#VeteranOfTheDay Don Rickles


Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Don Rickles. After graduating from high school in New York, Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for two years during World War II on the motor torpedo boat tender USS Cyrene as a seaman first class.

Don sailed on the USS Cyrene through the Panama Canal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and San Francisco. He has said of one deployment, “It was so hot and humid, the crew rotted.” He was honorably discharged in 1946.

After the war, Don became one of comedy’s most famous funnymen. He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars.

His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Show with David Letterman.”

For more than 55 years he has appeared in top showrooms and concert halls throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Don Rickles passed away today, April 6, 2017.  He was 90 years old.

We honor his service.


Melissa Heintz

Melissa Heintz joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 and worked as the National Veterans Day Coordinator, National Veterans Outreach. She grew up on an Army base in Japan before her family relocated to Hawaii. She holds a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications and Spanish from Seattle University. Melissa has served as a public affairs specialist with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In December 2015, Melissa commissioned in the Air National Guard as a public affairs officer.


  1. Jesus Perez    


  2. Larry Hernandez    

    Rest in Peace my brother-in-arms. Thank you for your service

  3. Miles E. Palasz    

    Thank you for your service sir. May God grant eternal rest unto you…

  4. C. Edward Witte    

    Even though his humour would be caustic some of the time his voluntary service with the U.S. Navy during World War Two puts him into an entirely different class of people. His presence in all of our lives now and then gives us a lot to be thankful for. His recent passing is very unfortunate and leaves us with a lot of memories.

  5. Dabonenose    

    I never was excited by his work as a comedian, however his service to our country made him a cut above the pack.

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