He was the oldest of seven children born to Alfred and Hazel Dondero.There were five boys and two girls. A wonderful son, brother, step-father and uncle .
He joined the Army at a very young age and spent 22 years of his too short life in service of our country. He didn't marry until his later years. He was stationed in The Hague in 1958-59. That is where he met and became good friends with Ted and Marie Doan, who introduced him to Helen Davis. The rest is history.
Aunt Helen lost her will to go on and left us less than a year after he did. It has been said that she died from a broken heart. She is buried beside him at Arlington National Cemetary.
"The last time we saw him was February 14, 1969. He and my Aunt Helen arrived at our home armed with gifts and jelly filled doughnuts before leaving for Vietnam. Dad was in Vietnam already, this was Uncle Spikes 3rd tour of duty. His visits, being a career military man, were very few and far between ...but always memorable.
Sergeant Major Sam Hadley said of him:
"'Vietnam was a hot, humid place, and it was a job to keep the jungle uniform looking neat, but your uncle changed uniforms twice a day. He was our senior NCO and always set an example for the rest of us. God, how I admired that man. I miss him and will never forget him. In my 30 years in the Army, I never met a more perfect gentleman and soldier'"
At the time of his death he was visiting one of his subordinate MACV Teams in Quang Duc Province. While they were visiting, the team started receiving incoming rockets.The team made a dash for the helicopter to get airborne and out of there. They all made it except for my uncle. I was told that a rocket landed in front of him as he was running. The upward blast and shrapnel caught him at about his waist line.