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Col. George Anthony Paccerelli

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Col. George Anthony Paccerelli

Place of birth: San Diego, California

Religious affiliation: Catholic

Colonel George Anthony Paccerelli, Army Special Forces, Army Ranger, Professor, beloved father, grandfather, devoted son and brother was called from us unexpectedly on January 24, 2017 in Colville, Washington. We celebrate his new eternal life, but we will miss his wisdom, smile, good sense, and leadership that carried his family, soldiers, and students through the challenges of life. The nation also mourns the passing of this great hero who answered the call of duty to country for 26 years in the United States Army. Col. Paccerelli was honored by a grateful nation with his induction into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 1993, in recognition of his innovative leadership that saved countless American lives and enhanced the effectiveness of the Rangers. Col. Paccerelli was born on June 25, 1936, in San Diego, California to Louis Paccerelli, who later retired as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, and Ethel Tingley Paccerelli. He married his high school sweetheart, Barbra Helen Auiler, on December 22, 1956. They had two sons, George A. Paccerelli II and Louis J. Paccerelli, both of whom carried on the family tradition by serving in the Air Force and the Navy respectively. He joins his beloved Barbra, parents, sister Darlene, and brother Corky who passed before him. After returning from his third tour in Vietnam, he earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in History prior to his retirement from the Army after 26 highly distinguished years in service. He discovered his joy in teaching and began a second career teaching vocational training, then a broad range of History courses, while earning a Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.) in History. Somehow, he managed to actively participate in supporting veterans, including some conservative political activity, earning him the Republican Legion of Merit; the most prestigious level of membership in the Republican party. Col. Paccerelli began his army career as an enlisted man in 1952, serving in artillery, infantry, airborne, and Special Forces (Green Berets). His first combat tour was in 1961 in Laos as a Special Forces adviser. He went on to Infantry Officer Candidate school in 1963, graduating on the Commandant’s List, then completed Army Ranger School. He returned to Vietnam in 1966, where after recovering from wounds incurred four months into this tour, he served with MACV Special Operations Group (SOG) for the remaining eight months of his tour. The general public became aware of SOG missions in the movie “Apocalypse Now.” In 1968, he returned to Vietnam for this third and final tour. In this tour, he was instrumental in returning the Rangers to the extraordinary and legendary soldiers they have been known for since the Revolutionary War. He commanded Company H (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne), better known for their missions as Long Range Reconnaissance (LRRP). He retrained, reorganized, transforming the Rangers into a force that dominated the III Corps Tactical Zone, carrying the battle to the North Vietnamese Army. During this time, Kregg P. J. Jorgenson served under Colonel Paccerelli. Mr. Jorgenson later wrote books about his experiences as a LRRP, including one where he pushed the story of then Captain Paccerelli to the forefront of the story; “LRRP Company Command.” Col. Paccerelli is also mentioned in numerous books about the Vietnam experience. Col. Paccerelli was awarded so many decorations that he filled a footlocker with them. His son George would ask him why he kept them away in a footlocker, he simply replied, “I was just doing my job.” His decorations, most for valor, included: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (with Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Palm), three Purple Hearts, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksman, Combat Infantry Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Ranger Tab. To name just a few. Col. Paccerelli lived a rich and full life of honor and tradition. He was a faithful Catholic going back to his days as an Altar Boy. He was a Leader who truly led by example. The world is a better place for his role in it. The thousands of people whose lives were touched by him will always honor the memory of Col. Paccerelli. He left us with these words: “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien!” Funeral Service was held at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, WA on February 3, 2017.

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