Colonel Alan Ray Vette USAF (RETIRED)
Cocoa Beach, FL
Colonel Alan Vette, 93, of Cocoa Beach, FL, passed away on September 2, 2013. Col. Vette was born November 11, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois to Ira C. Vette and Alma Ishmael Vette Jenness. He later moved to the Gulf coast of Mississippi where he resided until he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps on January 13, 1942 at Camp Shelby, MS. Upon completion of basic training, he was selected for pilot training as an aviation cadet. He then flew as an enlisted pilot until 1945 when he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Colonel Vette held staff and command positions in Military Airlift Command, Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service and Air Training Command. He retired from Patrick Air Force Base in 1975 where he served as the Director of Manned Space Flight Support Office.
He served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force for 33 years. He was a command pilot with over 8,000 flying hours and was a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College. He served with distinction in WW II, Korea and Vietnam. Among his numerous awards and decorations are the Silver Star, Joint Service Commendation, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Exceptional Service Medal. During his tour of duty in Vietnam, he was credited with 101 combat rescue missions as Commander of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron.
After retiring, Colonel Vette and his wife resided in Cocoa Beach. He was an avid golfer and sailor. He was often seen navigating the canals of the Thousand Islands in the Blue Bonnet I, II and III. His zest for life was enjoyed by all and he had a lasting effect on those who knew him. He was truly a member of the Greatest Generation and will be missed by family, friends and colleagues.
In addition to his parents, Colonel Vette was preceded in death by Essie Lee Vette, his wife of 47 years, and his beloved great aunt, Julia Dyer. He is survived by his daughter, Alana Vette Haldin and her husband John of Charlotte, NC; his brother, James I. Vette of Mount Airy, MD; and many nieces and nephews. The family wishes to also recognize the many years of service provided by his caretaker, Kathy Mason.
Burial with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Air Force Memorial (www.afa.org), The Marines' Memorial Association (www. MarineClub.com), the National WWII Museum (www.ddaymuseum.org), or the donor's
. You may sign Colonel Vette's guestbook at www.beckman-williamson.com.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6, 2013