Thomas J. Tredici
August 27, 1922 – April 28, 2021
Col. Thomas J. Tredici will be remembered for his military service, monumental professional contributions, and sustained dedication to public service to the citizens of the United States. As a military medical officer and scientist, he is regarded as one of the most influential Ophthalmologists in Aerospace Medicine of our time. His greatest legacy in Aerospace Medicine is the thousands of physicians, staff, and aircraft personnel he taught, trained, mentored, and befriended throughout his 70 year military career. He was the founding commissioner for The Joint Commission of the Allied Health Professionals in Ophthalmology, the USAF Representative on the National Research Council, and a committee member for NATO-AGARD (Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development).
Col. Thomas J. Tredici was born to Marino Tredici and Maria Pizzanelli on August 27th, 1922 in Monessen, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1942 at age 19 and was selected for pilot training. He piloted a B-17 Superfortress Bomber and its crew of 10 for the 8th Army Air Force (457th BG 8th AF) out of Gatton, England in support of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.
After World War II, Thomas Tredici received his college degree, Magna Cum Laude (Phi Beta Kappa) from Washington and Jefferson University in 1949. He received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1952 and then returned to active duty to serve in the Korea Conflict as a USAF Medical Officer (1952-53). He then completed his Ophthalmology Residency at the University of Pittsburgh in 1956, followed by active duty at Scott AFB, Illinois, and Clark AFB, Philippines, as Chief of Ophthalmology. After a Fellowship in Ophthalmic Pathology (1962-64) at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he was assigned to the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, Texas as a staff ophthalmologist and researcher. He additionally received training as a Flight Surgeon. In 1965 he served as an eye surgeon in the Vietnam War (1965-66).
Upon his return from the Vietnam War, he became Chief of the Aerospace Ophthalmology Branch at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas from 1966-87. In 1987, Col. Tredici retired at age 65 from the military after 2 recalls to active duty by the Secretary of the Air Force, with 39 years of active military service. At the time of his retirement, Col. Tredici had the distinction of being the last USAF pilot still on active duty to have flown during WWII.
Following his retirement, Col. Tredici continued his work as a Senior Scientist, Principal Lecturer, and Clinical Function Chief of the Aerospace Ophthalmology Branch at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine while in the Civil Service until 2011, having served the USAF for 70 years.
He continued his position as Clinical Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He continued working as a USAF Emeritus Scientist and Consultant until his passing on April 28th, 2021.
His understanding of Air Force operations provided a firm foundation for his career as an Aerospace Ophthalmologist and allowed him to apply ophthalmic science to military needs. Dr. Tredici's Curriculum Vitae listed hundreds of published research papers and 286 different presentations among his contributions to the Ophthalmology Branch USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in Vision Science and National Defense. During his tenure as Chief, he and his staff were responsible for many breakthroughs in vision science. Research with NASA led to the development of the gold visor face shield worn by American Astronauts to protect against ultraviolet/infrared light induced eye injury. The development of the first Laser Laboratory in the Department of Defense, an Electrophysiologic Laboratory, the military's first Night Vision Laboratory, and a Windscreen Evaluation Laboratory were all established under his watch. Col. Tredici was the principle lecturer in ophthalmology for training the USAF Flight Surgeons, residents in Aerospace Medicine, and the Allied Medical Officers in Ophthalmology. As a clinician and research scientist, he was instrumental in establishing an Eye Consultation Service which identified vision standards and policies, assisting in the return of hundreds of air crew back to active duty. These standards included glaucoma management, refractive surgery, contact lens use, and intraocular lenses in aviators. Col. Tredici has been honored with 17 Military Awards and Decorations, including the Theodore C. Lyster Award from the Aerospace Medical Association, the Louis H. Bauer Founders Award, the Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Honor Award, the AMSUS (Association of Military Surgeons of the United States) Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Legion of Merit.
Col. Tredici was also a loving family man. He was married on December 26th, 1949 to Margaret DeSantis of Monessen, Pennsylvania, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his three children, Dr. Tomas Tredici (Carol) , Mia Nieman (Paul) and Dr. Lucia Tredici (Jim), his grandchildren John (Jessica), Peter, Andrew, Lindsay (Jonathan), and Laura Rose (Joseph), as well as great grandchildren Sydney and Jack. He had many hobbies which he pursued, such as his love of vintage cars, fixing old homes, following Astro's baseball and meeting up with friends. He was a master storyteller and had a great sense of humor. Most of all, he was a patriot and loved America.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to one of his favorite charities:
1) Dr. Thomas J. Tredici, MD Endowment for Ophthalmology Resident Education at the University of Texas HSC at San Antonio.
for mailing a check; Steven Reese Office of Institutional Advancement MC7835 7703 Floyd Curl Drive San Antonio, Tx. 78229 210-567-2598
2) Aerospace Medical Association Thomas J. and Margaret Tredici Award; please make check out to AsMA Foundation for mailing a check; Ms. Genie Bopp, Treasurer 16002 Edgewood Dr. Houston, Tx. 77059 713-594-3163
3) The Daedalian's Scholarship Fund, Flight #2, Stinson's Flight, P.O. Box #151, JBSA, Randolph, Texas, 78148 (Attn: Col. Bill Ercoline)
You are invited to sign the Guestbook at www.sunsetfuneralhomesa.com
Mass and Interment with Honors at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery to be postponed and announced at a later date.
- He is survived by his three children, Dr. Tomas Tredici (Carol) , Mia Nieman (Paul) and Dr. Lucia Tredici (Jim), his grandchildren John (Jessica), Peter, Andrew, Lindsay (Jonathan), and Laura Rose (Joseph), as well as great grandchildren Sydney and Jack.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Thomas J. Tredici
May 7, 2021
In 1969, along with 150 brand new Captains, all straight out of internships, I reported for active duty and enrollment in the Flight Surgeon ‘s course at Brooks AFB . I was 27 years old, meeting Tom when he was a 47 year old Colonel. His Ophthalmology lectures were the class of the curriculum. Then, he took us up to his eye lanes and taught us how to refract. We were so proud that we could actually do refractions. We stood in awe when we learned, never from Tom , that he had been a 21 year old B-17 aircraft commander in the 8th Air Force during WWII, flying against the most heavily defended targets in history. What incredible courage it took to saddle up , day after day, knowing that the odds were between 25 and 30 % of surviving 25 missions. In my three assignments at USAFSAM, Tom and I became life long colleagues and close friends, as so many of us have. My two greatest moments in uniform were when I retired Tom , The ranking Colonel in the USAF ,under the B-17 wing at Lackland, and when he retired me at Hangar 9 at Brooks. It is said that if you are remembered , you never die. Rising on silver wings , our beloved Tom will never die.
James R. Hickman, JR, Colonel, USAF, MC, retired
May 5, 2021
I first met Tom during our shared activities with the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (now IJCAHPO). First and foremost, he was gentleman. He never spoke of his own significant accomplishments. He made everyone he spoke with feel like they were the only person in the room. I will miss him. RIP my friend.
May 3, 2021
It was a great pleasure to know and work with Dr Tredici.
We send our love, empathy and condolences to his family.
David Shacklett, M.D., COL. USAF [retired}
May 2, 2021
In 1971 as I was completing my residency and Retina fellowship at Emory University, I received a call from Tom who asked if I would "jump off a bridge" if I was assigned to the School of Aerospace Medicine. My negative answer caused me to begin my career at the School of Aerospace Medicine with Tom as my Chief. For six years I worked for and with this legend in Clinical and Aerospace Ophthalmology. The highlight of each day was sitting with Tom in his office as he talked about his experiences. As my Chief, Tom rapidly became my mentor, my colleague, and my friend.
My sympathy, condolences, and prayers go out to Tom's family and his innumerable friends.
May 1, 2021
It was a honor to work with Dr. Tredici in Ophthalmology at Aerospace Medicine. He was a brilliant man. I will never forget dancing with him at my wedding and the wonderful speech he gave. My condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him.
May 1, 2021
I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Tredici. I worked for him at the aerospace lab from 1988-1992, and the world has lost a true legend, warrior and physician. He was a craftsman of his trade along a lifelong journey of learning. He had endless energy, always a joke to tell, and a detailed memory like no other. I’ll never forget the old grey/silver BMW he had,
which outside of his family, was his pride and joy and he used to brag how old it was. All my love and condolences to his friends and surviving family members. Aloha ‘oe and a hui hou!
Steve & Shirley Boucher
May 1, 2021
Tom was an inspiration for anyone involved in flying and flight medicine. His knowledge and experience were invaluable in the advancement of aviation medicine. An icon who will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace
May 1, 2021
I had the fortune of working with Dr. Tredici at the Aeromedical Consult Service from 2004 to 2011. He had achieved so much before my time, and it was amazing to walk through the areas storing his many publications and his work with NASA.
I remember his sage advice about a large project. He said it would not succeed, and I did not see why it would not at the time. However, he could often see ahead of time what others could not, due to all his experience. Of course, he was correct.
When we all had to move out of building 100 and he was going through his things, he found the ditching instructions from the B17, which included a step to release a homing pigeon. It certainly took real guts to be a pilot in his time.
I thank Dr. Tredici for all his teaching and many contributions. I will truly miss him.
April 30, 2021
So sad to hear this icon has made his final flight, but memories and stories of Tom Tredici will live on and on. As a B-17 pilot he zealously served our nation as a member of the greatest generation. I fondly recall him bringing me into his office and sharing memorabilia scattered about in seeming disarray. He knew exactly where everything was located in an office that was like a museum of his career performing vital aerospace ophthalmological research. Despite being tremendously busy he always had time to teach and to share as a colleague and a friend. He was certainly one of the most memorable colleagues it has been my pleasure to know.
April 30, 2021
Late May 2004, I was USAFSAM commander. Friday afternoon I was walking around and Tom was coming down the hall, muttering to himself. I asked him what was up? He said, you know, all my friends are on a special train the state put together to take us up for the dedication of the WWII memorial. They are partying it up and here I am, stuck here teaching. I said, I bet there’s not a person on the train who wouldn’t give their right arm to trade places with you. He thought a bit and said, you’re probably right! What a great legacy- producing excellence until almost his very last breath. I loved him. Col Courtney Scott.
Dan Van Syoc
April 30, 2021
Tom Tredici was one of my heroes. I had the pleasure to work with him several times during my career. He was an amazing and very accomplished man. His stories were the very best and I will greatly miss him. For many of us, our lives were much richer from due to knowing Tom. R.I.P. my friend!