Avenue of Heroes: David Wood

Written by Lt. Cmdr. David Wood and Margaret Ahmann

Born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1930, Lt. Cmdr. David Wood, US Navy, grew up on a farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. A graduate of Oregon State University, he was commissioned an ensign in the Navy and married Leone Van Hine the same day, June 7, 1954.

David earned his Gold Wings the following year in Corpus Christi, Texas, and reported as a Naval Aviator to his first duty station, VC 11, Early Warning Squadron 11 at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado . At the controls of the AD-5 Douglas attack aircraft, he deployed aboard the USS Shangri-La before being transferred to Naval Air Station Miramar and flying with the VA 115.

Other assignments included being a flight instructor in Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida; deployment aboard the USS Yorktown, an anti-submarine aircraft carrier; and deployment aboard the USS Oriskany. During the Vietnam War, Wood flew the Sky Raider early warning aircraft, nicknamed “The Guppy”, with its navigator, Wayne McCardle.

Wood was stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore from 1967 to 1969 and served as an instructor in the Navy’s then newest attack jet aircraft, the A4 Skyhawk. Wood and his wife moved to Coronado in 1969, raised three daughters, and still reside here today. His final naval assignments included Air Control Squadron 13, where he was responsible for aerial bombardment and gunfire spotting and FASOTRA Group where he provided flight simulation training to the fleet. Upon his retirement in 1974, Cmdr. Wood had completed 20 years of service and five WESTPAC deployments.

Returning to his farming roots, Wood went to work in the San Joaquin Valley as a supervisor in the almond and tree nut industry. He then managed the Crown Motel cafe, owner of Coronado’s Excel travel agency; and was a member of Kiwanis for 20 years, serving as president in 1982 and 1983.

Wood sang in the choir of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for more than 38 years old. Most mornings you will find him walking on the beach and later visiting with friends at the VFW or the Senior Center. He enjoys traveling in his RV and snow skiing with the 70’s Club.

The Hometown Banner Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program honored 206 local heroes. On May 21, 11 more will be honored. The City funds all program costs. City staff and volunteers from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association, and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. The news spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary club distributed American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor fallen servicemen. As the motorcade approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a single Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for his comrades to pass. By this time, it was clear that Third and Fourth Streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From this spontaneous start, the program launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice a year, and men and women with community ties have been recognized by the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and heritage of service to the country.