Robert L. Dinapoli (1969/02/01)
A ride home to the air base turned into disaster.
Robert L. Dinapoli was born in New York to Mr. and Mrs. Sal Dinapoli on June 19, 1947. At an early age Robert, along with his parents, his brother Ted and his sister Sally Ann, moved to San Jose, California. The family remained in San Jose until about 1958 when they moved to Santa Cruz and settled into a home on Branciforte Avenue. Dinapoli completed the remainder of his elementary education locally and in 1961 enrolled in Santa Cruz High School.
After his high school graduation in 1965, Robert Dinapoli enlisted in the US Airforce for a four-year tour. His basic training took place at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. In 1966 he was assigned to the 69th Recon Tech Squadron stationed at Yakota Air Base west of Tokyo.
After his arrival in Japan, Dinapoli began working in the classified information section and by the end of 1968, had risen to the rank of sergeant. On February 1, 1969, Sergeant Robert L. Dinapoli, along with two other airmen went into Tokyo for an evening liberty. After returning by train to Yakota, they were offered a ride back to the base by a young Japanese boy. Enroute, the teen-age driver hit a utility pole killing Robert and his companions.
Sergeant Dinapoli's body was returned to Santa Cruz and buried in Oakwood Memorial Park.
(SCSn February 2, 1969 31:6, February 5, 1969, Oakwood MP headstone)