Decorated U.S. Army aviator Warren Dale Tinseth, Sr., 80, took his final flight on Saturday, 22 Mar 14. He died at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston due to complications resulting from a five-month battle with congestive heart failure. He was born 8 Jan 1934, in Duluth, MN, to Otto and Gladys (Almos) Tinseth, and attended Duluth Central High School. Growing up, he enjoyed playing hockey and worked at a golf course. Warren joined the Minnesota National Guard in 1949 at the age of 15. During a two-week camp in Brainerd, MN, he went to a roller-skating rink and fell in love at first sight when he saw a local girl, Joyce Carol Walker. They married on Feb. 23, 1952, a union which lasted nearly 59 years until her death in 2010.
Warren entered active duty as a Sergeant First Class in 1953. The following year, he enlisted in the regular U.S. Army, planning to spend 20 years in the military and retire young. However, he didn’t retire until 1980, as a CW-4, having been deployed twice each to Korea and Vietnam and serving three tours in Germany. In 1958-59, he attended warrant officer flight school. During the next two decades as a pilot, he flew both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. He also became an instructor pilot, an instrument flight examiner, and an aviation safety officer. He enjoyed mentoring new pilots and was well-respected by fellow aviators. Among his assignments, he served with Co. C of the 5th Regimental Combat Team in Korea in 1954; the 196th Transportation Company, deployed to Quin Yong, Vietnam, then infused with the 179th Transportation Company in Pleiku in 1966; and HHC 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division in Phouc Vien, Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970. Warren was assigned twice to Fort Sam Houston, first from 1972 to 1977 with the 507th Medical Company in support of the Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) Project providing helicopter ambulance service to South Texas. In 1978, he returned to Fort Sam, serving as the Aviation Safety Officer to the Flight Detachment at Randolph Air Force Base prior to his retirement. He received high honors for his military service, including the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Star Medals and the Purple Heart, along with a number of other commendations. He pursued higher education during his military service, earning a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, in 1972, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1976.
He belonged to the Kerrville Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen, the Alamo Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the DUSTOFF Association, the Army Aviation Association of America and the Military Officers Association of America.