Commander Victor 'Tory' Failmezger, USN Retired, (74) of Warren County, Virginia, passed away on July 2, 2021, after complications of heart failure. He was born in New Brunswick, NJ in 1947, the third child of Victor Failmezger and Mary Elizabeth Welch and the stepson of Dr. Paul D. Sturkie, Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University, all now deceased. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Patricia A. Grant, their son Christian and daughter Victoria Matthews and two grandsons. His is also survived by his sister, Stephanie Partilla of Huntington, Long Island. His brother, Robin Gregory, died in 2017.
Commander Failmezger graduated from East Brunswick High School class of 1965. He was active in track, band and was an Eagle Scout.
He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1969 with a degree in History. Subject to the US Military Draft, he enlisted in the US Navy.
He was first stationed at the NATO Base in Naples, Italy where in his off time he joined the Archaeological Team of Dr. R. F. Paget and worked on the ancient Roman road system north of Naples and the Oracle of the Dead at Baia.
In Italy, he met and married Patricia Grant of Council Bluffs, Iowa, a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the US Navy Nurse Corps stationed at the US Naval Hospital, Naples. While in Italy, Failmezger earned a Master's Degree in International Relations from Boston University, Naples, Italy campus.
Selected to attend Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida he was commissioned an Ensign, Special Duty Intelligence in April 1974. His first major assignment was to Attack Squadron VA-56, embarked on USS Midway and homeported in Yokosuka, Japan Most notable was his participation in Operation Frequent Wind, the emergency evacuation of Saigon in 1975.
The next assignment was at a US Naval Intelligence Center in Suitland, Maryland. Because of some innovative analytical work, the then Lieutenant Failmezger was appointed the Special Assistant to Rear Admiral Sumner Shapiro, the Director of Naval Intelligence and a Pentagon Aide to then Rear Admiral E.A. Burkhalter, Jr. the Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence.
He served for three years as the Assistant Naval Attache, in Rome, Italy. Back in the States, he joined Commander Carrier Group Eight and was embarked on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVAN-69) and the USS Nimitz (CVAN-68). Additionally he was part of the first staff to embark aboard the USS Iowa (BB-61) since WW2.
Following German language training in California, he was assigned as Director US Naval Science and Technical Unit, Munich, Germany. There he conducted naval intelligence information exchange with NATO Naval Allies, sought out innovative technologies and was often called to travel to East Berlin to exercise US Navy rights to enter that city.
His final Navy assignment was at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC, where he directed a team evaluating bomb damage inflicted during Operation Desert Storm.
Over the course of his 22 years in Naval Service, Commander Failmezger was awarded eight personal decorations including two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals and other commendation and achievement medals.
Entering civilian life, he worked for several small consulting companies bringing European technology to the United States and export US Technology to Europe. He was active with the US Department of Energy to transfer government developed technologies to the private sector and worked with NASA on Satellite Remote Sensing technology transfer issues. During the period he was featured speaker at international conferences in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Qatar.
At the same time he assisted Patricia with her architectural salvage business, Architectural Old House Parts of Front Royal, Virginia. Growing out of the experience he supervised the building of the family home a recreation of Thomas Jefferson's private house, Popular Forest in Warren Country.
For four years he served as a Warren County, Virginia, Planning Commissioner.
Commander Failmezger wrote and published six books. Most notably was American Knights, the story of the legendary WWII 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion and Rome, City in Terror, the Nazi Occupation 1943-1944, published by Osprey Publications of Oxford, UK. He was a long time member of the Ancient Numismatic Society of Washington and moderated two international numismatic conferences in York, England.
Commander Victor 'Tory' Failmezger, USN Retired will be buried at Arlington Cemetery on a date to be determined.
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Published by Northern Virginia Daily on Jul. 20, 2021.