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Thomas Francis Daigneault
September 25, 1941 ~ September 29, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
High flight to Senior Master Sergeant Thomas F. Daigneault, born on September 25, 1941 in Providence, Rhode Island, to Dorothy and Trafton Daigneault. He married his high school sweetheart, Madeline Shaw Daigneault. They had two sons, Thomas, Jr. (Mary Alice), and Paul (Jessica), grandchildren, Kelly (Bradley) Robertson, and Bryan (Dalaina) Burch, great grandsons, Brody, Lincoln, and Dylan.
While serving in the United States Air Force, Tom was awarded many medals and was called “hero” after he saved the crew of the C-130 gunship with his marksmanship. He spent most of the 28 years in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer aboard the C-130 aircraft in a Special Operations Squadron. He was awarded many medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Unit Citation, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, AF Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Marksmanship, AF Training Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device.
Tom taught many Hurlburt Air Force Base kids how to water ski and took them camping and fishing when he had a few weeks off from the many missions of 28 years of service. While driving across country to his next assignment, he would stop along the way at fishing spots to share unforgettable memories with his sons. He would go food shopping and return home with a “just because” bouquet of flowers for his wife. He was a quiet and kind man, generous to a fault. He loved animals, especially dogs, who were treated to a ride around the block in the passenger seat of his truck before the A-10 bag was unpacked. He loved cooking for a crowd and hosted huge Thanksgiving dinners.
His career involved traveling the world where he witnessed many historical events. Some of which at Ellington AF Base on July 25, 1969 where he saw Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins enter the module after their flight to the moon. He was a flight engineer and a survivor in the attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran where five friends were lost in the explosion. He brought food and water to the survivors in the horrific Harrisburg, PA flood in 1972. He spent three tours in Vietnam and was in the last Bob Hope tour on Christmas away from his own family. Tom was proud to serve in the United States Air Force. It was a family he loved.
The Daigneault family is grateful to the dedicated nurses, especially Caitlin, of Hospice and a special thank you to Wanda and Lynnette, his caregivers who kept his spirits up. God bless you all.
The Funeral Mass will be Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 11:00 AM at St. Peter Catholic Church in Mary Esther, FL. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Wednesday, October 4, from 4 until 6 PM. Inurnment will be at a later date at Barrancas National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Fisher House or your local animal shelter.
Wednesday October 4, 2023 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Emerald Coast Funeral Home 161 Racetrack Road North West Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Thursday October 5, 2023 11:00 AM St. Peter Catholic Church 100 Francis Street Mary Esther, FL 32569