Bill Rhea Starnes Blountville, TN. Bill Rhea Starnes, 64, passed away Aug 24, 2012. 2nd Lt. Bill Starnes flight career started at the age of 14 when he was taught how to fly by his father, Rhea, He graduated flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala., on March 23, 1971. He qualified in the UH-1A/B/D/H and the TH-55 helicopters. He qualified in the AH-1G Cobra on May 3, 1971, and was then assigned to C Troop, 7/17 Air Cavalry in Vietnam, where he flew approximately 800 combat hours. He was transferred to Btry B, 4th BN, 77th FA, 101st Airborne Division, Ft. Campbell, Ky., in June 1972. In April 1974, he joined the Tennesee Army National Guard as a 1st Lt., assigned to the Army Aviation Flight Facility in Smyrna, Tenn. In October 1978, he qualified in the UH-1M aircraft and was assigned to the Aviation Flight Facility #2, in Louisville, Tenn., where he also qualified in the OH-58A/C, OH-6, AH-1F, and the OH-58D helicopters, commanding multiple line units, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. In addition to a tour in Vietnam, he also deployed with the Paladin Troop to Kosovo in 2005 to 2006. He retired from the military on March 15, 2009, with 39 years of service having achieved the following awards: Bronze Star , Meritorious Service Medal , two Air Medal with Valor, Army Commendation Medal, nine Army Achievement Medals, five Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, with “M” device, three Armed Forces Reserve Medals, Army Service Ribbon, Republic Of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, NATO medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w 60 Device, Vietnam Service Medal, with four campaign stars, two Overseas Service Ribbons, Master Army Aviator Badge, seven Tennessee National Guard Service Ribbons, Tennessee National Guard Unit Commendation Ribbon and Tennessee National Guard Volunteer Ribbon. Bill was preceded in death by mothers, Louise Culpepper Starnes and Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Starnes. He is survived by his adoring wife of two years, Lisa; sons, Jason Starnes and wife, Felicity, and Justin Starnes and wife, Rachel; step-children, Tyler Barnett, and Rikki Keaton and husband, Kenny; grandchildren, Harley Rhea, Christian, McKenzie and Austin; father, William Rhea Starnes; a cousin, more like a brother, Charles Richmond and wife, Jane, Anthony and Caitlin; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family members too numerous to mention, that were near and dear to Bill’s heart. The family will receive friends on Friday, Aug. 31st from 5 to 8 p.m., at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church Ministry Center. Funeral services were conducted Sep 1 at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, with Chaplain David Collins and the Rev. Robert Burlingham officiating. Burial followed at Tri-Cities Memory Gardens with military honors by the Tennessee National Guard.
(provided by Red Gilpin)