LTC Joseph P. Polito



Joseph P. Polito, Lieutenant Colonel, Air Force, Ret age 84 died peacefully with family by his side on Feb 25, 2018. He was born in Johnstown, PA to the late Peter and Catherine Polito and was predeceased by brother, Nicholas Polito and sister, Antoinette Polito Patterson. He is survived by wife, Betty Hockey Polito, children Joseph R., Nancy, Ronald, Marc, and Amy, and nine grandchildren. Since 2004, he and Betty resided in Bluffton, SC.
After graduation from the University of Pittsburgh in 1955, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and subsequently began a 24-year Air Force career primarily as an Air Traffic Control (ATC) Officer. Upon completion of the Federal Aviation ATC Academy in Oklahoma City, OK, he was assigned to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ATC Radar Control Center in Metz, France, where he had supervisory duties for American, Canadian, and French controllers, providing service to 13 NATO airbases. Later he was assigned Chief Controller, ATC Center, Sondrestrom Air Base, Greenland at a facility which provided enroute Atlantic Ocean crossing services to international civil and military aircraft under a U.S. and Denmark treaty agreement. Other assignments included Chief, ATC Center/Radar Approach Control Okinawa, Japan, where he supervised 146 controllers providing services to international civil and military aircraft and directly supporting the war in Vietnam, where he also served. Following that assignment, he served as Assistant Professor, AFROTC at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, instructing astronautics, political/military applications and written and oral communications to college juniors and seniors. In 1976, he was assigned duties as Airspace Manager and War Exercise Allocation of Airspace for live exercises and wartime planning scenarios by combined military forces for the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and other involved nations. Prior to retirement, he served as Director of Air traffic Control and Landing Systems, Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA, responsible for program implementation management of ATC communications-electronics and radar equipment/systems for 33 Air Force Bases. He and family members lived in three foreign countries (France, Okinawa, Italy). Betty and he traveled extensively, visiting more than 100 countries.
In 1968, he received a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS. After military service, he was an Assistant Professor, Thomas Nelson Community College, Newport News, VA where he taught computer science and business math and then Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL teaching management and supervision.
A funeral mass at Fort Meyers, VA will be followed by interment in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project. Arrangements will be handled by Sauls Funeral Home, Bluffton SC.