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TACAMO Fallen Veteran - Don Sears, Industry Partner and 707 Expert.

Don’s service will be

1:00 Saturday 31 July

at the

Resthaven Funeral Home

500 SW 104th St. OKC

Post Funeral (no suits or ties)

Barbecue, Beer and Bourbon Dinner

Next door on Resthaven property.

Donald J. Sears USAF (Retired) Flight Engineer was born on December 08, 1943 in Texas and died July 23, 2021. Don grew up in San Antonio and continued to love and support his home state with a passion! He is survived by his wife Sandra Sears and sons David and (Barbara) Sears and Dale and (Fiona) Sears, 5 grand-children and 12 great grandchildren, special family members Kelly Joe and Susan Pease and their family John, Kevin, and Shannon as well as many close family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents Gertrude & Joe Alton Sears and grandparents Alta & Fount D. Harvey. Uncle John, Aunt Margie and Cousin Mary.

Don proudly served 22 years in the United States Air Force and 22 years serving the Navy through the E6 program. He was a Flight Engineer on the C-141A and a Flight Instructor on the E-3A, B707 and E-6A aircraft. Don was in the 76th MAS at Charleston, part of the initial cadre of the 963rd AWACS Sq. and was part of the initial instructor cadre for the U.S. Navy E-6 program. Don’s passion for teaching along with his professionalism and expertise inspired his students, many of whom have stayed in contact with him, continuing to affectionally refer to him by his nicknames “Papa Don” or “Heavy D”.

Don loved God, family and flying. He was known for his humor and love of all things Texas. He will be remembered by all for his big heart and willingness to lend a hand or help anyone who needed it. Those who have celebrated the Texas / OU weekend or enjoyed Friday Afternoon Readjustment Time with him or spent any time around him at all, will remember his many entertaining antics.

The services for Don will be Saturday July 31, 2021 at 1:00 PM at Resthaven Funeral Home located at 500 SW 104th Street in South Oklahoma City. For those that prefer, feel free to donate to your favorite charity or children’s hospital in lieu of flowers. Don wanted dress for the service to be comfortable and jeans are fine for this celebration.


Don Sears was retired Air Force. He was with the TACAMO E-6 training program from the start back in 1988 as a retired USAF retired flight engineer. Started in WACO Texas with Reflectone supporting NTSU ( VQ-7) pilot engineer training.

Don Sears Air Force Career was in the 76th MAS at Charleston. Initial cadre and the 963rd AWACS at Tinker. Then went PCS to the 960th AWACS at NAS Keflavik, Iceland (long tour) and another long tour to the 961st AWACS at Kadena AB, Okinawa. He ended at Tinker, the 965th AWACS


Reported by John Paul Pappendick

Don Sears....

An amazing man!

I loved this man more than anyone will ever know! He was my Brother, my Mentor, my friend, and so much more!

I am Devastated!

Beyond words what this man ment to me.

RIP Brother!

Love you and will be forever grateful for knowing you.


John Keilty

I wrote this to Big Don in 2018. A great man. Did more for us all in TACAMO then we will ever know. His big ol smile brightened so many of our days. God took a good one! We will miss you Don. Prayers to the family.



A young Engineer looked up on the panel,

And said “Don how does this system work”,

Don had an unwavering commitment to training,

A responsibility Don would never shirk!!!

A veteran heavy jet Aircraft Commander,

Looked at Don for some sage advice,

A Retired Air Force 141 Engineer,

Don’s performance always precise!

Don took his dedication and professionalism,

To the Navy teaching Mercury Engineers,

He taught us how to fight the E-6A ,

And alleviated our many fears!

You ask what makes a person,

A “Great American” in our land,

It is the warfighter in the trenches,

Doing the “best that they can “!

Don is a man of steadfast principle,

He is a Patriot who loves our country,

Don Sears while serving in the Air Force,

Was all about “ be all you can be”!

When Don and Sandy came to the Navy,

It was a great day for TACAMO,

Because they brought devotion and friendship,

And caused our Waco community to glow!

We admired your detailed knowledge,

Don we were impressed with your Engineer way,

With you in our great white airplane,

Our crews just had a better day!

So when we talk about great Americans,

Don Sears is on that distinguished list,

A crew dog who worked his tail off,

His motto”in any way I am here to assist”.

So as we go about our busy days,

And give thanks for our military might,

And we honor those brave warriors,

Who volunteer to get in the fight...

...Say thanks to this retired Airman,

Who trained many how to fight and fly,

And next time you see Don Sears,

Give that ol’ boy a high five,

And so there is but one more thing,

That I have left to say,

I propose 3 cheers to this great American,

Hip hip hip hip hooray!!




Don Sears thank you for your service. It was an honor to fly with you. From your many friends in the Air Force and Navy!!

Other comments from this Posting:

  • William F. Crouch He WILL be missed. Prayers on the way. I will miss his laughter and stories at the parties out at Dorsey's and Deb's.

  • Tony Glover Oh man I’m so sad…praying for the family!!!

  • David Burcham Damn , so sorry to hear this. He was a great guy. Sending prayers….RIP Papa Don you did it right.

  • Matt Villarreal Don Sears was a consummate professional and trained hundreds of TACAMO bus drivers and plumbers. Legend. Trojan. My heart is heavy, but I thank the maker that I knew him and flew with him. Godspeed, Don!!

  • Joe Fish A very sad day, prayers to the Family. Don was instrumental in helping the Navy stand up the E-6 RAG in Waco. As the OIC at NTSU, I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have succeeded without his professionalism and true caring always for the students. “Fair Winds and Following Seas” from one thankful Sailor to one great American!

  • Christopher Frasse love you “Heavy D”. RIP Shipmate. What a fine American A fine Man Enjoy Heaven So many great memories.

  • Jon Morrison RiP Don...

  • Emily Harrigan This breaks my heart. He was a good man.

  • Beth Carter-Kidd Oh my what a wonderful man. Prayers for everyone

  • Tony K Hill RIP Shipmate, you will be missed by many

  • William Griffin I lost my best friend Monday and yes it hurts. He was the brother I never had.

  • Svend Pedersen This is a huge loss.

  • Jim Fortini Wow what a great man taught me so much. Will be missed. How old was Don?

  • Sabre Little Pappa Don, you will be missed.

  • Bill Horacek A tragic loss for all who knew him. Greeted by our Lord Jesus Christ, Don is walking and breathing freely now.

  • Scott Mitchell Another Great Man has entered the gates of Heaven. Don was a great man and dear friend. TACAMO was truly blessed to have him. He trained and sent a great number of Flight Engineers to the fleet. Every minute I got to spend spend with Don was a cherished one. My heart is heavy this day.

  • Rob Rosenberger Oh no.

  • Bubba Russell Did not hear, flew alot with him on the old waco 707, prayers to him and family! He was a great man and always had a smile! He will be missed.

  • M.j. Wilkerson Holding you in my heart

  • Scott Evans Wow. Really hate hearing this. Heavy D was a great man and a superb Instructor. Shared many flights and laughs with him over the years.

  • Judy Musselman Don was such an awesome guy! He was always encouraging and kind, he was a mentor for so many. I certainly looked up to him. He will truly be missed!

  • Greg Hincke So sad to hear this news. What a great guy, great instructor and great mentor to many. Don, you will be missed but remembered always. Rest In Peace friend.

  • Beth Crawley Rudat I’m so sad to hear this…he was awesome…

  • Russ Furgason A great man!

  • Kyle Rausch Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for his family and all of his friends! RIP Don, you have left your mark and you will truly be missed!

  • Bob Strahm Don Sears, you are already missed. Fair winds sir.

  • Jim Fulmer Just too sad, what a character. We all have spent a ton of time with him. R.I.P. till we chat again. All of us here need to look in the mirror, we're not young anymore, our time is coming ready!

  • Dan Quiles So sorry to hear about Don he was always smiling and always willing to help anyone in anyway God bless his soul. May he Rest In Peace.

More information coming soon


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