Cunningham, Joseph D.

Joseph D Cunningham, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

March 03, 1941 – August 21, 1994

Joseph D. Cunningham, Air National Guard Colonel Joseph D. Cunningham, 53, a retired pilot in the Air National Guard who was an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, died of cancer Aug. 21 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

A resident of Alexandria, Col. Cunningham was born in Southampton, England. He came to the United States with his family when he was 6 years old, and he grew up in Philadelphia. He graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia and later received a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.

In 1963, Col. Cunningham was commissioned in the Air Force. He served at various bases in the United States and in Vietnam, where he was a helicopter pilot. In 1971, he resigned from the Air Force and was commissioned in the Air National Guard. Except for a period in the early 1970s, he was on active duty until he retired in 1992. He was stationed at Dover, Del., until 1979 and then in the Washington area. His last assignment was in the National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon. Col. Cunningham’s military decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, six awards of the Air Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

His marriage to Joan Cunningham ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Rosemarie Cunningham of Alexandria, and three children from his first marriage, Lisa C. Smith of Baltimore, Kelli M. Cunningham of Camden, Maine, and Christopher T. Cunningham of Dover.

Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


Capt. Cunningham served as a CH-3E pilot with the 20th SOS “Pony Express” during the Vietnam War in the 1967 – 1968 time frame.

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
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