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Philip Palmatier, Jr. '72

Date of birth: November 4, 1950

Date of death: December 10, 1990

Age: 40

Lucky Bag

From the 1972 Lucky Bag:


Philip was killed in a mid-air collision on December 10, 1990 while piloting a TA-4J. He has a memory marker in Pennsylvania.

Other Information

From the Pensacola News Journal on December 12, 1990:

Palmatier was finishing his Navy career at the time of the accident. As a young man, Palmatier was so interested in flying, he was nicknamed “Jet” in high school, said Burton Shirey, Coudersport High School principal. “All he ever wanted to do was fly,” Shirley said.

Palmatier’s father, Philip Sr., and his uncle, Harry Palmatier, were both retired Navy captains and pilots. The two taught Palmatier to fly when he was still in high school from an airport they operate near Coudersport. A Navy pilot since 1974, Palmatier had more than 4,000 flight hours and more than 629 carrier landings, mostly in the A-6 Intruders.

He reported to Chase Field in August 1988 from the Pentagon to be executive officer of VT-25 squadron. Palmatier had requested to be reassigned from the Pentagon and to any flying duty, his family said.

Palmatier was married to his former high school sweetheart, Berle Alice Tate, and the couple had three sons, Joshua, Jason and Jacob. Palmatier was scheduled to retire in September 1991, family members said.

From the Star-Gazette on December 12, 1990:

Palmatier's father, Philip Sr., and uncle, Harry Palmatier, both of Coudersport are retired Navy captains. Harry Palmatier flew jets and helicopters, and Philip Palmatier Sr. flew helicopters. Philip Palmatier Jr.'s brother Chris is in the Navy, as are three of Harry Palmatier's sons.

Philip Palmatier Jr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering. After a combat cruise on the USS Joseph Hewes, he received his wings in Kingsville, Texas, in 1974.

He served two cruises aboard the USS Nimitz, served on the USS Ranger and USS Kitty Hawk and was assigned to the Pentagon as head of the Aircraft Carrier Advanced Development Branch for two years.

He accumulated more than 4,000 hours of flight time over 410 day and 220 night carrier landings, a Navy spokesman said.

Philip Palmatier was a commanding officer of Training Squadron 25, Chase Field, in Beeville, Texas.

"We weren't surprised when he became commander," said his cousin Dana Erway of Coudersport.

"He was the pride of Coudersport, and one of the people who went out into the world and accomplished what we only dream about," Erway said.

Another cousin, Tim Palmatier, also of Coudersport, said, "He was ace all the way, and I can't believe it would be pilot error on his part; I still can't believe it happened."

Tim Palmatier's wife, Nancy, said Philip Palmatier Jr. "buzzed" Coudersport once or twice and broke the sound barrier over his hometown.

"He had a real funny dry sense of humor, it's sad this had to happen at the end of his career,” she said.

Philip graduated with distinction from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island on June 22, 1990.

The Commander Philip F. “Jet” Palmatier Jr. Memorial Bridge on Avenue A over the Allegheny River in Coudersport Borough, PA was dedicated on August 18, 2018.

Class of 1972

Philip is one of 13 members of the Class of 1972 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.