based at Whidbey Island NAS. Crashed October 10, 1991 into the Columbia River, 12 miles south east of Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington. Both crew - Lt Commander Dan David "Dewey" DeWispelaere (pilot) and Lt (JG) Grady Hackwith (bombardier/navigastor) - were killed. According to the following contemporary report (from the Washington Post of October 20, 1991):

"Lt. Cmdr. Dan David "Dewey" DeWispelaere, 32, a Navy pilot who flew more than 40 missions from the aircraft carrier Ranger in the Persian Gulf War, was killed Oct. 10 in the crash of his A-6E Intruder near Wenatchee, Wash.

His navigator-bombardier, Lt. (j.g.) Grady Hackwith, was reported missing. The plane was stationed at the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island, Wash., and was on a low-level training flight when it crashed into a cliff and fell into the Columbia River about 12 miles southeast of Wenatchee. Navy officials said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

Cmdr. DeWispelaere, a resident of Oak Harbor, Wash., was born in the District of Columbia. He grew up in a Navy family at various naval stations in this country and in Norway. He graduated from Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria and then went to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He graduated in the class of 1981 and was designated a naval aviator in 1983.

He was stationed at Whidbey Island throughout his career as a pilot, but the squadrons in which he served were deployed twice on the aircraft carrier Constellation in the Pacific Fleet and once aboard the aircraft carrier Ranger for service in the Gulf war.

Cmdr. DeWispelaere's military decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross with combat V, the Air Medal with combat V and two Navy Commendation Medals, one of which bore the combat V."


From the January/February 1992 issue of Shipmate:

LCdr. D an D . "Dewey" DeWispelaere, USN died in an aircraft accident near Wenatchee, Washington on 10 October 1991. Funeral services were held at the Fort Myer Post Chapel and interment was in Arlington National Cemetery, both on 23 October 1991 with full military honors.

LCdr. DeWispelaere was born in the District of Columbia. Growing up in a military family at various bases in this country and Norway, he graduated from Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va. He entered the Naval Academy and graduated with the Class of 1981.

Following graduation he entered flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1983. Following A-6 training with VA-128 at NAS Whidbey Island he reported to VA-196. His next tour of duty was with VA-128 as an instructor pilot and Familiarization Stage Phasehead. Next came assignment to VA-155 where he deployed to the North Arabian Gulf as part of Carrier Air Wing 2 onboard RANGER. He flew in 43 days of combat operations during Operation Desert Storm.

His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat '"V," Air Medal with Combat "V," Navy Commendation Medal with Combat '"V," and various campaign, unit, and service awards.

Survivors include his wife Marilyn, sons Tim, Dan Jr., and Nicholas, and daughter Melanie, all of Oak Harbor, Wash.; his parents, Capt. and Mrs. Earl L. DeWispelaere of Alexandria, Va.; his brother Earl, Jr of Denver, Colo.; and his sister LeeAnne D. Whitworth of Wendell, N.C.

The family requests all donations be sent to the "Dewey" Memorial Scholarship Fund care of Whidbey Island Bank, RO. Box 990, Oak Harbor, Wash. 98277. The fund is for the educational needs of his children.

Class of 1981

Dan is one of 14 members of the Class of 1981 on Virtual Memorial Hall.