Downloaded from SJ Mercury News 12.24.15

David A. Appling

1936 - 2015 Obituary
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David A. Appling
Aug. 6, 1936 - Dec. 10, 2015
Resident of Morgan Hill

Col. David A. Appling (US
Army, Ret.) passed away unexpectedly at his home in Morgan Hill on December 10. Dave was born in San Mateo, the eldest child of Richard H. Appling and Kathleen E. Appling (née Armitage) and attended Our Lady of Angels School in Burlingame and Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Upon graduating from Bellarmine in 1953, he enrolled at MIT, where he participated in ROTC and earned his Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

After earning his degree, he was commissioned as lieutenant in the US Army in 1957, subsequently serving in a variety of command and staff positions in the United States, Germany, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. The last half of his army career was spent in R&D and acquisition, primarily in tank system and design, most notably as the Project Manager of the main armament system of the M1 Abrams tank. After retiring from the army in 1983, Dave joined FMC's Defense Systems Group where he held a variety of engineering and program management positions, including co-manager of Armored Vehicle Technologies Associated, a pioneering joint venture between FMC and General Dynamics. After 10 years with FMC, Dave spent several years as a Vice President of SIMCO Electronics, and later joined Allied Aerospace as manager of their NASA Ames Research Center operations. Retiring from Allied in January 2004, he spent his final years as the principal of Appling & Associates, a defense/aerospace consulting service.
Dave's awards include the Commander's Cross of Germany's Federal Order of Merit (a Presidential award), Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster,
Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, the California Adjutant General's Commander Award for Public Service, and the National Defense Industrial Association's Firepower Medal.

After his retirement from the army in 1983, Dave also became extremely active in the Association of the United States Army, eventually serving as AUSA's Sixth Region President, and as California State President. Among his many accolades from AUSA are the 2009 Major General Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Medal and the 2012 John J. Pershing Distinguished Service Award.

A great believer in lifelong education, Dave received an MS in Applied Mechanics from UC Berkeley, an MBA with distinction from Santa Clara University, and was a graduate of the Army War College. Dave was avidly interested in linguistics, foreign languages, contemporary history, military history, and religious studies. A book was never far from his hands.

Dave's other pastimes included hiking in the Sierra, singing, traveling, cryptic crosswords, playing with his grandchildren, and volunteering at his parish, St. Catherine's in Morgan Hill, where he was a liturgical minister and beloved leader of Bible study. He was also a die-hard fan of the San Francisco Giants and seldom missed a single broadcast during baseball season. While stationed in Gelnhausen, Germany in 1963, Dave met the love of his life, Caroline (née McKenzie) and they were married there in 1964. Over 51 years of marriage they raised two sons and traveled the world together.

Dave is survived by his wife, Caroline Appling, son John Appling, son Tom Appling (Wendy), grandchildren McKenzie, Owen, and Bekah Appling, and his sister Elizabeth Appling (Karen).

A funeral mass for Dave will be held at St. Catherine's church in Morgan Hill on December 30th at 10:00 o'clock followed by an inurnment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Los Altos, at 2 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, we suggest a donation in his name to Sentinels of Freedom ( one of Dave's favorite causes. Condolences can be made at

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 23, 2015

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