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Dove

COLONEL SAM PIZZO

November 22, 1922 - December 6, 2015

Pizzo

Colonel

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Military Histor

Points of Interest Along the Way

WWII

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LA ANG

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301st Bomb Wing

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55th SRW

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Area 51

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HDQRS SAC

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USAFE

USAFE HDQRS

[ Recon Center/DCI-Dir Col]

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Personal History

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Sam's Book


Obituary Mary Frances Pizzo
Roadrunners Internationale is saddened by the January 9, 2013 loss of Mary Frances Pizzo, 87, one of the earliest veteran wives of CIA Project OXCART at Area 51. Beloved wife of Col. Samuel E. Pizzo, famed mission planner at Area 51 during the flight testing of the Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird, Mary was one of the early wives to learn that her husband was being transferred to a Top Secret, unaccompanied tour at Las Vegas, Nevada at the request of 1129th SAS commander, Col. Robert Holbury. Mary was able to accompany her husband to Nevada only to learn that he, like the others at the time, would be away at an undisclosed location from Monday through Friday for the duration of his tour. She was a model military wife who supported Colonel Pizzo throughout his distinguished military career and into their retirement years. Mary is the mother of Samuel E. Pizzo, Jr. and Stephen M. Pizzo married to Rosemary. She is grandmother of Emily Demouey married to Sean Demouey, Kelly Pizzo, and Johannah One, great-grandmother of Seth Demouey, sister of John LaPlante and the late Rose LeBlanc, Katherine Fogarty and Gilbert LaPlante. Mary was a native of New Orleans and a resident of Mandeville for the past 24 years.


Obituary Col. Samuel Earl Pizzo

Roadrunners Internationale is saddened by the final flight of Colonel Sam Pizzo. Sam served the 1129th SAS as head of the mission planning at Area 51 during the CIA's Project OXCART. He was a strong supporter of the Roadrunners Internationale association. Some of us Roadrunners affectionately knew Colonel Pizzo as 007. This came about during a trip from Area 51 back to CIA Headquarters at Langley when he showed up at the security gate in a rental car bearing the license plate number 007. Of course, the CIA security personnel had a lot of fun with this at the time. Sam's wife, Mary was one of the earliest veteran wives of CIA Project OXCART at Area 51. It was she who learned that her husband being transferred to a Top Secret, unaccompanied tour at Las Vegas, Nevada at the request of 1129th SAS commander, Col. Robert Holbury. Mary said,"No Way," and was able to accompany her husband to Nevada only to learn that he, like the others at the time, would be away at an undisclosed location from Monday through Friday for the duration of his tour. She, like all the wives accompanying those selected to work at Area 51, was a model military wife who supported Colonel Pizzo throughout his distinguished military career and into their retirement years. We lost Mary in January 2013. RIP, Sam.

Colonel Samuel E. Pizzo, United States Air Force, Retired, 93 of Mandeville, LA died on Sunday, December 6, 2015. Born, Wednesday, November 22, 1922 in New Orleans, LA to the late Clara L. Scott and Angelo Pizzo.

Col. Pizzo, a native New Orleanian, served during WWII, thereafter in the Air Force Reserve and the LA Air National Guard until being recalled to active duty for the Korean Conflict. He served 30 years in the military. Upon his retirement from service, he joined Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. attaining the position of Assistant Vice-President, Intermodal Operations.

Col. Pizzo's military career began in WWII when he entered the Army Air Corps in 1942, earning his Wings in 1944. He spent 15 months in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations where he completed 30 combat missions. He returned to New Orleans in 1945 at which time he joined Delta Airlines. He joined the 122nd Light Bombardment Squadron, Louisiana Air National Guard in 1947 and remained with that unit until being called to active duty in March of 1951 for the Korean Conflict. During his military career Col. Pizzo attended various training and technical schools, all relating to electronics or flying skills.

He was assigned to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Topeka, Kansas in 1954 where he remained until being assigned to a highly classified Air Force program at the Nevada Atomic Test Site. During this assignment with the 55th, he was selected to be a crew member on board Russian aircraft flying Premier Nikita Kruschev's staff between Russia and Washington. Upon the termination of the Premier's visit to the U.S., Col. Pizzo was the USAF Navigator assigned to the Premier's aircraft returning to Russia. At the Nevada Area 51 Test Site, he was a Program Manager assigned to help develop flight training procedures and other programs affiliated with the development of the CIA A-12 Aircraft, a forerunner of the SR-71 (Blackbird), which was the most sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft in the world and was the fastest military aircraft until it's retirement from service, attaining speeds in excess of Mach 3. After this assignment, Col. Pizzo was transferred to Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Omaha, NE, where he was the Directorate of Operations Project Officer for the SR-71. His duties called for planning and coordinating all operations worldwide conducted by the SR-71. Upon completion of that project, he was assigned to Lindsey Air Force Station at Wiesbaden, Germany, where he was Director of Collections for all phases of Intelligence of the United States Air Forces in Europe. During this period, he was the first USAF Officer to receive the German Air Force Electronic Warfare Wings presented in recognition of his contribution to a highly classified joint USAF and German Air Force Program.

His services decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three Oak Leaf Clusters, European Theatre of Operations Badge with Five Battle Stars, The German Air Force Electronic Office Warfare Badge plus others.

His wife, Mary La Plante Pizzo predeceased him. He is survived by his sons, Sam, Jr. and Stephen, grandchildren Emily, Kelly, Johanna and his sister, Marie Begue.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend a visitation on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at E.J. Fielding Funeral Home, 2260 W. 21st Ave., Covington, LA 70433 from 12:00 Noon until 2:00 PM.

Burial services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 (nationalww2museum.org).

E. J. Fielding Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements. Please sign the online guest book at ejfieldingfh.com.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Col. Samuel Earl Pizzo, USAF Ret. please visit our Sympathy Store.



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