Angelo D. Fernandez
Colonel Angelo (Angel) Domingo Fernandez, USMC (Ret), died on Oct. 11, 2019, at the age of 83, at Life Care Center of Sparta.
The son of Hispanic immigrants, Angel was born in New York City on Nov. 9, 1935, one of three sons, and was raised in his parents' bar and restaurant business in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood. He lived within walking distance of the Museum of the City of New York and, at a very young age, began going there to admire the displays of model wooden sailing ships and the paintings shown throughout. Not knowing anything about the artworks he was admiring, he naively was looking at original works by Rembrandt Van Rijn, Franz Hals, Hans Holbein, Albrecht Durer, etc. For a 5-cent fare, he climbed on a 5th Avenue bus and accessed the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. The representative and modern art that he saw, by the Masters of the art world, made him feel art was his calling. However, becoming an artist was not to be. When he shared his passion with his mother, she said, "Artists are a dime-a-dozen, they live in Greenwich Village, smoke pot, and are a bunch of bums. You are going to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer!"
After an unsuccessful attempt to receive a Congressional appointment to West Point, he turned down a full track scholarship to Syracuse University, graduated from the High School of Commerce in 1953, and enlisted in the US Marine Corps. While deployed in the Caribbean during the 1954 counter-revolution in Guatemala, he received orders to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, MD, before entering the US Naval Academy, appointed by Congressman James G. Donovan as the first Latin-American to receive a congressional appointment from his political district. He graduated in 1959, married, and reported to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Subsequent to graduation, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, serving as a Motor Transport (MT) Officer with the 9th MT Battalion and, later, as Weapons Platoon Commander in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. His orders next sent Angel to Marine Corps Base, Camp Smedley D. Butler on motor transport duties in support of the 3rd Marine Division. While on Okinawa, Japan, he initiated, organized, and led the Division Sky Diving Team who won competitions against the teams of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. Army. In 1962, Angel was ordered to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, where he served until November 1965 as a Ceremonial Platoon Commander, Parade Adjutant, and Registrar of the Marine Corps Institute. During this tour of duty, he was personally recognized by President John F. Kennedy for excellence in a military ceremonial performance on the White House lawn for the King of Afghanistan. He was later assigned to the Honor Guard for the Arlington Cemetery burial of many distinguished military leaders, honor ceremonies for Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, burial detail for President Kennedy, and inaugural events for President Johnson. Angel next reported to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, where he commanded infantry Company C on deployments to the Mediterranean during hostilities between Greek and Turkish residents on the islands of Cyprus and Crete. Upon returning to the U.S. and a six-month schooling at the Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia, Angel was assigned, in September 1967, to the 9th Marines at Dong Ha, Vietnam, to serve as the Regimental Assistant Operations Officer. His duties included planning and coordinating all B-52 bombings (Arc Lights) along the entire Demilitarized Zone and the implementation of the 40-mile long, Anti-Infiltration Barrier (McNamara Wall). After leading a combat task-force in relief of the Cam Lo District Headquarters during the TET Offensive in 1968, Angel assumed duties as the Operations Officer of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines for the next seven months in combat operations all along the DMZ and in support of the 26th Marines at the Khe Sanh combat base. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with a gold V for valor and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with gold star for valor in combat. After departure from Vietnam in November 1968, Angel was assigned as the Marine Advisor to the Venezuelan Marine Corps until 1971. As such, he was instrumental in renewing the practice of joint and combined training operations with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the renovation of out-moded or unserviceable tanks, anti-aircraft weapon systems, and acquisition of Venezuela's first amphibious landing ship (LST). His emphasis on interservice field unit training paid great dividends in the defeat of a communist insurrection. In recognition of his services, Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera presented Angel with their highest "Gold Order of Naval Merit." He was also awarded both the U.S. Navy's and the U.S. Army's Meritorious Service Medals.
After attendance at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, during 1971-1972 and earning his Masters of International Relations from George Washington University, he reported to the 3rd Marine Division for his second Vietnam Tour. Assigned as Operations Officer of the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, he developed the evacuation plan (Eagle Pull) of American Embassy personnel in Phenom Phen, Cambodia and support plans for evacuating the embassy at Saigon, VN (Golden Fleece). Returning to the U.S. in early 1975 he reported to the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he fulfilled assignments as the Marine Liaison Officer for research and development of infantry tactics, techniques, training, arms and equipment. Working in the Fire Power Division of the Directorate of Combat Developments, he assisted in computer modeling of the Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle's (MICV) weaponry in scenarios against Soviet Forces in the Fulda Gap, Europe. He later led field testing of the vehicle and its weapons at Fort Ord, California, including high-power machine guns (20mm Chain Gun, etc.) and missiles (Boeing's TOW anti-tank missile). Additional participation in MICV engine testing of Cadillac-Gage, Cummins Diesel and Detroit Diesel engines resulted in his recommendations to the Marine Corps to use the Cummins engine for the newly designed and future Marine Assault Amphibious Vehicle, Personnel. His recommendations were implemented. He was also a member of the Army's Infantry Board and, as such, was instrumental in the field testing and parachuting compatibility of the man-portable TOW missile, the modified T-35 parachute, upgraded versions of infantry assault weapons, and the general-purpose jump equipment carrier. Deep selected for promotion from Major to Lt. Colonel, he was awarded the U.S. Army's Meritorious Service Medal with Oakleaf Cluster (second award). Angel's next tour of duty was at Marine Corps Headquarters in Virginia where he was assigned Special Assistant to the Marine Corps' Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower. His duties included the land-mark initiation, development, and implementation of the Marine Corps' conversion of all active and reserve Marine personnel, paper records (over 300,000) to computer-managed micro-fiche film. His successful management of this multi-million-dollar program, his career performance excellence, and combat record resulted in his selection, by the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, for interview at the White House with Chief of Staff, Mr. Hugh Carter, for the position of Military Aide to President Carter. This assignment was denied for political and other differences. Upon completion of the Headquarters, Marine Corps tour, Angel's next assignment was for his Top-Level military education at the Inter-American Defense College. He then went to become the Assistant Chief of Staff, Services on Okinawa, Japan providing thousands of Marines with spiritual, athletic, entertainment, recreational, and temporary housing services. This 3-year assignment was followed by another 3-year tour as Base Inspector for the installation at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and its combat, service and support commands.
After nearly 32 years of active duty, Colonel Fernandez retired effective July 1, 1985. He spent the next 15 years working for Cummins Engine Company in their filtration subsidiary, Fleetguard, in Cookeville. His duties as Safety Supervisor included responsibility for production process accident avoidance and minimalization, ergonomic work-station designing, emergency responding, medical assistance, evacuation procedures, and hospitalization. He was additionally tasked with investigation, research, and management of all Workers Compensation claims, processing both the medical and legislative aspects of all cases to include court appearances at trials and appeals. Additionally, with his team of a nurse and seven Emergency Medical Technicians, he initiated and processed all employee medical insurance coverages and related claims, administered first aid and negotiated with both corporate insurance companies and employee union officials to ensure harmonious adjudication of health benefits. His additional duties included ensuring company adherence to OSHA and EPA laws, waste collection and recycling, control of chemical emissions and discharge of liquid and solid industrial wastes. After serving in this capacity for 12 years, Angel was promoted to corporate product Configuration Manager in the Engineering Department. This assignment made him responsible for the control, updating, maintenance and management of the corporate engineering data base. These expanded duties required his control of each product engineering design and materials specifications, definitions, and performance criteria, worldwide in production plants in Lake Mills, Iowa, Quimper, France, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and South Korea. Angel retired from Cummins Filtration in June 2002 and began his next career as a fine art painter and instructor. A self-taught fine art painter endlessly seeking improvement through classes, workshops, art books, and confraternity with other artists. He enjoyed painting with all media especially pastels, charcoal, watercolor and oil paints. Angel was a member of the Cookeville Art Studio and Gallery, and member of the Portrait Society of America as well as a contributing writer of their Literary Committee.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Linda E. Elmore Fernandez; younger brother, Joseph Fernandez; his estranged son, Vincent Fernandez; and estranged daughters, Julia Ann Fernandez, and Alicia Ann Dicks. He has three grandchildren, Mark Fernandez and Meredith and Abigail Dicks. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Cookeville Chapel of Hooper-Huddleston and Horner Funeral Home. Fr. John Patrick Day will officiate. Interment with military honors provided by a U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard will follow at the Cookeville City Cemetery.
His family will receive friends Friday from 5-8 p.m. and again Saturday from 9 a.m. until service time.
Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Tennessee (1459 Interstate Dr., Ste.211, Cookeville, TN 38501) or Tennessee Tech Foundation-Education Department (Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505).
Hooper Huddleston & Horner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. (931) 526-6111. Share thoughts and memories at
Published on October 14, 2019


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Charles and Charisse Straight
Oct 19, 2019
We just returned from an extended trip, to the news of Angelo’s passing. A remarkable man. He will be missed.