It is unfortunate to have to write this one. A man who held the most responsible positions in Army medicine on both the conventional and special ops sides of the table died during a routine commute in his private airplane.
Retired Col. Virgil Thomas “Tom” Deal Jr. was acting chief of surgery at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center when he died, but he was well known throughout the military, especially within the special operations and medical communities. He had served as command surgeon of Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and was commander of Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Deal died when his small plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, crashed in a wooded area off Parkton Tobermory Road on Sunday afternoon. He was alone in the aircraft, which departed from a Summerville, S.C., airport and was on final approach to Fayetteville Regional Airport.
A further report is here. According to FAA records, Deal was an instrument-rated private pilot. According to the NTSB, he was on an instrument approach to Fayetteville Regional Airport. The Board advised the Fayetteville Observer that a preliminary report with factual information about the crash will be posted in approximately two weeks.
Tom Deal’s contributions to the United States will not be forgotten, nor will his character. De Oppresso Liber. And that’s all we have to say about that.