In the mid-morning hours of February 22, 1967, a task force from the 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped into history by making the first United States combat parachute assault in the war against the enemy in South Vietnam – and the first such assault since the Korean War.
Paul Dinardo made that jump and is our IMGA Golfer of the Month.
Paul grew up in Miami along with seven brothers and sisters. Working three paper routes as a young man kept him busy, along with the usual school and social activities.
Upon finishing high school (at his father’s insistence), he joined the Army and was on track to become a helicopter pilot. However, the combat activity in Vietnam was intensifying and, having a critical MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), he was sent to Vietnam to serve with the 173rd Airborne, ultimately becoming Chief of Fire Direction Control. He excelled in that position and became the only Artillery Soldier awarded Soldier of the Month for the 173rd Brigade. His 20 months “in country” in Vietnam were intense.
Timing is everything, and Paul’s timing was perfect (if you wanted to be involved in a heated battle). In November, 1967, Paul fought in the brutal battle of Dak To and Hill 875. U.S. losses included 361 killed, 15 missing, 1,441 wounded and 40 helicopters, two Hercules C-130’s and one F-4 fighter shot down.
By serving for four years as President of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association, Paul has demonstrated his gratitude for surviving the war by reaching out to connect fellow veterans with one another. He respectfully acknowledges the sacrifice of those who did not make it back alive.
His post-military career included 25 years of working for Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey testing halo rounds, ho penetrating rounds and smart bombs used during the Gulf War.
He retired from the Picatinny Arsenal in 2003 and moved to Phoenix in 2011.
Paul has been an active volunteer in MOGA and IMGA. You’ll frequently see his name on the top of leaderboard in both groups and can easily spot him in his usual colorful clothing.
The next time you see Paul, please thank him for his service. We’re honored to have him here in our community!