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In Memory

David R. Pinney

David R. Pinney
February 13, 1929 - July 22, 2022


Longtime Wasilla, Alaska, resident Col. David Raymond Pinney, U.S. Army (retired), passed away peacefully in his home, at the age of 93, on July 22, 2022, surrounded by family. He will be buried with full military honors at Fort Richardson National Cemetery, 58512 Davis Highway, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Col. Pinney was born on Feb. 13, 1929, in Greenville, Mass., to Raymond and Marion Pinney. He joined the U.S. Army one day after his 17th birthday, and advanced to the rank of Master Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division before receiving a battlefield commission as Second Lieutenant (Infantry) in April 1953 while serving in the 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in Korea. This commission was earned for extraordinary heroism in combat, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the United States Army's second highest military decoration. After two combat tours in the Korean War, during which he was twice seriously wounded, Col. Pinney had a long and storied career that included serving with the 77th and 10th Special Forces groups, instructing at the Special Warfare School, and serving as Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division and Detachment Commander with the 1st Special Forces Group. With four combat tours in Vietnam, Col. Pinney was a Plans Officer and Instructor at the United States Army Command and General Staff College - Special Operations Group, and a Battalion Commander with the 101st Airborne Division. He spent seven years at the United States European Command Joint Task Force at Patch Barracks, West Germany, before moving to Alaska in 1977 as Post Commander at Fort Greely and then Senior Army Advisor to the Alaska National Guard at Fort Richardson in 1979. Col. Pinney retired, after more than 35 years of service, on May 31, 1981, with numerous awards and decorations in addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, including Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with Oakleaf Cluster, War Cross of Greece, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Combat Infantryman's Badge, and Master Parachutist, Glider and Pathfinder Badges. Not one to be idle, he then went to work for 10 more years providing security for the trans-Alaska pipeline system before finally "really retiring" to pursue another quarter century of fishing, hunting, shooting and instructing wherever and however he could, including many years as a board member, range officer and firearms instructor with the Matanuska Valley Sportsmen's Range.

Col. Pinney took time out from his formidable military pursuits to marry Elfriede Ecker on Feb. 18, 1959, and was never happier than when fishing, hiking or taking a road trip with his "better half." Dave's family wrote: "He lived his life with honor, passion, wisdom, courage and a good dose of humor. He was a warrior to the end, a hero to his country and his family, and a man of strength and conviction who nevertheless always had a soft spot for dogs and cats."

He is survived by his four children and their spouses, Rebecca and Steve Brown of High Kelling, Norfolk, England, De Anne and Eric Stevens of Fairbanks, Alaska, Brian and Alexia Pinney of Soldotna, Alaska, and David and Gabriele Pinney of Fayetteville, N.C.; six grandchildren and their spouses, Shanti and Levi Eslinger of Palmer, Alaska, Joshua and Brandy Lind of Wasilla, Kitten Pinney of Wasilla, Anthony Crider of Soldotna, and Kathy Pinney and David Pinney of Fayetteville; and two great-grandchildren, Nevaeh and Harper Eslinger of Palmer. Col. Pinney was preceded in death by his wife, Elfriede; and sister, Mary Rice.

The family asks that donations be made to Friends of Pets, in lieu of flowers: Friends of Pets, P.O. Box 240981, Anchorage, AK 99524-0981.


Published in Anchorage Daily News on August 7, 2022