Stephen Dwight Warner
May 12, 1940 – April 16, 2021
On Friday, April 16th we lost our dear soldier, patriot, and traveler.
Stephen Dwight Warner was born on May 12, 1940 to Victor E. Warner, Jr. and Harriette Warner (nee Dwight) in Salt Lake City, UT. The son of an Army officer, he grew up with younger brother Jeff and younger sister Randy in Hawaii, Germany, England, California, and Northern Virginia. He graduated from McLean High School in 1958 and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he played soccer and was active in the Parachute and Russian Clubs. After graduation in 1962 he was commissioned in the Infantry and attended Airborne and Ranger Schools.
He began his Army career in the 1/505th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division as a platoon leader, before returning to Ranger School as an instructor at the mountain phase camp in Dahlonega, Georgia. He first saw combat in 1965 while serving as a Battalion Advisor to 25th Infantry Division Army of the Republic of Vietnam, followed by a 6-month tour extension to serve with the Vietnamese Airborne Division as a Battalion Senior Advisor. In 1967 he attended the Infantry Officers Advanced Course and Pathfinder School at Ft. Benning, GA, before returning to Vietnam in 1968 with the 1st Cavalry Division as a Company Commander, and serving a second 6-month extension with the 1st Cav as a Battalion Executive Officer. From 1970 to 1974 he served in Washington, D.C. as training staff officer with the Defense Language Institute and at the Pentagon. In 1974 he was assigned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as tactical advisor and staff training officer for the Saudi Arabian Army National Guard Modernization Program. He later served with III Corps headquarters at Ft. Hood, TX as the Chief of Officer Personnel Management, and as the Chief of Reserve Component Training and Command Plans Officer for Corps Support Command at Ft. Bragg, NC. Steve then transitioned to the Army Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
His decorations include the Bronze Star with 3 oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Service Medal with 7 bronze stars, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, Pathfinders Badge, Vietnamese Honor Jump wings, and 6 overseas bars.
He began his Civil Service career in 1980, returning as advisor to the Saudi Arabian Army National Guard Modernization Program in Riyadh until 1983. After a three-year assignment in Atlanta, GA, he moved to Germany where he remained for 15 years with assignments in Darmstadt and Grafenwöhr, working in joint multinational battle simulations for the 7th Army Training Command. Steve retired to Tampa, FL in 2002.
Steve was a legendary world traveler. We find what is called a “compass rose” drawn on maps, used in electronic navigation systems, carved in memorials, and referred to in literature, to designate the four cardinal points, or directions, of north, east, south, and west. Steve Warner had his own compass rose. The first point of his compass rose is “The Academy,” that is, West Point. And Steve’s North Star was the speech delivered by General Douglas MacArthur on May 12, 1962, the day of Steve’s birthday. The General’s address was titled “Duty, Honor, Country,” the motto of West Point that became the cornerstone of Steve’s life and beliefs.
The second point is the Potala Palace, in Lhasa, Tibet. Steve’s childhood dream was to visit this destination. He credited it for sparking his lifelong passion for travel, and it was a site to which he made multiple pilgrimages.
The third is Pitcairn Island, which held a special fascination for Steve. One of the remotest locations on the planet, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles distant from New Zealand, French Polynesia, and the coast of South America, Pitcairn also came to stand for other remote islands he visited: Lord Howe Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Australian Antarctica Island of Macquarie, to list only a few. Steve traveled to all 193 countries recognized by the United Nations, and a total of 324 unique global destinations designated by the Travelers Century Club, the membership organization of some 1,500 devoted travelers from around the world.
The fourth point on Steve’s compass rose is the agricultural village of Old Corinth, Greece, which came to symbolize the extraordinary gift Steve had for deep and long lasting friendships with so many people everywhere in the world. For example, the bonds he made with fellow Eagle Scouts while a teenager living in England matured into a lifetime brotherhood of inseparable friends, no matter that they lived on several different continents. Then there was Ruby Abercrombie, the hospitable local woman who always gave the young Second Lieutenant a warm welcome at her dinner table in Dahlonega, GA while he was at Ranger Camp, and Steve never forgot her kindness. And for more than 50 years, he shared his friendship, support, devotion, and unquenchable zest for life with the simple farming family in Greece living in a world so different from his own. In every place on earth Steve visited, there are friends who love him and honor him.
Steve is predeceased by his brother, Jeffrey Knight Warner (USMA Class of 1964), and survived by his sister, Randall Victoria; sister-in-law Gloria; daughters Stephanie and Linda; niece, Michelle; nephews, Michael and Tasso; and by his life partner, Sally McNally Shimell.
Steve Warner’s epitaph at Arlington National Cemetery will read, “Soldier, Patriot, Traveler.”
In lieu of flowers, please join us in celebrating Steve’s life with a donation to help support servicemembers and veterans families during their time in need through the Fisher House Foundation. https://connect.fisherhouse.org/campaign/SDWarner
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Stephen Dwight Warner
Kathleen de Russy
April 27, 2021
Steve was a good friend. We shared a history of having families who were USMA centered. We attended the same high school at Bushy Park in London for a year. I was so happy to have spoken to him fairly recently. He will be missed. Duty,Honor,Country are words that are our guide. RIP,Steve.