Mark S. Diorio (1970/02/26)
Mark earned his high school diploma to prepare for life and a Silver Star while ending it.
Mark Steven Diorio, the son of Charles and Lois Diorio, was born in Salinas, California on November 21, 1950. His siblings included his brothers Glenn and Brian and his sister Kim. Salinas provided Mark with his education through the eleventh grade; however, in the fall of 1967 he transferred to Soquel High School in Santa Cruz County to complete his senior year. Mark Diorio graduated in June 1968 and was employed by the California State Division of Forestry.
In February 1969, Mark Diorio enlisted in the US Army. After completing basic training, he was sent to helicopter crew training school where he became a helicopter door gunner. On August 3, 1969, Private First Class Diorio was assigned to Vietnam and joined Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division serving in Tay Ninh province. He continued to fly missions in that area until February 15, 1970, when he flew his last mission. The citation accompanying his Silver Star award for that mission notes:
“…Specialist Four Diorio distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action of February 15, 1970, while serving as a door gunner during a visual reconnaissance mission…
…Diorio's aircraft started receiving fire from an enemy bunker complex. With complete disregard for his own safety, he leaned precariously out of the aircraft to place fire on the hostiles, enabling the pilot to make several passes and mark the positions for air strikes. Specialist Diorio was severely wounded but bravely continued to engage the enemy until he passed out from his injuries…"
Mark Diorio died of his wounds on February 26, 1970. His body was recovered and returned to Salinas for a funeral on March 10, 1970, followed by his burial in the Garden of Memorial Park cemetery.
(VVMW; SCSn March 5, 1970 1:3, March 9, 1970 16:6, August 21, 1970 1:1)