More detail on this person: Colonel Joseph Francis Bellochi served in the Korean- War and Vietnam
War and joined the General staff and Joint Chiefs of Staff during his 26 years in the Army. He was
Bellochi awardec'l the Purple Heart and the Legion of Merit He was twice awarded the distinguished
Flying Cross - an honor previously earned by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart -.
He was asked to recount what it was like to pilot a helicopter during Operation Shiny Bayonet in Vietnam for CBS News in 2002.
But chances are, if you met Bellochi after he moved to the Orlando area, you didn't know about tile accolades he earned during his distinguished military career, rich in his devotion to the men he led.
"He was such a humble man:' his son John said. "You'd get bits and pieces, but for the most part, he never sat down and talked war stories!'
CoJ. Joseph Francis Bellochi died June 24 of a heart attack He was 84.
Not long before his death, one of the men who served aJongside Bellochi years ago wrote a letter to his former battalion commander, thanking him and beginning a short correspondence, sharing Bellochi's contact information with other men he had worked with.
''When he got the letters a couple of weeks ago, he was pretty excited about it;' said John. "The impact that he had on them, it was humbling for him to read it, to reconnect a little bit!'
Word of Bellochi's passing sparked more letters. They remembered a man of humility, a man of humanity.
Bellochi, whose father was a cop in New York, enlisted in the army while he was in his early 20s and enrolled in school to become an officer 'not long after. He would earn two master's degrees.
John, who also joined the Army as an adult, remembers accompanying his father to his various posts, walking with his father at the Pentagon or driving a tank in Germany.
It was not until John joined the military that his father began to share some of his war stories with his son.
- After Bellochi retired from a second career in real estate around 2000, he spent most of his time with his wife, Lucy, whom he had met in Italy in 1958. Bellochi was a fan of whatever she cooked but was especially fond
of her spaghetti and her potato salad,
The couple's regimen began each day with a trip to the post office, a walk around Publix and then a walk around Sam's Club - his delight in routine a remnant from his decades In the military,
He always wore his baseball cap adorned with insignia of the 10J.st and 187th battalions, as well as his Purple Heart.
Bellochi liked the view from his hospital room because of his view of the helipad. He was known to devour books quickly having just finished two military titles the day he died.
The family will schedule his service with honors at Arlington National Cemetery. "He wants to be with his soldiers;' John said. "That was the big thing he wanted to do!'
In addition to his son John of Ocoee and wife; Lucy of Windermere, Joseph Frances Bellochi is survived by daughters Laura Anne Bellochi of Auburn, N.H., and Liz Berkner of Orlando; four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
DeGusipe Funeral Home & Crematory, West Orange Chapel, Ocoee, handled arrangements,
Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 09/05/2022
Copyright © 1998 - 2022 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association