Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Avenue of Heroes: Robert A. Breglio, Jr.

Prepared by: Marvin Heinze (friend)

A native of West Springfield, Massachusetts, Robert ‘Bob’ Anthony Breglio was touched early by military service. While his father and uncle served overseas during WWII, Bob’s daily job was hanging two silver star banners for family members in service. Bob enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1961, rating as a Machinery Repairman, and earned an engineering degree from Western New England College. He married his wife, Donna, in 1966 and was commissioned Ensign in 1967. First assigned to Patrol Squadron 48, he deployed to Adak, Iwakuni, Sangley Point, and Cam Ranh Bay as a Maintenance Officer.

Returning from Vietnam, Lieutenant Breglio joined VS21, the first operational S-3 Viking Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron and deployed to the Mediterranean onboard USS John F. Kennedy. On the night of November 22, 1975, in heavy seas off the coast of Sicily, the Kennedy collided with USS Belknap. The Belknap, wedged under the angled flight deck, burned fiercely as jet fuel rained down. Lieutenant Breglio’s general quarters were at the point of collision and he led the firefighting team in preventing further damage to the Kennedy. He received the Navy Achievement Medal for his actions.

Bob earned a master’s degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology and then served at the Naval Air Systems Command and on Secretary of Defense staff in Washington D.C. Commander Breglio and his family moved to Coronado in 1980, where he served on the USS Kitty Hawk as Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Head. In 1984, he transferred to the staff, COMNAVAIRPAC, serving as the Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Plans and Policy Officer.

In 1987, CAPT Breglio became the Navy Plant representative for the Tomahawk Missile Program at General Dynamics. Retiring in 1991, Bob provided engineering project support for various naval aviation systems.

Bob served on the Coronado Parks & Recreation Commission and led the annual ‘letters to the troops’ program. While President of the Silver Strand Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, he advocated for Coronado and Mar Vista High Schools’ NJROTC programs. He is currently a volunteer docent at the USS Midway Museum.

Captain Breglio and Donna raised two Coronado High School graduates, Robert and William, and together they have four grandchildren.

The Avenue of Heroes military service recognition program is sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 246 hometown heroes to date. On November 4, 2023, another 16 will be honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation.
In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. That moment made clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes.
That spontaneous beginning launched the program in May 2015 with 18 banners. The Avenue of Heroes is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to the country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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