From a contemporary press report:
Retired Colonel Domenico “Tony” Curto, a combat pilot whose military career spanned 32 years and three wars died November 13 1998 at his home in San Antonio, Texas.
Curto, 75, logged more than 340 combat missions during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Curto enlisted in the Army Air Forces shortly after graduating high school in 1941. After about a year as a private, he entered the aviation cadet program and after commissioning was a B-26 pilot in Europe.
Curto flew 76 combat missions during World War II, which amounted to a total of 306 hours in combat.
After the war, he joined the Michigan Air National Guard before returning to active duty in 1947. Three years later, he went to Korea and became the operations officer and deputy commander of the 13th Bomb Group.
Curto was reunited with the B-26 in Korea in its new role as an attack aircraft, which he flew in 69 combat missions. During his 311 hours of air combat, Curto was designated a “Loco Ace” after destroying 12 enemy trains. According to his family, while returning to base after one operation, Curto picked up a distress call from a group of Marines in trouble. Outnumbered by thousands of Chinese soldiers and on the verge of having their compound overrun, The Marines' commander called to then-Captain Curto and his plane, “Versatile Lady,” to help even the odds. Curto broke the Chinese attack by strafing and bombing the enemy soldiers until he was out of ammunition and
dangerously low on fuel.
After finally returning to base, the Marine commander ordered that Curto be presented with a Distinguished Flying Cross on the spot, family members said.
Curto's third war was in Vietnam where, from March 1967 through April 1968, he was vice wing commander of the 14th Air Commando Wing, which flew missions that extended from the Delta to the Demilitarized Zone. Curto flew a variety of aircraft during his tour there, including the A-26 and the A-1 Skyraider.
In April 1968, Curto took over the Officer Training School, then located at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He returned to Southeast Asia in 1971 when he became deputy commander of the U.S. Military Assistance command detachment in Thailand.
Curto was inspector general at the Air Force Military Training Center before retiring in 1974. After leaving the service, he spent most of his time as a stock broker and golfer, family members said.
He was awarded 40 medals, including the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Legion of Merits, 29 Air Medals, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Vietnamese Honor Medal First Class and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Curto's second wife, Mary, died last year at their home in San Antonio.
He is survived by his first wife, Barbara, of Michigan; three children, Wayne Curto of Shelby Township, Mich.; retired Master Sergeant Gary Curto of Kettering, Ohio; and Laurie Peartree of Tucson, Arizona. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren.
Curto's ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery January 8, 1998 in a special section reserved for Silver Star recipients.
CURTO, DOMENICO ANTONIO
- COL US AIR FORCE
- KOREA, VIETNAM
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/03/1923
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/13/1998
- BURIED AT: SECTION 66 SITE 2097
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard