Death of Colonel Robert J. Malvesti, JSOC Special Forces, Due to Failing Parachute
MALVESTI PRAISED AS "QUIET WARRIOR"
THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER Thursday, August 2, 1990
Col. Richard J. Malvesti served his country for 23 years - in Vietnam, the Grenada rescue mission and Operation Just Cause in Panama.
He served with infantry, ranger, airborne and Green Beret units and was awarded the Legion of Merit, twice earned the Bronze Star Medal, once for valor, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He was twice presented the Meritorious Service Medal.
He was a master parachutist who earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge in Vietnam.
On July 26, the 44-year-old officer died when his parachute malfunctioned in a jump at Fort Bragg's Holland Drop Zone.
"It's a tragic loss for all of us," said Col. Don Gersh, public affairs officer for the Army Special Operations Command. "You do not expect to be injured in this type of training accident, but it can happen and you accept it.
"It is one of the inherent dangers of being a soldier, especially a paratrooper. It's a dangerous business being a soldier."
The cause of the parachute malfunction is being investigated by the Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., Col. Gersh said.
Lt. Gen. Gary E. Luck, commander of Fort Bragg and 18th Airborne Corps, said he had known Col. Malvesti for many years and felt privileged to have worked with him.
"He was the best soldier I've ever known, a professional in every detail and a role model for everyone," Gen Luck said. "I will miss him personally, and the Army will miss his total professionalism and his selfless dedication to duty.
"My heart, my prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
Since 1980, Col. Malvesti has been assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command and other special operation units at Fort Bragg. He was director of operations for the command, and was slated to assume command of the Seventh Special Forces Group A in summer of 1991.
Col. Gersh said the command is made up of "quiet professionals who go out and do the job, don't say anything and don't boast. ... He was one of the quiet professionals, the quiet warriors."
He has held assignments with ranger, infantry and airborne units, including operations officer for the 82nd Airborne Division Support Command.
A native of Quincy, Mass., the colonel is survived by his wife, Carol S. Malvesti; and two daughters, Michele, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, and Daniele, a junior at Seventy-First High School.