Fort Sill honors two Fires icons with building dedication
The families of retired Lt. Generals Donald M. Lionetti and Thomas S. Vandal, two men who played major roles in shaping Fires as we know it, gathered May 1, 2023, to honor the men with a building dedication ceremony at Fort Sill. (Photo Credit: Chris Gardner) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SILL, Okla. (May 1, 2023) — Fort Sill honored two Fires legends posthumously when a building was named after them during a ceremony Monday.

Building 475, home to Fort Sill’s two cross functional teams, Long Range Precision Fires and Air and Missile Defense, was named Lionetti-Vandal Hall in honor of Lt. Generals Donald M. Lionetti and Thomas S. Vandal, two men who played major roles in shaping Fires as we know it today, said Brig. Gen. Shane Morgan, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general.

“If you were going to look at where we were, as a fires force, to where we are today, and being excited about where we're going — we’re here because of retired lieutenant generals Lionetti and Vandal,” said Morgan. “If you look at the Patriot (missile system) and the origins of the Patriot and how much of a critical asset that is right now for us and our partners and allies, well it started with a vision then it started with the fielding and employment, and that's Gen. Lionetti. If you want to look at field artillery, and as fire supporters, who we are and what we do for the joint force, the joint fires observer program and everything that Gen. Vandal invested in — it's all playing out today in our Army.”

Lt. General Donald M. Lionetti has had a distinguished career in the United States military, spanning over three decades following his graduation from West Point as an Artillery Officer in 1961. Throughout his career, he has held various positions, including commanding roles during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. He later held significant leadership roles at the United States Army Air Defense Artillery Center, the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, and the United States Army Space and Strategic Defense Command.

Lionetti's numerous awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Parachutist Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.

Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, a 1982 West Point graduate, had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army, including service in the Iraq War and as a senior leader in South Korea. From 2013 to 2018, Vandal held various leadership positions in South Korea, most notably as Commander of Eighth Army, during which he played a critical role in repositioning U.S. formations to Camp Humphreys and stationing the THAAD air defense system. He led soldiers during a period of escalating tensions with North Korea and was credited with significantly improving coordination between U.S. and South Korean troops.

Throughout his career, LTG Vandal has held various other key assignments, including Commander of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade and Commandant of the U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, as well as Director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization in the Army G-3/5/7 at the Pentagon. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.