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Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Navigator recalls high-flying military career


Published:   |   Updated: July 11, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Commendations: Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal (four), Air Medal (five), Air Force Commendation Medal, various Vietnam War and other service medals.

Looking back, Ron Buchert says he loved his time in the Air Force and was proud to serve. “During my 30-year career, I feel that I was able to use my leadership skills to get jobs done,” he adds.

When pressed, Buchert says that his most rewarding moment in the service was when he finished his tour in Vietnam in 1971.

As a navigator, he flew 170 combat missions in a propeller-driven EC-47. “We flew at 2,000 feet and 120 knots (138 mph), very low and very slow,” he recalls. Despite being an easy target for enemy ground forces, Buchert and his crew “finished the tour without getting shot down or having an accident. We came home safe.”

Prior to his stint in Vietnam, Buchert accrued 2,000 hours as a navigator on B-52s, including 25 24-hour airborne alert missions, three of which were conducted during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After his tour of Vietnam, he served in command positions with SAC missile operations, at facilities housing Titan II and Minuteman III missiles.

Buchert says that his favorite duty stations during his Air Force career were Tucson, Arizona, and Norfolk, Virginia. In Norfolk, he served on the faculty of the Air Command and Staff College and as dean of the Department of Professional Development with the Armed Forces Staff College.

Since retiring, Buchert serves in civic organizations as well as with the Military Officers Association of America. He and wife Shirley have a son, two daughters, five granddaughters and a grandson.

“It was rewarding to serve with people who liked their jobs and did their jobs well,” Buchert says of his time in the Air Force. “As a commander, you’re always grateful when the people under you do their jobs well.”

Do you know a veteran to feature on this page? Email kenneth .hall54@gmail.com.

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