Colin C. Pemberton • July 4, 2019



Colin C. Pemberton was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts on 12 August 1930. He was the oldest son of Ralph and Mary Censabella Pemberton. “Pem” passed away on July 4th, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida being given “Clearance to Lift off” for his final flight toward Heaven. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Louis and Paul; and sister, Mary Cushing of Sanford, FL.
“Pem” entered the Navy in November 1947, and became an Aviation Metalsmith. During his early career, He served at Quonset Point, R.I., Patuxent River, MD, and NADU at South Weymouth, MA. He received orders to Heavy Attack Squadron Seven and after two years was accepted in the Bombardier/ Navigator (B/N) course of training. He participated in both the Lebanon and Formosan Crisis in 1958. He was stationed in Sanford, Florida flying in the Savage AJ-2 and the Douglas A3D Skywarrior before transferring to Heavy Attack Squadron Three as an instructor.
While in the capacity of Bombardier/ Navigator, “Pem” transitioned to the Navy’s High Altitude Mach 2 Nuclear Weapons Delivery Aircraft, The Vigilante (A3J).
“PEM” continued to work his way thru the ranks until he was commissioned an ensign in November 1964.
Upon commissioning, he received orders to Airborne Early Warning Squadron Two (VQ-2) in Rota, Spain, flying his first tour in Vietnam and earning his first two air medals. He served as an instructor in Basic Air Navigation at Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola in 1968 before transferring to Reconnaissance Attack Squadron Six (RVAH-6) in Albany , GA in 1970. He flew two more tours to Vietnam for a total of 206 combat missions and 17 air medals, Navy Commendation (Bronze “V” Device.), Armed Forces Expeditionary with 1 Bronze Star, Marksmanship Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Gold Star, The Meritorious Unit Commendation and Navy Unit Commendation. During his career LCDR Pemberton accumulated 5,000 hours of flight time and 675 carrier landings. When asked about his life and career, Pem’s answer was always “I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Pem was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foley for 26 years and a recent member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Milton, FL, and had served on Cursillo staff (Lay Rector of #42 and #50) and Kairo’s Prison ministry for 18 years. He was a past member of the Northwest Pensacola Optimist Club, A-3 Skywarrior Association, Retired Officers Association, Naval Enlisted Bombadier/Navigator association, a Plank Owner in the U.S. Navy Memorial in D.C., and was a Restoration Volunteer at the Naval Aviation Museum.
Pem is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 48 years, Doris; daughters, Lynne Anne Pemberton of Sanford, FL and Susan Lee (Mike) of Pace, FL; sons, Richard Lirette (Kathy) of Pace, FL and Clay Lirette (Kathy) of Baker, FL. He is also survived by 10 Grandchildren, 19 Great Grandchildren; sister-in-law, Carol Pemberton of Willow Springs, N.C., sister-in-law, Janie Oliver (Chuck) of Vero Beach, FL and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Thursday, July 25, 2019 at Pensacola Memorial Gardens Chapel, 7433 Pine Forest Road Pensacola, FL from 10AM until the Memorial service begins at 11AM. Inurnment services to follow at Barrancas National Cemetery with full Military Honors. Pensacola Memorial Gardens Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in “Pem’s” honor to the National Flight Academy, 1 Fetterman Way NAS Pensacola, FL 32508.

  1. Pamela L Smith says:

    I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet Pem and Doris and get their Bur Oak home sold so that was one last thing they had to think about. It was nice when I made Pem laugh during the process. What a beautiful obituary. Thoughts and prays to the family.

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