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Lieut. Col. AWD “Dave” LaVigne passed away on May 23, 2019.
He was born on December 8, 1927 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Oscar and Beatrice LaVigne. He graduated from Assumption College in 1948. He attended Georgetown Medical School in 1949. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, he enlisted as a Naval Cadet in 1950 and graduated with Advanced Carrier Qualifications and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1952. He fought in the Korean War and participated in the mass evacuation of North Indo-China in 1954.
In 1958 LaVigne flew assault transports in a variety of assignments in Lebanon. He served in Vietnam in 1962 while flying logistic support of expeditionary units in northern Thailand.
While a Major, LaVigne served as Commanding Officer (CO) of Marine All Weather Attack VMA (AW) 533, VMA (AW) 224 and returned to Vietnam for the third time in 1967 to serve as CO of VMA (AW) 242 during its 1967-68 combat tour. He also served as OIC of its Air Combat Operations Center at DaNang, Vietnam. During this tour, LaVigne flew an additional 222 combat missions, 200 of which were in the Northern Route Packages and included nine “Super Barrels” in the most heavily defended targets in Route Packages, IV, V, and VI where he qualified as one of the early “River Rats”. He earned 18 Air Medals, two Single Mission Air Medals, the Bronze Star with combat “V”, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He was promoted to Lieut. Col. and relocated to Washington, DC where he served as Project Manager of the OV-10 (precursor to the Osprey) and the Harrier Procurement Project.
Retiring in 1971, LaVigne earned his Juris Doctor Degree from George Washington University in 1973 and became a partner in the Worcester, Massachusetts firm of Wilson & Bourgeois. He practiced civil litigation, commercial law, probate and banking law.
He retired from law to pursue his passion for sailing. Dave and his second wife, Fay sailed with their cat on “The Oscar D” for almost 10 years. They sailed from Cape Cod to Maine and as far north as Nova Scotia.
He is predeceased by his mother, father and sister, Virginia Swedberg, brother-in-law, Ralph Swedberg and niece Renee Swedberg. He is survived by his second wife of 50 years, Fay LaVigne and his two sons, Mark and David LaVigne along with three step-children, Bruce Spear, Leslie Rowe and Kurt Spear and nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Dave was the consummate Marine fighter pilot and served bravely and honorably. He was a tenacious lawyer and a faithful husband and father. He will be missed by those who knew him best. He was buried at Arlington Nation Cemetery on August 15 at 9:00 am.
McDougald Funeral Home and Crematorium served the LaVigne family.