CAROL BESSETTE

Notice
  • "I'm very sorry to hear of Carol's passing. She was always..."
    - Lauren Salazar
  • "John, Carol will be so missed. I recall meeting you and..."
    - Beth Cogswell
  • "Grief can be so very hard, but our special memories can..."
  • "Tho we came from different directions, she was military I..."
    - David McGrew
  • "Sincere condolences to John and the family. It was an honor..."
    - Peggy Lussier

BESSETTE Carol Schoeller Bessette (Age 79) Of Springfield Virginia, passed away on May 29, 2018, in her home, after a long struggle with brain cancer. She was born in northern New Jersey in 1938, to Theobald Herman (Ted) Schoeller and Evelyn Lucitt Schoeller. She entered College Misericordia, Dallas, Pennsylvania, in 1956 and graduated four years later with a BA in Social Studies. She then entered the Air Force, being commissioned in September 1960 via Officers Training School. While there she tried to enter the intelligence career field but was told that women couldn't do intelligence. She knew better, so at Langley AFB, Virginia (her next assignment) she discovered a path to intelligence if she earned a Masters' Degree in International Relations via the Air Force. Selected for this program, she did enter the intelligence career field with an assignment to Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). After three years there with her new husband John (whom she had married in 1964), she was selected for an intelligence billet at Seventh Air Force Headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, where she specialized in the Laotian portion of the SEA conflict. She arrived in May 1968, just in time for the Viet Cong's May Offensive. Having survived those rocket attacks and many others over the next 13 months, she was then sent to the Defense Intelligence School, where she and John became students. Then ensued three years as an analyst in DIA, where she supervised analysis of Chinese military aviation. She subsequently returned to USAFE Intelligence in Germany and headed the Third World Branch of its analysis division. After returning to the States in 1978, she became a dean in the expanded Defense Intelligence College. Then she was selected for a prestigious position on the Intelligence Community Staff, the pinnacle of the US intelligence community. She retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1985 and spent a few years as a defense contractor. But she shortly found a very satisfactory niche as a guide at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, DC, the home to an impressive collection of Imperial Russian art. Then came her next great profession, as a tour guide in the Washington, DC area, teaching classes and leading tour groups throughout the region. She combined her experience in the Air Force, her extensive knowledge of American history and politics, and her leadership skills to develop and lead classes and tours on a wide range of topics. For example, over ten years ago Elderhostel approached her to help set up and instruct a four-day course on "Spies, Lies, and Intelligence," which has long been one of Road Scholar's most popular Washington-based courses. She did assert, though, that her favorite students were school groups, thus helping young Americans prepare for their future role in the world. Besides her husband, John, she leaves nieces, Diane (Dina) Van Pamel, Carole Diee, and Dorothy (Dor) Montero, and nephew, Anthony (Tony) Giordano. She will be missed greatly, not only by John, but also by anyone who ever crossed her path. There will be a memorial service/Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 21, at 2 p.m. at the Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church, 10125 Lakehaven Court, Burke, Virginia 22152. Her ashes will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to in memory of Carol to Women in Military Service to America (WIMSA) (womensmemorial.org), Washington National Cathedral (give2wnc.org), or (doctorswithoutborders.org). In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to in memory of Carol to Women in Military Service to America (WIMSA) (womensmemorial.org), Washington National Cathedral (give2wnc.org), or (doctorswithoutborders.org).
Published in The Washington Post from July 14 to July 15, 2018
bullet U.S. Air Force
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