I have slipped the surly bonds of earth as a naval aviator in single seat, carrier-based jet aircraft, experienced pitching decks, night carrier landings, led men into combat, taught fledgling pilots the art of flying. I have flown a variety of naval aircraft and have dodged SAMS and AAA. I’ve had several good friends (including my roommate) go down in flames never to return. I know too many names on “the wall”.
Dale was born on 23 January 1933 in Salt Lake City to David Eugene and Vivian Harrison Osborne. He was the youngest of four sons. Upon graduation from East High in 1951, he enlisted in the Utah Air National Guard’s 191st Fighter/Bomber Squadron at Clovis AFB in New Mexico. After he was discharged, he attended the University of Utah and graduated in 1956 with a B.S. in Banking and Finance. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Dale joined the Navy and received his wings in 1958 at Corpus Christi, Texas. On 23 September 1968, while deployed to SE Asia embarked in the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19), he was shot down by AAA near Vinh, North Vietnam. He was severely wounded and spent the next 4 ½ years in POW Camps in and around Hanoi, including the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He was released on 12 February 1973. Dale received many awards and medals including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Combat V, Bronze Star with Combat V, five air medals, The Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, two Purple Hearts, The Air Combat Ribbons, The Navy Unit Commendation, The Meritorious Unit Commendation, POW Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross and numerous other medals and ribbons. He was a member of MOPH, DAV, VFW, AmVets, NAMPOWS, Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association and The Caterpillar Club.
The long separation while in prison resulted in a divorce from his first wife but he was introduced to Nancy Schilder North by a friend and they were married on 24 October 1977. Dale is preceded in death by Nancy, his parents, three older brothers, Leonard, Paul and David, and his son, David. He is survived by daughter Cheri Zajic (Keith), grandson Tyler, granddaughter Brittany, and several nieces and nephews. As per Dale’s request there will be no formal funeral services. Interment in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Life Story Info
My sympathy to Dale’s family. I met Nancy when she volunteered in the recovery room.She insisted I meet Dale when she learned I am a Vietnam veteran. I have fond memories of discussing books and life with Dale and Nancy . I share my gratitude for his life and the courage he had to endure his trials.