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Johnny Dean Restivo


Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Dean Restivo, USMC (Retired)
Johnny Dean Restivo was born July 16, 1944, in Oakwood, TX and grew up as one of the eleven children of Sam and Nadine Dodds Restivo in Bryan TX. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, Bryan TX in 1962; from the Allen Military Academy (JC), Bryan TX in 1964 with an Associate Degree; from Texas A&M University, College Station TX in 1966 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics; from the US Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River MD as an Engineering Test Pilot in 1972; and from the US Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey CA in 1978 with a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Upon graduation from the Allen Military Academy in 1964, Johnny entered the U. S. Marine Corps through the Platoon Leader Course (PLC) program for college students. Upon graduation from Texas A&M in 1966, he married the former Lena Fazzino of Bryan TX; received his commission in March 1967; completed flight training in June 1968 at the US Naval Air Basic Training Command, Pensacola FL; and then assigned to the Second Marine Air Wing (2nd MAW) with HMH-461 at MCAF New River, NC for advanced combat training in the CH-53A Sea Stallion helicopter.

In October 1968, he received orders to the 1st MAW Viet Nam (VN), assigned to HMM-265 at the Phu Bai Combat Base (CB). He transitioned to the CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter flying over 350 combat missions (troop/recon inserts/extracts, re-supply, medivacs). He also served with the 3rdMARDIV Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) as an Air Officer (Helo Desk) at Dong Ha CB and as an Air Liaison with the ARVN 9thInfantry Regiment at the Vandergrift CB (LZ Stud). In October 1969, he transferred to the 3rdMAW, with HMH-363 and HMH-361 at MCAS(H) Santa Anna CA, training new CH-53 pilots in combat operations.

Johnny was awarded 18 Combat Strike/Flight Air Medals for meritorious achievement during combat support missions; a Single Mission Air Medal (with Bronze Star for first award) cited for heroic achievement during an emergency resupply mission in support of a Republic of Korea Marine Corps unit at a remote outpost. He also received the Combat Action and Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry Ribbons; the Viet Nam Service and Campaign Medals (w4 stars); the Viet Nam Meritorious Unit and various other unit ribbons.

In May 1971, Johnny was selected for test pilot training at the US Naval Test Pilot School (USTPS), NAS Patuxent River, MD. As a test pilot, he flew engineering and experimental test flights on various fixed and rotary winged aircraft, including first flights. He was on the Navy test team evaluating the operational and electromagnetic effects to the CH-53 Sea Stallion, modified to tow mine-sweeping equipment. The system was deployed to North Vietnam to remove naval mines from Haiphong Harbor and coastal and inland waterways.

In August 1974, Johnny received orders for jet transition training in the TA-4J Skyhawk at the Naval Training Wing, NAS Kingsville, TX. Upon completion, he was assigned to the 2ndMAW, with VMAT-202 and VMA(AW)-224, MCAS Cherry Point, NC for A-6E Intruder All Weather Attack aircraft training. He then deployed to the Pacific flying A-6E operations from Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan, including from aircraft carriers.

From 1976-78, Johnny attended the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey CA, graduating with a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Upon graduation, he returned to the 1stMAW at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan where he was the Executive and Commanding Officer of H&MS-15 MAG-15, Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron.

In 1979, Johnny received orders to the Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton OH, and in 1983 to the Naval Air Systems Command, Arlington VA where he was the Deputy Program Manager for LASER Maverick (AGM-65E) and SIDEARM Anti-Radiation Precision Guided Missile (AGM-122A) development programs for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Johnny retired from active service as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1987. In 1989, he founded an engineering consultant firm, United Dynamics, Inc, providing technical and contract support services for defense systems; primarily Manned Aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) systems. He also flew with Eastern Airlines for over two years as a B-727 Flight Engineer Supervisor and Check Airman. In retirement, he continued to fly general aviation aircraft.

Johnny and Lena were married for almost 50 years and lived in Fairfax Station VA (outside of Washington DC) for more than 30 years. In February 2016, Lena passed after a long fight with cancer. They have two sons and two grandsons. In May 2018, Johnny married longtime family friend from his church, Virginia De Los Santos of San Antonio TX. Her husband of 47 years passed four months before Lena. Virginia has a son, two daughters, two grandsons and six granddaughters. Johnny and Virginia live in Fairfax VA.

Johnny retired from his consulting firm, United Dynamics in 2012 and remains highly active with his church, heritage organizations, and charitable and professional organizations within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; the US Marine Corps Combat Helicopter & Tilt Rotor Association, the A-6 Intruder Aircraft Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW Post-8469), and various other professional and veteran organizations. He also served as an Eagle Scout Advisor (both sons achieved Eagle Scout); Chair of St. Mary's Catholic Church Parish Social Ministry; and for the Virginia Knights of Columbus (KofC), he is a Past Grand Knight, Former District Deputy, Past Navigator, and former Chair of the Virginia State KofC Strategic Planning. He has traveled with St. Mary's parishioners to Guatemala, sponsoring missions, funding schools, and supporting the unmet educational needs of the Indigenous Mayan Indian children in remote and impoverished areas. He also served on the Board of Directors for Marian Homes, providing safe homes for young adults with intellectual disabilities.

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