In Memoriam

Donald Francis Motz
January 13, 2021

Lt. Col. Donald F. Motz passed away Jan. 13, 2021, after a heart attack several days earlier.
Born in Flushing, N.Y., the son of Herbert and Catherine Motz, Don was an all-American fencer, combat pilot, command and control expert, a devout Roman Catholic, friend to all and generous with his time. Most important to him and his wife of 52 years, Beverly, Don was a wonderful father and grandfather to his three sons and three granddaughters.

At the Academy, Don was eternally optimistic and sported a brilliant smile, even as a doolie, sometimes to his detriment. Graduating June 5, 1968, with a major in engineering, Don got his wings at Randolph AFB and then spent a year at Phu Cat, RVN, where he flew 130 combat missions in the EC-47 electronic warfare aircraft and was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross. Then he was off to Pease AFB piloting KC-135 tankers, including a 90-day TDY to Utapao AB, Thailand.

In 1973, Don returned to the Academy as an assistant fencing coach, PE instructor and T-41 instructor pilot, followed by more KC-135 time at Grissom AFB as well as in the EC-135 command post aircraft. During the Iranian hostage situation, he led a contingent of tanker aircraft on an extended deployment to Diego Garcia.

In 1981, his career took a new path, attending the Naval Postgraduate School and earning a master's in systems technology and computer applications. After a tour at the Defense Communications Agency, he returned to the KC 135 at K.I. Sawyer AFB where his wing won the Fairchild Trophy as SAC's outstanding wing.

His final PCS was to Headquarters PACAF in Hawaii as chief of the command and control operations division, where he played a key role in modernizing the crisis action system. He later served as acting director of command and control during the coup attempt in the Philippines. Don retired in 1991 after 23 years of service with more than 4,000 flying hours.

The family wouldn't let Don leave Hawaii at that point in their lives and he continued to work as a civilian in government command and control and IT positions as well as missile defense until retiring in 2012.

While Don was a fine Air Force officer, he was an even finer husband and family man. He married his high school sweetheart, Beverly, during pilot training and she quickly became an important partner in all he did. They raised three fine sons, Steven, Tyler, and Cameron, and Don got them out hiking, scuba diving , surfing and skiing. A devout Catholic, he served as a Eucharistic minister and lector at his church; his belief in God never wavering. Don was a true patriot who loved his country and was so proud to be part of the USAFA Class of 1968.

Don and Bev have enjoyed travel to many foreign destinations, including all of Europe, Russia and Asia.

Don is survived by his wife, Beverly; twin bother Doug and brother Dwight who served in the Marine Corps; son Steven and Amber Motz and granddaughter Lily; son Tyler; and son Cameron and Jacque and granddaughters Madison and Reese.

Of course, this review of Don's important achievements would be incomplete without acknowledging his world class skills as a Mai Tai wizard. He loved Hawaii and all its beauty and made this drink with Aloha for family and friends, which included everyone he ever met. If you want the recipe to create your own awesome Mai Tai's using "Trader" Don's special Mai Tai recipe, please contact Bev at                                                                                                  (Don's loving family)

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