Don, a United States Army Sergeant, began life on Staten Island, first in Silver Lake, and then in Tottenville, where he grew up. He was involved in sports at Farrell and was a tremendous football player. He was a three-year member of the varsity, and an Advance All Star defensive tackle in his senior year when the Lions went undefeated. He also played golf.
In as much as his fellow classmates will remember him for being a well-known sportsman, he is remembered for his smile — a smile which could light up an entire room. You could always tell when he was around.
Like his Farrell brother Ken Schneider, Don enlisted in the Army a year after graduation. After completing jump school in Ft. Benning, Ga. he left for Vietnam as a member of the 25th Infantry Division, Fox Company, 75th Airborne Rangers, whose duty was long range reconnaissance.
At approximately 8:30 in the morning of April 2, 1970, Specialist 4th Class Tinney and fourteen other Fox Company men were helicoptered into Tay Nin Province, a known Viet Cong stronghold. They immediately found themselves under a withering machine-gun attack. They beat back the assault with hand grenades, but not before Don was hit. He was immediately evacuated to a field hospital at Long Binh, where he died of his injuries twelve days later, on April, 14.
For his heroic actions that day in repelling a superior enemy force, Don was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star for merit and a Purple Heart. He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant. Don was 20 years old. Under Don’s picture in his yearbook was the motto he lived by. “Never Give Up,” he wrote. He never did.
He is buried in Long Island National Cemetery, and his name appears on the Vietnam Memorial panel 11W, Line 004.