Signal Charlie-CAPT Rick Fenn, USN-(Ret.) - Naval Helicopter Association Historical Society

CAPT RICK FENN USN-(RET.) SIGNAL CHARLIE 

CAPT Richard G. Fenn, USN-(Ret.) Obituary

Richard G. Fenn, “Rick”, age 73, passed away peacefully on May 3rd, 2018, from complications due to a stroke. Rick was born in Oshkosh to Elbert R. and Marilyn Fenn.
While pitching for the Badgers, he earned his Education degree from UW Madison and then later earned his MS Degree, from ODU in Norfolk, VA.
Rick joined the US Navy in 1967, wanting to learn to fly, and earned his wings in Pensacola FL as a helicopter pilot. He married the love of his life, Susan Apell Fenn, Dec 8, 1970, in Hawaii on his R&R from Vietnam. Rick spent 27 years proudly serving his country before retiring as Capt. in Aug. 1994 from the NROTC Unit at UW Madison. After retirement from the Navy, he was self-employed for 12 years before beginning his happiest job as “Mr Rick” for Middleton-Cross Plains as a school bus driver. He loved his school kids! Every night he would return home to share their funny stories with his wife.
Rick found so much joy in teaching his son Timothy how to pitch and coaching his little league baseball teams. His daughter Jennifer was never far behind and loved the camping trips. Rick enjoyed watching baseball, Badgers, Packers and playing golf. He shared in all of his grandchildren’s accomplishments and was their biggest cheerleader in everything they did.
Rick is survived by his wife, Susan, of 47 years; son, Timothy (Carrie) of Virginia; brother, Timothy (Shauna) of Texas; and six grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Jennifer; and brother, Stephan.
A celebration of Rick’s life will be held on Sat., May 12th at Gunderson-West (7435 University Ave Middleton). Visitation 1 pm – 3 pm with the service following.
For all their loving care, a special thank you to Jen and the nursing staff on the Neurology floor at St. Mary’s Hospital, the staff of Ingleside Manor in Mt. Horeb, and Heartland Hospice.
Memorials may be made in Rick’s name to the Dane County Humane Society, in McFarland, or Madison Cat Project (627 Post Rd. Madison 53713).
Susan Fenn
6405 Olympic Drive
Madison, WI 53705
Sue’s email is: safenn@tds.net
Captain Fenn was born in Oshkosh, WI and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He
entered the Navy in October 1967 and was commissioned through AOCS in January 1968. After receiving
his wings in January 1969, Captain Fenn was assigned to the Search and Rescue unit NAS Moffett
Field, CA. One year later, he transitioned to the UH-1 helicopter and reported to Helicopter Attack
Light Squadron THREE in the Republic of Vietnam . Flying Huey gunships, he accumulated over 700
combat missions in support of the U.S. Riverine Forces in the Mekong Delta. His follow-on tours
included HC-6 as a VERTREP pilot flying the H46 helicopter and serving as the OINC on the first
detachment from HC-6 to WESTPAC in 1972 on the USS SANTA BARBARA. Other deployments included the
USS CONCORD, USS SEATTLE , and the USS SAN DIEGO. A shore tour followed in HC-6 where he
served as the OINC of the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Operations School. During this tour, he earned
an M.S. Degree from Old Dominion University in Guidance and Counseling, specializing in Alcohol
Rehabilitation Therapy.
Captain Fenn transitioned from the HC community to LAMPS in 1976 and received orders to HSL-36 in
Mayport. There he served as the Assistant Operations Officer and deployed as the OINC of Detachment
SIX onboard the USS KOELSCH.
In 1978, he reported to Captain Sea Based ASW Wings Atlantic Staff and served as the LAMPS/ AMCM
representative in the operations department. During this tour he was selected for and participated
in the Leadership Jacksonville Program.
In June 1981, he reported to Captain Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet as the Interim LAMPS/
AMCM Readiness Officer. Followin f t wo month tour, he reported to Captain, Helicopter Sea Control
Wing ONE Staff as the Operations Officer.
In March 1983, he assumed the duties of Executive Officer of HSL-34 and on 27 September 1984, he
assumed command of the “PROFESSIONALS”. During his tour in HSL-34, the squadron was awarded the
1983 and 1984 CNO Safety Award , COM­NAVAIRLANT Battle Efficiency Award for 1984/ 1985, the CAPT
Amold J. Isbell Award for 1984/85 and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. Captain Fenn went on to serve with
COMNAVAIRLANT staff. November 1986 marked the beginning of Captain Fenn’s tour as Commanding
Officer, HSL-30 .Following command of HSL-30, he served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Command
from 1988-1991 followed by Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
from 1991 thru 1994, retiring from the Navy in 1994.
Among his military awards, Captain Fenn is entitled to wear two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 23
Air Medals with three single action air medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, and two Navy
Commendation Medals with a Combat V.