Francis L. Pieri Jr., Lt. Col. USMC Retired,
Francis (Frank) Pieri completed his tour of duty on earth and reported to his Heavenly Father on the 15 day of March 2013. His parents, Francis L. Pieri Sr. and Margaret Dowling Pieri received their first of six sons on 4 April, 1932. He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Karen, brothers Paul, Charles, Joseph, and his wife of fifty-five years, Betty Ann Burns the mother of their three daughters.
During his senior year at St. Thomas High School, Frank enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve April 1950 and reported for active duty in July of that same year. After Combat Training at Camp Pendleton he reported to "B" Company, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in Mason, Korea, where PFC Pieri was in the Machine Gun Platoon of Baker Company Fifth Marines. As Cpl. Pieri continued to advance his military career he served his country with assignments as Drill Instructor at Paris Island, South Carolina, as Sgt. Pieri for recruiting duty in New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His next assignment was to attend the Airborne Interceptors Operators (AIO) school at Cherry Point, North Carolina. He finished first with the best grades ever recorded for the AIO School. Upon completion Staff Sgt. Pieri received his AIO Wings and reported to flying duties as a Radar Intercept Operator. During this job as a radar operator, Staff Sergeant Pieri served in VMF(N)-531 Cherry Point, North Carolina and VMF(N)-513 Atsugi, Japan. From Japan he was assigned to VMCJ-3 at El Toro, California as an Electronic Countermeasures Operator in the F3D-2Q. In February of 1959 Gunnery Sergeant Pieri was selected for the Meritorious NCO Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. After graduating first in his class, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant at Quantico, Virginia.
Following his commission, Lieutenant Pieri entered The Basic School (TBS) at Quantico, Virginia, (finishing second in his class) then reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida and NAS Kingsville, Texas for flight school. Again graduating with honors, he received his Naval Aviator Wings in July of 1961. At that time he was ordered to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at El Toro, California and was assigned to the first Marine F4 Phantom Squadron VMFA -314. He served in that Squadron in various capacities until November, 1964, when Captain Pieri reported to Beeville, TX as a flight instructor and Landing Signal Officer. In 1966 he was ordered to exchange duty with the Royal Air Force and was assigned to RAF Squadron No. 23 at Leuchars, Fife, Scotland. During his tour with the RAF he was promoted to Major and was assigned as one of the Flight Commanders within the Squadron. In August, 1968 Major Pieri was ordered to Vietnam. During his Vietnam Tour he flew over 216 missions. Upon his completion of his Vietnam Tour he was ordered to the Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) at Quantico, Virginia. Upon completion of that course, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) and served in the G3 as an Operations Officer in the Operations Branch.
In 1972 Major Pieri was selected for the College Degree Program at George Washington University. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree and accepted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. He was then ordered to the First Marine Aircraft Wing at Iwakuni, Japan where he served as the Wing NATOPS Officer and Wing LSO for his entire tour. In 1975 he was ordered to NAVAIRSYSCOM as the Assistant Program Manager Logistics for the Harrier Program. Lt. Col. Pieri served in this capacity until 1979 when he retired from the Marine Corps.
During his Military flying career Lt. Col. Pieri has logged approximately 5,000 hours as a pilot and RO in 31 various types of American, British and French tactical fixed wing aircraft.
His personal Military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, Single Strike Air Medal, 16 Strike/Flight Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V", three Purple Heart
s, two Marine Enlisted Good Conduct Medals and numerous other awards.
Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps Lt. Col. Pieri worked for Smiths Industries Aerospace in Clearwater, Florida as the Program Manager of various Harrier Programs until he retired as the Director of Military Programs. Upon retirement from Smiths he formed his own consulting company PBA, Inc. until a final retirement in 2004.
Frank was a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, He was a past Faithful Navigator of his previous council in Florida. Presently he was affiliated with Council #6557and Our Lady of the Pines Assembly #1759
Frank started the "Second Chapter" to his life when he returned to Houston and on September 25, 2010 married his high school sweetheart the former Billie Jean Ayres Proctor. While their time together was too short they spent it wisely, loving, laughing, and making new memories. After being blessed in previous marriages Frank and Billie were ever thankful God blessed them a second time by reuniting them after sixty-one years.
Surviving Frank are his wife Billie, daughters Kathleen and Kristen, brothers Mickey, and Tommy, 7 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 5:00-8:00 p.m., with a rosary at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2013 in the Chapel of Earthman Resthaven. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, March 21, 2013 at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, 26777 Glen Loch Dr., The Woodlands, Texas with rite of committal to follow at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery.