From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Dalton '68

Date of birth: January 20, 1946

Date of death: November 17, 1983

Age: 37

Lucky Bag

From the 1968 Lucky Bag:


From Find A Grave:

JOHN FREDERICK DALTON was born 20 January 1946 at Ontario, Malheur County, Oregon. He was the second of three children born to Ursus Benson Dalton and Netta Maxine Tooley. John was an outstanding student and athlete. He graduated from Mountain Home High School in 1964 (Idaho) and was accepted at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. On June 21, 1969, he married Paulette June Merritts at Camp Hill, Cumberland, Pennsylvania. They became the parents of three daughters. Paulette remarried (new surname "Thaut"). She passed away July 23, 1995 in Colorado.

John died when the plane he was testing went down over the Pacific Ocean.The people of the United States owe him their respect and gratitude.

The crash was on November 17, 1983.

From the May 1984 issue of Shipmate:

LCol. John Frederick Dalton USMC died on 17 November 1983 in the crash of an F/A-18 Hornet off the Southern California Coast. Memorial services were held at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Santa Ana, California, on 23 November.

Appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of Idaho, he was graduated with honors in the Class of 1968 and selected for graduate studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1969.

After Basic School at Quantico, he completed flight training and reported to Marine Attack Squadron VMA-214 at MCAS El Toro. Later duty was at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, with VMA-311, followed by a tour as an instructor in engineering at the Naval Academy.

In 1978 he attended the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico prior to returning to El Toro to join VMA-211, then in 1982 was ordered to Marine Aircraft Group 13 before attending the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk. He was subsequently assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing where he was serving as the commanding officer of Marine Air Base Squadron 11, Marine Aircraft Group 11, El Toro. He was a life member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

He is survived by his widow Paulette, 27626 Soltero, Mission Viejo CA 92691; his mother, Mrs. Maxine Dalton, Mountain Home, Idaho; three daughters; and a brother, Maj. Thomas R. Dalton USMC, USNA '71, Dumfries, Virginia.


The book 30,000 Leagues Undersea: True Tales of a Submariner and Deep Submergence Pilot by Tom Vetter has a chapter titled "Finding John Dalton," and is about the new techniques pioneered to recover John and his new F/A-18 Hornet from the sea floor off the coast of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA.


Memorial Hall Error

Memorial Hall lists John as a Major; his tombstone and all other references have LTCOL.

Class of 1968

John is one of 29 members of the Class of 1968 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.