MAJOR PAUL ANDREW AVOLESE
Radar Navigator - Bombardier
4133rd Bombardment Wing
Paul A. Avolese (June 12th, 1932 – July 7th, 1967) age 35, died 20 miles offshore in the South China Sea while conducting a bomb sortie in the Vietnam War.
Mr. Avolese is survived by his wife, Marilyn, four children; Natalie, Valerie, Paul and Michael. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren, David, Shannon, Kristen, Kevin, Kaytie, Ryan, Drew, Christian and Caroline.
Paul was the youngest of four children born to Sicilian immigrants, Sabastian and Natala Avolese that planted roots in Jamaica, New York, where he was born. Paul and his siblings were the first generation born in America which gave him a great sense of pride.
Shortly after graduating John Adams High School, a friend of his was killed in the Korean War and that charted Paul’s course to enlist into the US Air Force. He attended Officer Candidate School where he graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant. It was at that time that he began his intensive yearlong training at Bombardier Navigator School. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Paul served in the Air Force from January 3rd, 1952 until his death on July 7th, 1967. He gave over fifteen years to include two tours flying combat sorties over Vietnam. While lining up for a bomb mission, a radio malfunction occurred in Paul’s B-52 which required pilots from Paul’s plane and another B-52 to do a lead change maneuver that resulted in a mid-air collision between the two B-52’s. Of the thirteen crewdogs aboard both aircraft, six men perished, Paul was one of these men. He was pronounced MIA on July 7th, 1967 and after a two week search and rescue, he was pronounced KIA on July 24th, 1967.
Paul’s body was never recovered but because of the endless efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, partial remains were recovered and identified as of September 21st, 2020.
He met his soulmate, Marilyn Olinger, and they were married in Sacramento, California on October 27th, 1956. After moving around with the Air Force and having kids in multiple states, they ended up in Riverside, California, stationed a t March AFB Strategic Air Command. They decided that this was where they wanted to stay and they were going to retire here and open an Italian restaurant.
“Walk by his side and calm any fear. Be his
companion and guide his thoughts. Encircle
him with your light and when his service is
ended, lead him home again.”
Major Avolese will be buried with his soulmate’s ashes (Marilyn Joy Avolese, March 2nd 1931 – April 8th, 2015) at Springfield Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Oregon on July 24th, 2021 with surviving family member and friends in attendance.