• Pinsky, David
  • College/Year: RC '62
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Pinsky, David (October 11, 2014)
  • Conflict(s): Vietnam War; Cold War
  • Military Branch & Unit: Air Force
  • Theater(s): Europe; Vietnam
  • Air Force Other: Air Training Command;NATO Staff Europe;Air Force HQ;Joint Chiefs of Staff;Plattsburgh AFB;Pease AFB;9th Strategic Recon Wing;Beale AFB


Col. Pinsky, USAF (Ret.), was born in Teaneck, NJ, and grew up in Ridgefield Park, NJ, Denver, CO, and Teaneck. He attended Rutgers College from 1958 to 1962 where he studied business administration. He earned his USAF officer's commission through the Rutgers Air Force ROTC and went through pilot training at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, AL.

After serving as a pilot instructor in California, he deployed to Vietnam for service as a Forward Air Controller, piloting a Cessna O-1E "Bird Dog." Based at Duc Hoa, his unit supported the 25th ARVN Division and a variety of US Special Forces. Returning stateside, he flew F-106s out of Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, VA, during which time he deployed temporarily to South Korea in response to the USS Pueblo Crisis.

He subsequently attended Armed Forces Staff College, then, served at Fort Lee, VA, in Air Defense Headquarters as Fighter Standardization and Evaluation Officer for the East Coast region. He later commanded an F-106 detachment at Homestead Air Force Base, FL. He then served in Naples, Italy, with NATO forces planning for external reinforcements of Southern Europe in the event of war.

Returning to the US, he attended Air War College, then, joined the Air Staff at the Pentagon to serve as Deputy Division Chief for Air Defense and Missiles. Afterwards, he served as Division Chief for Western Hemisphere Policy and Plans within the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He commanded a Strategic Air Command FB-111 unit at Plattsburgh, NY, before becoming Director of Operations at Pease Air Force Base, NH. Later assigned to Beale Air Force Base, CA, he served as Vice Wing Commander, then, Wing Commander of a high-altitude reconnaissance unit that included SR-71 Blackbirds and U-2s.

After retiring from the USAF, Col. Pinsky worked as Deputy Director of Utilities for Santa Rosa, CA, then, as Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Air Museum.