PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif - Oct. 4, 2021 marks 56 years since U.S. Army Maj. Charles F. De Amaral Jr. was killed in action during the Vietnam War while flying a reconnaissance mission over enemy territory. For Gold Star Widow, Mrs. Frank De Amaral Jr., it has been 55 years since she visited the Patio Ibero-Americano, a fountain on the Presidio, in 1966 for its dedication to her husband’s memory.
Maj. Frank De Amaral Jr., a native of Carmel, California, served as an Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Following his death on Oct. 4, 1965, the Patio Ibero-Americano Memorial Fountain was established in 1966 on the Presidio in honor of Maj. De Amaral Jr. and his sacrifice.
The Patio Ibero-Americano is located on the eastern side of building 624 on the Presidio and is inspired by a similar patio in Cadiz, Spain. The fountain and the tiled benches are made with tiles decorated in a Moorish pattern which came from kilns in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The construction of the fountain in 1966 was carried out with the cooperation of the faculty and students of the Defense Language Institute’s Spanish and Portuguese departments at the time. The goal of the fountain and patio was to further an understanding of the culture of the Spanish and Portuguese speaking people.
According to an excerpt from the Fort Ord Panorama publication on June 24, 1966, Col. Richard J. Long, DLI Commandant at the time, presided over the dedication ceremony which included a presentation of the title plaque. The plaque, still located at the fountain, reads:
“In memory of Major Frank De Amaral Jr., and his Companeros. They have fought and died to uphold the principles of freedom and the dignity of people everywhere.”
As a Gold Star Family, the De Amaral family is able to access the Presidio by use of the Survivor Access Badge. Gold Star survivors are the parents, spouses, children and siblings of fallen active-duty service members.
All Gold Star Family members are encouraged to apply for the Survivor Access Badge through an application with the installation Survivor Outreach Service office or contact the installation Survivor Outreach coordinator, Mr. Nathaniel Pleasantbey at Nathaniel.firstname.lastname@example.org.