This afternoon the Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria dedicated a Wall of Honor to honor Army pilot Major David Padgett who was killed during the Vietnam War. The founder of the school, Marine Corps veteran Tom Monaghan, and the school’s benefactrix namesake, Mrs. Rhodora Donahue, were also on hand for the ceremony in the library where the Wall of Honor is installed.
During the ceremony headmaster Dan Guernsey also thanked Major Padgett’s mother, Margaret Padgett, for funding a scholarship endowment in David’s name. Father Robert Garrity was on hand to give an invocation, and the Wall of Honor was blessed by and was dedicated to St. John Bosco. The master of ceremonies was Ed Rivera, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. RJDA students sang several songs including America the Beautiful and My Country ‘Tis of Thee.
The Wall of Honor tells the story of Major Padgett’s short life. On January 6th, 1969, during the Vietnam war, the helicopter David had been piloting during an emergency re-supply mission went missing in action in the remote jungles of Vietnam with six others on board. They were declared missing in action (MIA) after an intense week-long search. It was not until more than 25 years later that the crash site was finally discovered. Finally, 33 years later, David was given a full military burial in Arlington National Cemetery in 2002. The Wall of Honor also honors Donahue Catholic graduates who serve in the military, including Peter Guerrero ’09, Thaddeus Guerrero ’10, Nathan Gay ’13, and Lane Lawe ’14.