Melbourne – John Gavel, an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel on the permanent disability retirement list, passed away peacefully on the afternoon of February 9, 2023.
Colonel Gavel was born and raised in Sayreville, New Jersey. He came to Brevard County in 1994 when he was medically retired while serving as Chief, Joint Petroleum Office, United States Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii.
A 1965 graduate of Sayreville War Memorial High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Newark College of Engineering and a master’s degree, with distinction, in logistics management from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Fairborn, Ohio. He was inducted into Alpha Phi Omega, the National Service Fraternity, Sigma Iota Epsilon, the honorary management fraternity, and Alpha Iota Delta, the honorary Decision Sciences fraternity. He also was a graduate of the Air Force Squadron Officer School, Command and Staff College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and the Air War College.
Colonel Gavel received the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” device and two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Air Force Recognition ribbon, National Defense Medal with one star, Viet Nam Service Medal with one star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Overseas Short Tour ribbon with one oak leaf cluster, Overseas Long Tour ribbon with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Longevity Service ribbon with one silver oak leaf cluster, Small Arms Marksmanship ribbon, Air Training ribbon, Republic of Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Campaign Medal.
He enjoyed life, his family, friends, and every new day. He tried to make the world a better place to live in for everyone. His hope was that his military service contributed to the end of the cold war and the advancement of world peace.
He is survived by his son John J. Gavel, daughter-in-law Deanna L. Gavel, daughter Clare A. Saint Gabriel, and son-in-law Nick Saint Gabriel. Four grandchildren, Adelie, River, Xander, and Duncan Saint Gabriel.
He was preceded in death by his best friend and the greatest love of 52 years Cathy Gavel, beloved parents, John and Mary Gavel of Sayreville, and his two half-brothers, Arthur Pajak of Piscataway and Walter Pajak of Fords.
Colonel Gavel will be received at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Date and time of the ceremony will be announced when scheduled.