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First Name: Marvin

Last Name: Umstead

Birthplace: Detroit, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Francis

Date of Birth: 31 August 1942

Date of Death: 26 July 1973

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant Commander

Years Served:
Marvin Francis Umstead, Jr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Marvin Francis "Skip" Umstead, Jr.
Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy

Marvin Francis "Skip" Umstead, Jr. was born on 31 August 1942 in Detroit, MI.

A member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, in 1964. Umstead then entered the Aviation Officer Candidate Program, was commissioned in October 1964 and was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1966.

He was then stationed at Naval Air Station Miramar, CA, for training in the F-8 Crusader with Fighter Squadron 124. Skip was assigned to Fighter Squadron 53 and, while with the squadron, he made one combat cruise to Southeast Asia aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard and another aboard the USS Hancock. He flew a total of 202 combat missions and accumulated 284 carrier-arrested landings.

In October 1969, Umstead reported to the Blue Angels from Fighter Squadron 124, where he instructed Fleet Replacement Pilots in the F-8 Crusader. Skip left the Blue Angels in December 1972 and reported to VF-2 as Safety Officer of the newly-formed F-14 Fighter Squadron. In April 1973, Umstead was called back to the Blue Angels to perform the duties of the Officer-in-Charge and Flight Leader.

On 26 July 1973, Skip, fellow Blue's pilot Captain Mike Murphy, and crew chief ADJ1 Ron Thomas, were killed in a mid-air collision between their two F-4 Phantoms over Lakehurst, NJ, during an arrival practice. A passenger in Skip Umstead's plane walked away unhurt. The rest of the season was cancelled after the crash.

Medals and Awards

Air Medal (13 Awards)
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "Valor" Device
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry
Navy Unit Citation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals

Data From a U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team Booklet: Blue Angels 1973

Page 15: LCDR SKIP UMSTEAD, USN OFFICER-IN-CHARGE/FLIGHT LEADER, PLANE NO. 1 LIEUTENANT COMMANDER SKIP UMSTEAD, USN, 30, of Detroit, Michigan, first joined the Blue Angels in October 1969.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Commander Marvin Francis "Skip" Umstead, Jr. died on 26 July 1973. He is buried at the Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, FL.

Honoree ID: 3168   Created by: MHOH




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