Eugene “Gene” Derricotte
June 14, 1926 – March 31, 2023
Class: 46-B-TE
Graduation date: 5/14/1946
From: Detroit MI

Dr. Derricotte was born June 14, 1926 in Fostoria, Ohio, to Clarence C. Derricotte and Bessie M. (Anderson) Derricotte, the second of three sons, He was graduated from Defiance High School, Defiance, Ohio, in 1944. After attending the University of Michigan from June 1944 to December 1944, he began his military career by entering the Army as a cannoneer in the Field Artillery stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Later he transferred to the Army Air Corps and began pilot training as an aviation cadet at Tuskegee, Alabama.

In April 1945 he began Primary Flight Training in a PT-17 Stearman, a bi-winged aircraft. In Basic Flight Training he flew a North American AT-6 aircraft. Dr. Derricotte opted for multi-engine training for his final Advance Phase, which was carried out in Billy Mitchell B-25 bombers.

After graduating at Tuskegee Army Air Field May 1946, with silver wings and a second lieutenant’s gold bar, he served two months before being separated from the service and subsequently went on inactive duty as a member of the active reserve force.

Dr. Derricotte’s military achievements have been recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Force Commendation Medal (2), World War Il Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. Air Force Longevity Service Award with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, National Defense Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Derricotte from 1948 team portrait

Dr. Derricotte returned to the University of Michigan September 1946, to enter the School of Pharmacy. Four years later he received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy and concluded four years as a varsity member of the University of Michigan football team. He received four football letters while playing on teams that won the 1948 Rose Bowl and the Big Ten Conference Football Championships for 1947 and 1948. A brief career with the Cleveland Browns NFL Football Team was ended by a knee injury. Dr. Derricotte returned to Detroit, Michigan and worked as a pharmacist until 1954, when he entered the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan. He graduated in 1958 and was in private practice in Detroit, Michigan until 1962, when he entered the United States Air Force Dental Service as a Captain. His first assignment was the 821st Medical Group, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

In the spring of 1965, he was assigned to Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam, as senior dental officer for the 2nd Air Division. After a 13-month tour, he was promoted to Major and awarded the Air Force Commendation and Bronze Star medals.

He returned to the United States in June 1966, where he served as Officer In Charge (OIC) of the Dental Services at the 551st Hospital, Otis AFB, and in Massachusetts. Within three years he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In February 1971 he was assigned to Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. He served as Chief, Oral Surgery Service at the Base Dental Clinic until his reassignment to Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in July 1973. In June 1974 he was promoted to Colonel. In July 1976 he was named Base Dental Surgeon for the USAF Clinic, Hickam AFB, HI, serving in that position until July 1978 when he was reassigned to Langley AFB, VA, as the Base Dental Surgeon. He remained there until November 1979 when was named the Command Dental Surgeon for the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. After five years at the Air Force Academy, Colonel Derricotte was awarded the Legion of Merit and subsequently assigned to Chanute AFB, IL, as Base Dental Surgeon. That was his final assignment. He retired from the Air Force July 1985.


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