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Frank Pinegar
Inducted: 2016 - Graduated: 1962

Frank Pinegar

Class of 1962            

Frank was a member of the first class to graduate from Nanuet High School.  He was also a two sport athlete who excelled in Football and Baseball.  In his senior year he was chosen Co- Captain of the Varsity Football.  Frank was a 160 lb. Running Back and Linebacker for Nanuet’s first Football coach Mike Achille, and was selected to the All-County squad for the ’61 season.  In the spring he was selected Captain of the Varsity Baseball Team where he was a  “solid” hitting catcher. In addition to his athletic commitments Frank was totally involved in all aspects of student life at Nanuet, he was a member of the National Honor Society and also found time to be actively involved in student government throughout his high school career.

Coach Achille, a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee himself, when asked to describe Frank Pinegar responded; “Frank was a tough, hard-nosed, intensely competitive athlete who was intelligent, very respectful and extremely dedicated to his beliefs.”  

Following high school Frank spent one year at New Mexico Military Institute before entering the United States Naval Academy.  Taking up boxing at the academy Frank won the Brigade “Middleweight” Championship during his second-class year.  Two days after his graduation he married his wife Linda, in the Academy Chapel.  Frank was initially assigned to the USNA as plebe boxing coach before heading off to flight school in Pensacola, Florida.  

After receiving his wings he served one year flying combat helicopters in South Vietnam, providing support missions for Naval Special Warfare Operations and Mobile Riverine Forces.  He remained in combat, flying specialized Helicopters to rescue downed aviators off North Vietnam for two additional years.

By the end of his tours Frank had flown 493 combat missions in South Vietnam as a fire team leader, and 50 combat missions in a logistics role in the Tonkin Gulf.  For his war service Frank was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 18 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, the Staff Service Medal First Class, for flying into Cambodia to recover squadron mates KIA, and three Vietnamese Air Gallantry Medals with Bronze Wings.

After his war service, he spent three years flying search-and-rescue missions off the coasts of Japan, Vietnam, and California. 

Frank was a highly decorated Vietnam combat aviator, a graduate of the Navy’s Test Pilot School and the Naval War College, where he was selected for command of a squadron prior to graduation.  His next assignment was to the Navy’s Bureau of Naval Placement as the Assistant Captain’s Placement Officer, where he received orders to the Executive Officer.

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Tragically, on April 18, 1981, Frank died at his home in Alexandria, Va. of respiratory failure complicated by allergies acquired in Vietnam.  He was promoted posthumously to Commander and buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, at the age of 36, leaving behind wife Linda and 12-year old daughter, Christian.