Lt. Col. Donald M Robinson (USAF) Retired
December 14, 1929 – April 19, 2019
Lt. Colonel Donald M. Robinson December 14, 1929 - April 19, 2019
Lt. Colonel Donald M. Robinson passed away peacefully at home while under the care of hospice on April 19, 2019. He was surrounded by Betty, his loving wife of 61 years and his two wonderful daughters, Mary Ann and Lisa Lee. He PROUDLY served his country for 25 years; 20 as a distinguished Pilot in the United States Air Force. He relocated the family to his and Betty’s hometown of St. Petersburg in 1970 and retired in 1972 after his last tour of duty during the conflict in Vietnam. He wrote of his many exploits and experiences in a 239 page memoir based on his 25 years of Military Service. Those who knew him would often listen as he recounted stories of the many places he’d been (Spain, Panama, New Guinea, Pago Pago, Fiji Island … the list goes on and on) the things he saw (St Elmos Fire, the Aurora Borealis, all 7 Wonders of the World, panning for emeralds in the Amazon … names only a few) and the friends he made along the way. He was military tough, loved a good prank and had a sense of adventure, humor and pride in everything he did. Born in Indiana, his parents moved to Florida where in his teens he grew up in Madeira Beach and Treasure Island enjoying fishing, girl watching and cruising the beaches. He attended St Petersburg High School and St Petersburg Junior College where on a classmate’s enticement he signed up and started his Military career. During such, he was awarded numerous USAF Military honors, merits and medals including the following:
The Bronze Star Medal – For meritorious service (1971-1972); Flight Commander, Assistance Operations Officer, Operations Officer, 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron. During this period, instituted procedures which directly contributed to the successful accomplishment of mult-mission of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing in Southeast Asia.
The Distinguished Flying Cross – For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an Aircraft Commander of an EC-121R reconnaissance aircraft over Southeast Asia on June 19, 1971. On that date, Colonel Robinson’s aircraft experienced a generator overheat failure and subsequently its gearbox disintegrated puncturing the engine oil tank. Despite the high probability of engine shutdown, Colonel Robinson through his outstanding efforts as aircraft commander, kept the aircraft engines performing and remained on orbit near hostile anti-aircraft positions for more than 4 hours providing vital reconnaissance data for friendly ground forces.
The Air Medal – Meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight (June 12, 1971 to October 22, 1971)
The Air Medal – Meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight (September 27, 1969 to June 6, 1971)
The Meritorious Service Medal – For outstanding meritorious service (1955-1970); 1st Aerial Cartographic and Geodetic Squadron. During this period, Colonel Robinson made outstanding contributions to the art of aerial photography and surveying and he alone has observed and guided its development from highly limited beginnings to the present highly complex electronic system.
The Air Force Commendation Medal – For outstanding achievement (1969); RC-135A/USQ-28 Category III Test Force. During this period Colonel Robinson’s professional skill, knowledge and leadership aided immeasurably in the successful completion of the AFR 80-14 Category III testing of the USQ-28 Mapping and Geodetic Surveying Systems.
After his military retirement, he worked for Triangle Pacific where he was able to utilize his architectural skills designing and supervising the installation of kitchen cabinets in many new construction communities on the West Coast of Florida. He continued with his love of flying with the purchase of a 4 passenger Cessna, but preferred a larger aircraft not as susceptible to cross winds such as the T-6, T-28, B-25, RC-45H, C-45, RC-45, RB-50, RB-50F and C-130 that he had flown in the USAF. His passion was always flying but his true loves were his family and his adventures in life. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.beachmemorialchapel.com for the Robinson family.
- Visitation Friday, April 26, 2019
- Celebration of Life Friday, April 26, 2019
- Graveside with Military Honors Friday, April 26, 2019
Lt. Col. Donald M Robinson (USAF) Retired
May 4, 2019
Don and I were in the same high school class at SPHS but I didn't really get to know him until we met up at a class reunion. He was here in Gainesville in the hospital a couple of times and I was able to visit him them. An amazing person who talked so much about his wonderful wife!!
I know the family is going through a difficult time but hopefully a lifetime of happy memories will help...............Love Vivian Dick class of 48
Gigi Richter Arcemont
April 23, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. I have such great memories of the family that I will cherish forever. Wish I could go to one more of those parties you used to have when I was young and us girls would run the streets . He will always be in my thoughts and memories.
April 22, 2019
Lisa, Mary and Mrs. Robinson
I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Robinson's passing. Know that I am thinking of you. I pray you find peace and joy in your precious memories.
April 22, 2019
I'm so very sorry for the loss of one of our true American Hero's. Mary and family, I pray for your comfort and peace knowing he is in God's hands now. We are only here for a short time on earth, but forever in God's company. Love you Mary.