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Rockly Triantafellu (MAJGEN USAF, Ret) Rockly Triantafellu was born to Nick Sr. and May Harney Triantafellu in Daytona Beach, Fla on Oct 17, 1917. He passed away peacefully in his hometown on Aug 6, 2010. He was a WWII and Viet Nam veteran with over 35 years in the Army Air Corps, later the Air Force. After graduating from Mainland High School, where he played football, he worked as an apprentice lineman for the City Power Company and later as a diesel bus mechanic, taking time to work on his car and race it on the beach. In 1937 he enlisted in the Fla National Guard (365th Antiaircraft Artillery Battery) and went to Jacksonville to work on the loading docks, later becoming a foreman and Ford Motor Co parts salesman. In 1942, he became a Lt in the Army Air Corps and served as a B-24 aircraft lead crew bombardier with 25 missions. His fifth mission involved bombing the German-held oil fields in Polesti, Romania, where their Liberator "Hitler's Hearse" was severely damaged by artillery fire. Their pilot was killed, and the co-pilot, engineer, radio operator, and top turret gunner were so badly wounded Triantafellu had to take over many of their duties. Standing on a catwalk above an open bomb bay, Triantafellu transferred enough gasoline from the damaged tank to the reserve tank to enable the co-pilot to crash-land in Turkey. All survivors were interred, but Triantafellu escaped after two months and returned to England to complete his combat tour as squadron and later group bombardier of his original unit (389th Bombardment Group). Following WWII he supervised the curriculum development for the integrated bombing-navigation-radar school which produced the first triple-rated navigators for the new B-47 aircraft. He subsequently supervised the bombing and radar training departments of the school. In 1955, he was appointed the senior representative of Strategic Air Command at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, in Paris, France. During the Cuban crisis in 1963, he briefed the late President John F. Kennedy on reconnaissance data. During his 35 years of military service, Triantafellu served as radar-navigation bombing officer at HQ Strategic Air Command, then chief of Radar Bombing Branch at Offut AFB; deputy of intelligence for HQ Eighth Air Force at Westover AFB and for HQ Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB; HQ Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base; deputy chief of staff for intelligence, HQ Pacific Air Forces; deputy assistant chief of staff for intelligence, HQ U.S. Air Force; and lastly assistant chief of staff for intelligence, HQ U.S. Air Force. He retired form the Air Force with the rank of Major General in March 1972. Shortly after retirement, he and his family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he consulted with CINPAC on current military intelligence matters. General Triantafellu was a rated master navigator. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, French Croix de Guerre with silver star, and the Vietnamese Air Order Second Class. His civilian activities included surfing at Waikiki with the local beach boys, playing gin, tinkering at his workbench, daily swims, playing golf twice a week (walking the course until two years ago), get-togethers with friends and family, and traveling throughout every continent. He was well liked by everyone and quoted often for his wit and friendly conversation ("keep on keeping on," "filling those squares"). He is predeceased by his loving wife of 63 years, Ruth Anne, son Rockly Jr, and younger brother, S. Nick Triantafellu. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery next to his wife and son. He is survived by his two daughters, Nicolette Triantafellu (George Janek) and Christine Overstreet (Dennis); grandchildren; youngest brother, Nick Triantafellu (Peggy), and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Aug. 15, 2010