David Paul Handel (1943-2017)

David Paul Handel
June 2, 1943 – January 27, 2017 

Retired US Air Force Colonel David Paul Handel, born June 2, 1943 in Madison, Wisc., passed away January 27, 2017 at his residence in O’Fallon, Ill.

Colonel Handel was a 30-year USAF veteran and served in ever-increasingly important positions across the globe.  Colonel Handel entered the Air Force through Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June 1966. After completing Supply Operations training, he served as the liaisons officer, Ogden Air Material Detachment, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., where he was promoted to First Lieutenant.  He headed overseas in 1968 where he first served as the headquarters squadron section commander, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, Naha Air Base, Okinawa and later as the aide to the commander, 313 Air Division at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

He returned to the United States in 1971 and served as the wing logistics plans officer at Dover AFB, Del. until 1973 when he was selected for the Air Staff Training Program at Headquarters US Air Force in Washington, D.C.  He came to Headquarters, Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, in 1974 as a logistics plans officer and soon was chosen as the executive officer to the  Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics.  He then was selected as the chief, Resources and Capabilities Branch, Directorate of Maintenance Engineering.  In 1978, then Major Handel, assumed command of the 89th Field Maintenance Squadron, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and commanded the squadron until 1981.

Once again, Lt. Col. Handel proceeded overseas, this time to Anderson AFB, Guam where he served as the Chief of Maintenance, 605th Military Airlift Support Squadron.  He returned to Andrews AFB in 1982 as the executive officer and then as acting assistant for the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistic Headquarters, Air Force Systems Command and later as Chief, Acquisition Logistics Policy division until 1984.  After graduating from Air War College in 1985, he was promoted to Colonel and selected as the deputy director for Logistics plans, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB.

From 1987 thru 1989 Colonel Handel was the deputy commander for Maintenance, 438 Military Airlift Wing, McGuire AFB, N.J.  Under his leadership, the 438th Organization Maintenance Squadron was selected “Best in the Air Force for 1988” and during the following year, the 438th Avionics Squadron was also selected as “Best in the Air Force.”  He then served as the deputy chief of staff, logistics, Headquarters 21st Air Force at McGuire AFB.

In 1990, Colonel Handel returned to Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB as the deputy director of logistics and served in that role until his retirement from the Air Force in 1996.

Colonel Handel’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters and the Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

He is a graduate of the  Air Force Squadron Officer School, the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.  He was awarded a bachelor’s degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.  He later received two Master’s degrees with one in Management and one in Human Relations.

After David retired from the Air Force, he started his second career in the aerospace industry with Lockheed Martin.

David was a devout Catholic and a Fourth Degree Knight and also a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.  He was active in his churches’ and the Knights’ activities.

David was preceded in death by his son Christopher Vincent Handel; his parents, Wilfred and Bernadine Handel, his sister and brother-in-law JoAnne and Kenneth McCormick, Jr.

Surviving are his wife, Carol, nee Niederriter, Handel, his brother Wilfred “Bill” (Joan) Handel, his nephews, Kenneth (Ann) McCormick, III and William (Marlo) McCormick, and his great-nephews and great-nieces, Patrick, Meg, Kate, Molly, Macy and William.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Heartland Hospice 333 Salem Place, Fairview Heights, IL 62208. The online guestbook may be signed at www.wfh-ofallon.com .

The family received friends on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at St Nicholas Catholic Church, O’Fallon. The Knights of Columbus conducted a Fourth Degree Chalice Service at 7 pm, Tuesday, at the church.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at the church with Msgr. James Margason, presiding.

Interment to follow at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Shiloh, Ill.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Wolfersberger Funeral Home, O’Fallon.