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Friday, September 28, 2007

Henry Thornton Dietrich Jr.Navy Captain, Analyst

Henry Thornton "Beau" Dietrich Jr., 77, a retired Navy captain who worked as an analyst with military contractors, died Sept. 17 at Virginia Hospital Center of complications of back surgery. He lived in Great Falls.

Capt. Dietrich, who was born in San Diego, grew up in a Navy family and lived in Panama, Hawaii and Bermuda, as well as on both coasts of the United States. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951.

He served aboard several surface ships and was commanding officer of the USS Courser, a minesweeper. After serving as an aide to the superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School, he returned to sea and commanded the USS Whitfield County, a tank landing ship.

He was on the staff of the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Paris, then assumed command of the USS Damato, a destroyer that participated in operations off Vietnam and South America in 1968.

Capt. Dietrich later held positions with the chief of naval operations and with the Navy's military affairs and planning divisions at the Pentagon. From 1974 to 1976, he was based in Japan before returning to Washington, where he served in naval operations and as liaison to the State Department.

He retired from the Navy in 1980. His decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Capt. Dietrich later worked for Tracor, a government contractor, then spent 15 years as a senior analyst with BDM Corp. in McLean before his retirement in 2003.

He was a member of St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in McLean and served nine years on the vestry, including four years as senior warden. He enjoyed golf and was a member of the Army Navy Country Club. He volunteered with Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Ann Dietrich of Great Falls; four children, Louisa Shane Dietrich of McLean, Dr. Henry T. Dietrich III of Lock Haven, Pa., Navy Capt. King H. Dietrich of Burke and William C. Dietrich of Stowe, Vt.; a sister; and six grandchildren.

-- Matt Schudel

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