George Donald Tinko

United States Navy
13 November 1946 - 21 February 1969
Corry, Pennsylvania
Panel 32W Line 074



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for George Donald Tinko

09 Feb 2003



Well, Tinko, it has been almost to the day 34 years since I last saw you that night before you were lost. There is hardly a day gone by that I do not think of you in some way, whether it be a sound or a smell, and especially when it rains. I remember how we use to hate to have to go out on the river and patrol in that darn rain. But yet today when it does rain it is a flashback to there for me and to you and all of the others we lost in a senseless war. Now we are getting ready to do it again, only this time there is no jungle or tree to hide behind, on a cat litter box. And at Christmas time is when I have the hardest time, when I see the tins of meat and crackers and cheese like the ones your mother used to send to you, that is when it really hits home for me that you are gone. Buddy, I wish many a time that it was me and not you, but I also wish that you would have listened to me that night and not slept on your boat, maybe things would be different now. So until then when we will meet once again, and my time is through here, tell the angels that another sailor is on his last voyage home.

From his best friend,
Delbert L. Goben

24 Sep 2004

To all those who knew the best friend that I ever had in Cau-viet, SVN. You also had a great friend. PLEASE send your remarks to me at

From his great friend and buddy,
Delbert L. Goben
2108 S. 17 Street, St. Joseph, Mo 64503

25 Feb 2004

When I was a little girl, Donnie looked after me and was very kind to a younger child. As we grew up, we were friends. I went to the Wall to find his name and he will always be in my heart and mind. He is remembered often and I wish he was here with us.

From a friend,
Sherry White Penick

25 Jul 2004

Don, I'm honored to have known you.

Don and I played football together in High School. A few years later we bumped into each other in our "whites" flying from Erie back to Los Angeles from leave. I was just out of boot camp and heading for Port Hueneme and SeaBee training and he was finishing PBR school and getting ready to leave for Viet Nam. We enjoyed the flight together.

A couple of months later we were able to get together with some home town friends in Santa Monica for a weekend party and then we took Don out to Norton AFB to catch his flight to Vietnam, and we said our "good lucks" and "see ya back home". A month later, in September, I headed to DaNang, Vietnam, to join my SeaBee Battalion.

I can remember staring in disbelief at the casualty list in the Stars and Stripes that February morning. We had lost one truly nice guy.

Two years later I would find myself at Cua Viet helping build a new pier for the base, which also was a SEAL team base... surreal, looking through binoculars into North Vietnam on the other side of the river. The river, other than being so dirty you could barely see the length of your arm underwater, looked quite peaceful, but that didn't stop the sappers from mining our equipment and barges a few times while I was there.

It wasn't until I visited the "Wall" and Don's inscription several years ago that I was able to finally say goodbye.

RIP Don, job well done, and thank you.

From a friend,
Carl Wassink
P O Box 436, Atascadero, Ca 93423

24 Oct 2004

Donny, friend of my youth,

We grew up as friends and became like brother and sister ... we would work on his aunt's farm together doing summer chores and telling stories of what we'd do when we grew up. We were in the same class and so I'd spend many hours with all our classmates watching Don play football and basketball ... In our senior year our high school burned down. It meant we had to go split shifts the remainder of the school year to get in our classes ... no one went home after school the night there was a BB game ... it was the way it was in small Corry, Pennsylvania ... we supported our teams and Donny was a big part of that. Such a gentle giant with a drop-dead smile and a twinkle in his eye....

I was in my senior year in college when I read the Corry Journal that February day ... I cried ... for him, for his family, for all of us who would no longer share his company ... when I go to DC, I find his name on The Wall and we talk, that dear friend and I ... and each Sunday, since 1969, I've included him in my prayers at mass.

This year, when we celebrate our 40th class reunion, Donny will be among those we honor ... he will not be forgotten by the class of '65! ... and since he loved a good party, I suspect he might be with us in some way.....

We were so lucky to have shared some time with him ... Donny is my HERO ... our hero ...we are proud of him.

From a friend,
Julia Savko Fedders

23 Feb 2005

Even though I never knew Don, he was gone before I was born, I heard about him from his sister, who is my aunt, and my mom and her sisters. His sacrifice for our country was the ultimate and I am greatful for his unselfish gift.

From from Irene's neice,
Eve Marie Maynard-Passmore
Olean, New York

Wed, 8 June 2005

To the friends and family of Big George:

Big George, or "Tink", was in my wedding on 1 Oct 1966 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. We were just starting out in the Navy. We were stationed at the Chief Petty Officers Academy), pulling general duty - messcooking, cube cleaning, building maintenance, etc.

"Tink" was always a joy to be around, with that great big smile, and a heart as big as all outdoors! He was a gentle giant! I was certainly saddened when I heard that we had lost such a great guy.

I have an 8x10 picture of all of us guys at the wedding. If anyone is interested in a copy, I'll scan and forward it to you. Send me your E-Mail address.

From a shipmate,
Dave Bebout
Jacksonville, Florida

From left to right:
Joe Wondrick; Joe Comosko; Al LaFond.
My bride and me, Donna Louise Italiano Yanek and Dave Bebout.
George D. Tinko; Richard Thompson; Howard McGrew.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009