Sperling, David John, CAPT

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1980-1983, 131X, Cairo, Egypt, US Defense Attache Office (USDAO)
Service Years
1952 - 1983
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War
Order of the Golden Dragon
Neptune Subpoena

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

54 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Sperling, David John (Silverstar)(ret), CAPT.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Pensacola, Florida

Date of Passing
Mar 17, 2008
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

US European Command US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club

 Military Association Memberships
United States Naval Academy Alumni AssociationTailhook AssociationMilitary Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesBlue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
Veterans of the Vietnam War
  1952, United States Naval Academy Alumni Association - Assoc. Page
  1954, Tailhook Association
  1961, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1966, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association [Verified]
  1967, Veterans of the Vietnam War [Verified]

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Sperling, David John

by Harry, Mary, David & Bill Sperling


Born at St. Ann’s Hospital; went from K-12 at Juneau schools graduating in 1947. Accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and commissioned Ensign in 1952. One year in Destroyers. Flight training Florida and received my wings in 1954. Married Judy Perry in 1957. Had three children, Mike, Michelle, and Douglas. Flight instructor Pensacola 1957-60, career tail hook pilot; two combat tours Viet Nam, stationed with family in Europe/Mediterranean 1970-77; promoted to Captain in 1973; Naval Attache Egypt, 1980-83 (in the viewing stands with Judy when Saddat was killed). Retired in 1983 after 31 year commissioned service. Currently reside in Pensacola, Florida.

About Juneau: delivered Daily Alaska Empire papers while in grade school. Boy Scouts with civil defense at night following bombing of Dutch Harbor. Drove truck for Jack McDaniel’s White service. Worked in summer at Pelican Cold Storage with several high school classmates (Roy Gray, Denny Merritt and Bob Larsen). Forest Service summer trail crew Kenai Peninsula with Jack O’Connor and Bob Larsen. During winter months, helped grandparents with janitorial chores at the high school and Behrends Bank. Broke leg sliding down 9th Street hill (body cast 6-8 weeks), usurped sister’s room and became spoiled brat. Early summers a Halm country farm out-the-road complete with “2-holer.” Skiing on Douglas Island with what amounted to plain skis with a strap to insert foot held in place by rubber bands cut from inner tubes. Some deer hunting on the island without much luck, but hell on wheels shooting ducks on the flats outside of town. I often accompanied my Dad on his frequent inspection trips in SE Alaska. Always by air on chartered seaplanes from Shell Simmons (source of my love for flying I guess). High school? Nothing big, worked on school paper, on the basketball team, theater projectionist and ticket taker. First and only love was Shasta Hatten who moved to Port Angeles, Washington. My time in Juneau ended after my Dad’s death, except for the memorable 50th class reunion.


Other Comments:

Name of Award
Silver Star
Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Commander David John Sperling (NSN: 0-555189), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as the Pilot of a jet aircraft while attached to Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE (VA-153), embarked in U.S.S. CORAL SEA (CVA-43). On 25 October 1967, Commander Sperling flew as a major group leader in a coordinated Air Wing assault on the Phuc Yen Air Base near Hanoi, North Vietnam. Being the prime operating base for MiG fighter aircraft, Phuc Yen was defended by the most concentrated and formidable array of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and automatic weapons to be found in all of North Vietnam. Courageously leading his group of attack aircraft over 120 miles of hostile territory into this bastion of defensive armor, Commander Sperling exhibited outstanding airmanship and unwavering determination while maneuvering for the highly vulnerable attack position. In spite of the unprecedented barrage of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire, he calmly established the essential bombing pattern and delivered his ordnance with exceptional accuracy on the revetted enemy airplanes to destroy or damage several parked MiG aircraft. His resolute actions and professional skill set the tone for the remainder of his force and succeeded in turning a potentially disastrous situation into a highly successful assault on the enemy. Commander Sperling's gallant and inspirational leadership upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: October 25, 1967
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Attach Squadron 153
Division: U.S.S. Coral Sea (CVA-43)

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 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLAdvanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.Commander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)VA-153 Blue Tail Flies
USS Coral Sea (CV-43)COMSEVENTHFLTCommander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
Commander in Chief US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR)/Commander US Naval Forces Europe (COMUSNAVECOMSIXTHFLTUS Defense Attache Office  (USDAO), Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
  1953-1953, 139X, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1953-1954, 139X, Advanced Flight Training, NAS Meridian, Mississippi.
  1957-1960, 131X, CNATRA Detachment Pensacola, Commander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)
  1965-1967, 131X, VA-153 Blue Tail Flies
  1965-1967, 131X, USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
  1966-1967, 131X, COMSEVENTHFLT
  1966-1967, 131X, Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC)
  1966-1967, 131X, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
  1970-1977, 131X, Commander in Chief US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR)/Commander US Naval Forces Europe (COMUSNAVE
  1970-1977, 131X, COMSIXTHFLT
  1980-1983, 131X, Cairo, Egypt, US Defense Attache Office (USDAO)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1965 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (62-65)/Operation Flaming Dart
  1965-1965 Operation Rolling Thunder
  1966-1966 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1966-1967 Operation Rolling Thunder/Operation Rolling Thunder IV
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1948-1952, United States Naval Academy
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