Donald F. Barningham, age 63, of Copperas Cove, Texas passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2020, in Killeen, Texas. Funeral Services will be at 1:30 PM, Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at Viss Family Funeral Home, 1614 S. FM 116 in Copperas Cove. Visitation will be an hour prior to the service. He will be placed at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 3:00 PM.
Don was born on October 30, 1957, to the late Donald and Nora Mae Moody Barningham, Sr. in Fort Smith, AR. He graduated from high school in Baumholder, Germany, first in his class, while his father was stationed there. At the age of 17, in April 1975, Don joined the United States Army and soon served as an Airborne “Red Leg” Artilleryman in the elite 509th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy. Nearly 30 years later in 2004, after also serving at Fort Sill, as a recruiter in California and Nevada, in Germany, Fort Lewis and Fort Hood, deploying to both DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM and being awarded the Bronze Star and numerous Service Awards, Don culminated his distinguished Army career as a Master Parachutist and senior Army leader, serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), Caserma Ederly in Italy, which included as a subordinate unit, the famed 173rd Airborne Brigade. As the SETAF Command Sergeant Major, Don routinely participated in night combat parachute training and readiness operations in Italy and Germany, as well as nation building, presence and military readiness parachute operations into Kosovo, Bosnia, Hungary, and the Ukraine, and a special staff training orientation in Russia. Always a champion of training readiness, professional development, and the health and welfare of Soldiers and families living overseas, Don’s exemplary role model leadership was honored and recognized in a full parade field retirement ceremony and receipt of the Legion of Merit in 2004. Don met Nadia Coracin of Treviso, Italy while serving his second tour in Italy in 1979. They later married in Old Shasta, California on June 5, 1983. Nadia and Don were an exemplary Command Team and left a lasting positive impact on thousands of Soldiers and their families, particularly important while serving overseas - including during the critical time of the tragic Twin Towers attacks and the force protection uncertainty of living overseas that followed. Words cannot express the gratitude and respect of Soldiers and families who had the privilege of serving with Don and Nadia Barningham. In his rare moments of spare time, Don enjoyed woodworking and playing golf.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Nora “Patty” Barningham.
Don is survived by his wife, Nadia Barningham; siblings, Roy Charles Barningham, Joyce Mae Pearson, Deborah Edith June Buman, Ronald Allen Barningham and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.