Ronald Enrique Tardio

United States Navy
25 July 1943 - 26 October 1966
, Bolivia
Panel 11E Line 116


A-4 Skyhawk

Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ronald Enrique Tardio

14 Oct 2002

It is two weeks away from 26 October, so, this memorial is a little early. It's hard to believe that it has been 36 years since I heard Ron tell me: "Tony, it's bad, you have to get up". The last I saw Ron, he was zipping up his flight suit and he was gone - aft into the fire that killed him and a total of 44 officers and men aboard the USS Oriskany on 26 October 66.

I've thought of Ron and all of the others every day since then - hard to determine why I am age 61 and Ron died at age 23? I pray that they have all rested in peace. I especially hope that their families and loved ones have been comforted for all of these 36 years. I certainly believe that no one is really 'dead' as long as they are 'alive' in the hearts and minds of those who remember them. I am thankful that Ron saved my life - I am so sorry that he died. May Ron and all of those who gave their ALL in the Viet Nam War be remembered always.

From a fellow Naval Officer and shipmate aboard the USS Oriskany,
Anthony (Tony) J. Chibbaro

25 Oct 2006

As the saying goes: "No one is really dead as long as they remain alive in someone's mind and heart".

When I attended the Oriskany Reception in Pensacola, FL on 13 May 2006 I was asked why I attended the reception by a film crew member during an interview for a film that they are putting together about the Oriskany fire. I answered that "I attended the reception because I could; that I could attend it because Ron Tardio had saved my life in the fire by telling me "Tony, it is really bad, you have to get up"; and that I attended it because Ron and the 44 who were killed in the fire could not attend the reception".

40 years ago today the Oriskany was steaming in the Gulf of Tonkin, launching and recovering its planes, 3300 officers and sailors performing their duties in the Viet Nam War - NONE of us aware that it would be the last day alive for 44 officers and sailors.

For Ron Tardio - for the 44 who died - 40 years ago tomorrow (26 October 1966) would be the last morning that they would awake. By noon time they would be dead.

I like the Buddhist saying: "Everyone dies twice. Once when his or her body dies and once when the last person who remembers him or her dies". Until the day that I die - I will remember Ron Tardio and all 44 who died in the fire aboard the USS Oriskany on 26 October 1966.

Tomorrow I will go to church, light some candles, say some prayers - and thank God that He spared my life; be thankful that Ron saved my life; and pray for ALL 44 who lost their lives.

As my nine year old Granddaughter has remarked - "IF Ron had not saved your life, Pop Pop, none of us would be here - not you, Pop Pop, not my Mom, not my Uncle, not my Cousins, and I would not be here". Hopefully, even after I am 'gone' my children and grandchildren will still remember Ron Tardio and all of my fellow officers and sailors who died in the Oriskany fire 40 years ago on 26 October 1966.

May ALL be blessed with the eternal life promised by Jesus!!

You are all remembered!

From a fellow officer, Ship's Company, USS Oriskany CVA-34,
Anthony J. Chibbaro
5654-C West Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27409

16 Jun 2004

Mi Compadre, the "Bolivian Cadet" who shared a common experience at Pensacola, and later briefly aboard the "O-Boat". I have thought of you often, when I worked with young naval officers in South America, seeing your reflection mirrored in their charm, intelligence, and humor. I have touched your name on the Wall, and those of Detachment GOLF Heavy Attack Squadron FOUR with whom I went through work-up and deployment, before returning to Whidbey and Det ECHO (CVA-14).

I was on the beach in Da Nang that fateful morning with the TICO advanced party, delayed going to ORISKANY by a broken airplane. You will always have a cherished place in my memories, and in my thanks and prayers to my Savior - El Senor.

Lawrie Smith

From a friend, fellow Cadet, and shipmate,
CAPT H. C. Lawrence Smith, USN (Ret)
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 26 October 1966 USS ORISKANY endured a major shipboard fire which killed 44 officers and crewmen and injured many more. The ship steamed to Subic Bay in the Philippines for temporary repairs before continuing on to the United States for permanent repairs. Eight months later she was again conducting operations off North Vietnam.

Details and a list of the dead are on The Virtual Wall's

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 14 Oct 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009