Donald Richard Eaton
February 3, 1937 – July 25, 2020
Rear Admiral Donald R Eaton passed away on 25 July, 2020. He served in the United States Navy from 1957 until 1993 and had a very distinguished 37 year career. He has served in multiple theaters, including Vietnam, Mediterranean, South America, Mid Pacific, and North Atlantic. His last position prior to retirement was Director of Logistics and Fleet Support for Navy and Marine Corps Aviation. He was responsible for 22,500 personnel in twelve commands in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
Born on February 3, 1937, in the Bronx, New York, he graduated from A.B. Davis High School. Rear Admiral Eaton enlisted in the Navy Aviation Cadet Program, in 1957 and entered training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. He commissioned as an Ensign and reported to Heavy Attack Squadron 3 (VAH-3) as a bombardier-navigator. In 1965 he reported to Attack Squadron 42 (VA-42) and transitioned into the first A-6 Intruder Squadron bound for service in Vietnam. On July 14, 1965, Rear Admiral Eaton and his pilot, Rear Admiral Donald Boecker, had to eject from their aircraft during a bombing mission over Laos. ‘Air America’ helicopter pilot, Sam Jordan, rescued both, Rear Admiral Boecker and Rear Admiral Eaton on July 15, 1965. All three men have celebrated July 15 as “the first day of the rest of their lives.” Rear Admiral Eaton flew 66 Combat Missions while deployed with Attack Squadron 75 (VA-75 “The Sunday Punchers”)
Rear Admiral Eaton has served as a Squadron maintenance officer and Director of Intermediate Maintenance Activities. Rear Admiral Eaton served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Independence, USS Forestall, and the USS America. He reported to the U.S. Navy Post Graduate School in 1968 and completed an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Rear Admiral Eaton completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces program with a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from George Washington University.
He served as the U.S. Navy Bureau of Personnel and as the U.S. Navy Plant Representative in Lynn Massachusetts where he accepted GE F404 Engines for the F/A-18 aircraft program. Rear Admiral Eaton served as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and later commanded the Naval Air Training Center, NAS Lakehurst NJ. He was the Director of Naval Aviation Depot Maintenance activities and was the Director of Logistics and Fleet Support for Naval and Marine Corps aviation. He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, the Purple Heart, five Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals (three with Combat V) and the Combat Action Ribbon.
After retiring from the Navy in 1994, Rear Admiral Eaton joined the staff of the United States Navy Post Graduate School in Monterey, California in 1994 and served as the Logistics Chair for thirteen years. He served as a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School (1994-2007) and was very active in the Logistics and Aviation Maintenance activities across the U.S. Navy.
Rear Admiral Eaton was a semi-professional photographer, a member of the Art Guild of Paso Robles and a hearty supporter of the wineries, vineyards and artisans of the Paso Robles community. He attended and supported the Mission San Miguel Arcangel.
He is survived by his wife, Beth Hemenway, of New York. He is survived by his sister, Judie Desrochers, of Northfield, Vt. And he is survived by his children, CSM Patrick Eaton, U.S. Army, Hoschton, GA, Anthony Eaton, of Oakland, CA, step daughter Lauren Tyner of Rio Vista, CA. and his grandchildren, Zoe Eaton, of Asheboro, NC, Gabriel, Nicholas, and Maximus Eaton of Hoschton, GA and Wes and Rory Rio Vista, CA.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Donald Richard Eaton
August 3, 2020
Thank you, Admiral, for your leadership and guidance throughout my career as an Aerospace Maintenance Duty Officer. Your were the right man at the right time to bring this new professional community into it's own. Thanks also for the opportunity of my great tours in the A-6 community, which we both loved.
Jim Boone CAPT, USN (Ret)
August 1, 2020
You and Lauren, Patrick and Tony, have our condolences and prayers during your time of loss.
Don was very fortunate to have you in his life and I know you brought him much happiness and love.
Pat and Tony, I am so saddened for you with the loss of your dad. You are in my thoughts and prayers too, with happy remembrances of when you were little. That will never change.
God bless you all, Mary and Bill Cuthbertson
July 30, 2020
I met Don after Tony started teaching the Logistics Test and Evaluation (LT&E) section for LOG 304 at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). I also taught one section for Don about USAF Helicopter Supply Parts at NPS. Our friendship was genuine and precious. We enjoyed talking about Aviation Logistics and Maintenance, especially my work with the F-35. We had a fiercely competitive streak whenever we played Bocce Ball at the Wineries we toured. We had a tape measure in the Bocce Ball carrying case that I would use constantly to ensure the Ladies always got an accurate measurement when playing against the Gentlemen. I will always treasure our shared vacations in Princeville, Kauai and Palm Desert, CA, as well as our Holiday Celebrations at Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. I will keep Don in my prayers and reminisce about our good times together with our other friends and family.
July 30, 2020
Many Stingers, lots of Calimari, sleeping on a tilted house boat on the Sacramento Delta while celebrating a wedding anniversary. We never had any fun did we. I hear your voice when I’m washing my sharp knives. “Don’t let the blades touch, it put little nicks in the blades”. I sit at the computer and think I have to tell Don about the article in the Early Bird. I’ll forever miss you and your hugs. You’re a good man Don Eaton. Fair wind and following seas. Love you Brother!