Maj Wintford “Dick” Bazzell

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Dick Bazzell was born on December 6, 1925, in Delta, Missouri. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from September 1943 to July 1944, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 7, 1944. After completing basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he was assigned as an infantryman with 1st Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment of the 44th Infantry Division, deploying to Europe from February to July 1945. SSG Bazzell received an honorable discharge from the Army on June 28, 1946, and later enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve on September 20, 1948. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Air Force on February 17, 1951, and went on active duty beginning September 30, 1951.

Lt Bazzell next completed Radar Observer Training at James Connally AFB, Texas, in February 1952, followed by Aircrew Interceptor Training at Tyndall AFB, Florida, in April 1952. He served as an F-94C Starfire Radar Intercept Officer with the 58th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, from April 1952 to March 1953, and then completed pilot training, earning his pilot wings at Bryan AB, Texas, in February 1954. After completing F-84 Thunderjet Combat Crew Training, Lt Bazzell served as an instructor pilot with the 3625th and then the 3626th Combat Crew Training Groups at Tyndall AFB from June 1954 to November 1958. Capt Bazzell served as a Weapons Controller and Operations Officer with the 720th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron at Middleton Island, Alaska, from December 1958 to December 1959. His next assignment was as a Weapons Controller and then Detachment Commander of Detachment 1, 728th AC&W Squadron at Pope AFB, North Carolina, from December 1959 to September 1961.

He then received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University from September 1961 to August 1963. His next assignment was in the Telemetry Section Range Development Laboratory with the 3208th Test Group at Eglin AFB, Florida, from August 1963 to February 1964, followed by service as a Physicist in the Data & Telemetry Branch with Headquarters Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin from February 1964 to October 1966. He next completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training in March 1967, and then served as an F-105 pilot and Chief of Briefing-Scheduling with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from May 1967 to February 1968. Maj Bazzell’s final assignment was as a Laboratory Staff Scientist with the Air Force Armament Laboratory, Armament Development and Test Center with Air Force Systems Command at Eglin AFB from March 1968 until his retirement from the Air Force on March 1, 1974.

Bizzell earned 11 Distinguished Flying Crosses during his time of service. His 10th (of 11) reads:

“Major Wintford L. Bazzell distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot over North Vietnam on 19 December 1967. On that date, Major Bazzell was a member of a flight of four F-105 Thunderchiefs assigned to engage hostile surface to air missile sites in support of a major attack. Under continuous fire from eight surface to air missile sites and countless antiaircraft artillery sites, Major Bazzell made repeated attacks on the missile sites threatening the strike force. As a direct result of his courageous actions, the force was able to successfully attack its assigned target in the most heavily defended area of North Vietnam without the loss of a single aircraft. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Bazzell reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

We honor you, Wintford Bazzell.

(#Repost @Veteran Tributes)

Capt Mark Weber

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Seven U.S. Armed Forces members — including one whose parents live in southern Denton County — were when a military helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to information from Moody Air Force Base and Bartonville Mayor Bill Scherer.

Bartonville residents Ron and Margaret Weber lost their son, Air Force Capt. Mark Weber, 29, in the crash on March 15, 2018, according to the news releases.

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Capt. Weber is survived by his parents, according to Scherer, as well as four siblings: Leah Weber, currently serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force; Kathrine Weber, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard; Lori Weber, a nurse; and Kristen Weber, a writer and Christian stand-up comedian.

Capt. Weber was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2011 and served as a Combat Rescue Officer, according to Scherer’s statement. Capt. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, 23rd Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, and was serving in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilots and crews face the most highly dangerous and hazardous missions risking their lives going into combat zones in an effort to rescue the wounded and downed pilots.

Capt. Weber also did rescue work in the United States during the hurricanes just last year.

“We are indebted to Capt. Weber’s service, commitment, and sacrifice to our nation,” Scherer’s statement said. “Because of his bravery and selflessness, we enjoy daily freedom and security. It is our duty to honor and never forget the sacrifice that Capt. Weber made.

“The Town of Bartonville extends heartfelt prayers and condolences to the Weber family and all affected by this tragedy.”

We honor you, Mark Weber.

(#Repost @Cross Timbers Gazette)

LTC Charles “Chad” Buehring

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Lt. Col. Charles “Chad” Buehring was commissioned as an Infantry Officer from The Citadel in 1985. His first assignment was with the newly formed 2-22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division as a platoon leader at Fort Benning, Ga., and later as a company executive officer at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Graduating from Special Forces Assessment and Selection in 1989 and the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1990, Buehring served as an operational-detachment-alpha commander in 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), leading multiple missions to Botswana. He was one of the first U.S. military personnel deployed in support of the United Nations operations to Somalia in 1992.

In June 1994, Buehring graduated the Functional Area 39 course at Fort Bragg, N.C. with a follow-on assignment as a team leader in the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). While assigned to the 96th CA Battalion, Buehring supported the 15t Armored Division’s entry into the former Yugoslavia during Operation Noble Eagle.

From 1998 to 2001, Buehring served as detachment commander with Company A, 8th PSYOP Battalion, where he served at the detachment commander supporting Operation Desert Fox delivering more than two million leaflets into Iraq.

As the S3 of the 3rd Battalion (Dissemination), Buehring personally executed the delivery of print assets to South Korea and Guam, enabling a key component of PSYOP support to CONPLANs and OPLANs on the peninsula. He was also responsible for laying the foundation of what is now the Media Operations Center.

Finally, as the battalion operations officer, Buehring planned, resourced and executed global production, dissemination and distribution support to both active and reserve component PSYOP units.

In 2003, Buehring served as senior Psychological Operations planner for U.S. Army Central Command. In this capacity, Buehring represented the PSYOP Regiment by reporting directly to the commanding officer, Coalition Forces Land Component Command on all PSYOP supporting programs. These programs directly supported 5th Corps and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force combat operations in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Upon the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, Buehring was offered the opportunity to return to the United States with his unit; he volunteered to remain in Baghdad to establish a Military Information Support Team to support the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

During the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2003, Iraqi insurgents launched a rocket attack targeting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who was staying at the AI Rashid Hotel. As the first salvo of rockets impacted the AI Rashid, Buehring pushed a group of fellow Soldiers gathered in his room to safety in the hallway before returning to the window to engage the enemy. At that time a second salvo of rockets impacted the AI Rashid, mortally wounding Buehring. After his death, Camp Udaire in Kuwait was memorialized Camp Buehring, serving as the staging area for U.S. troops going into the Middle Eastern Theater Reserve.

We honor you, Charles “Chad” Buehring.

(#Repost @USASOC Fallen)

SFC Randall David Shugart

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Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader Gary Gordon, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position.

Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

During his military service, SFC Randall David Shugart also served in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D)

Randall David “Randy” Shughart (August 13, 1958 – October 3, 1993) was a United States Army soldier of the special operations unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), also known as “Delta Force”. Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.

We honor you, Randall Shughart.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @Airborne Ranger in the Sky)

Lt Col John R. “Bob” Pardo

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John R. “Bob” Pardo, a “MiG-Killer” credited with one victory and three assists, performed one of the most spectacular feats of piloting during the war in Southeast Asia. Pardo grew up in Heame, Texas, and after a year of college, entered the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program, earning his wings and commission in May 1955 at Bryan AFB, Texas. He was one of eight second lieutenants who went directly from flight training to the swept-wing, state-of-the-art Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. In 1956, after three months at England AFB, Louisiana, Pardo reported to the 79th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at RAF Woodbridge, United Kingdom. After 18 months flying F-84Fs, the squadron converted to North American F-100 Super Sabres. In 1959, Pardo returned to the States for weapons controller training.

While a controller at MacDill AFB, Florida, Pardo also flew as instructor pilot for Colonel Paul Tibbets. He was next assigned to the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment facility at Gunter AFB, Alabama, and in 1962, returned to operational flying in Air Defense Command’s 326th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri. He checked out in the Convair F-102 Delta Dart. In 1964, he transitioned to the Convair F-106 Delta Dagger and reported to the 27th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Loring AFB, Maine. In 1966, he returned to MacDill AFB to upgrade to McDonnell F-4 Phantom IIs and then reported to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron in Thailand. As a member of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing “Wolf Pack,” he flew 132 combat sorties including 100 over North Vietnam. On 20 May 1967, Pardo flew MiG CAP for Republic F-105 Thuds.

Inbound from the Gulf of Tonkin to strike the Bac Le railyard, the “Wolf Pack” ran into 12 to 14 MiG 17s. In a swirling dogfight, four MiGs were quickly destroyed. Pardo scored first. After his first missile failed to guide, he fired a Sidewinder, which downed the number-four MiG. Firing the rest of his missiles, he made mock attacks while the Thuds completed their strikes.

On 10 March 1967, while flying over North Vietnam, the F-4s of Pardo and his wingman were hit by enemy fire. Out of fuel, the wingman’s aircraft flamed out. With his badly damaged aircraft, Pardo decided to “push” the other plane to safety, wedging his wingman’s tailhook in front of his windscreen. When Pardo’s left engine caught fire, he shut it down and continued to “push” on one engine. Over Laos, all four crewmembers ejected and were safely recovered. More than twenty years later, Pardo finally received the Silver Star in a ceremony at Shaw AFB, South Carolina.

Following his combat tour, he flew the F-4 in the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron, RAF Bentwaters, for three years.

He was posted to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, to instruct in the 310th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, the central school for Phantom instructors. In 1973, Pardo completed his 20-year career in the USAF as wing Chief of Training Analysis and Development. In 1974, he retired from the Air Force with over 4,500 hours of fighter time and began a second career in corporate jet aviation. In 1980, he became chief pilot for the Adolph Coors Brewing Company.

We honor you, John R. Pardo.

(#Repost @GoE Foundation)

BG Joseph V. Medina

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Since the days of the American Revolution, the Armed Forces have served as a place in which conflicts of race could be put aside for the protection of the nation and its people. Through a career that spanned 31 years, Brigadier General Joseph V. Medina served his country with both dignity and honor.

General Medina is one of four Hispanic officers to ever obtain a rank of Brigadier General or higher in the United States Marine Corps, and was the first Marine to take command of a naval flotilla. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal for his command skills, as well as for the tremendous responsibilities Medina took on throughout his career.

During his service, General Medina was a vocal proponent of the recruitment of Hispanics into the Marine Corps. As of 2013,  approximately 157,000 armed servicemen – 11.4 percent of active duty members and 18 percent of the total Marine population – were of Latin-American descent. While debate rages on about immigration reform and national languages, it’s important to remember the role proud Hispanic Americans take in the defense of their home, be it adopted or not. General Medina is testament to that much.

We honor you, Joseph Medina.

(#Repost @Chambers Primary School Hispanic Month Appreciation wall)

 

Lt Col Gregory A. M. Etzel

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Greg Etzel was born on April 9, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt through the Air Force ROTC program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, on June 7, 1957, and went on active duty beginning February 27, 1958. Lt Etzel next completed pilot training and was awarded his pilot wings at Craig AFB, Alabama, in April 1959, followed by Helicopter Pilot training at Stead AFB, Nevada, from May to October 1959.

His first assignment was as an SH-21B Work Horse helicopter pilot with the 46th Air Rescue Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, from November 1959 to March 1960, and then as an SH-21B Rescue Alert Pilot with Headquarters Air Force Iceland at Keflavik Airport, Iceland, from March 1960 to March 1961. He then served as an H-21 and then CH-3C Jolly Green Giant pilot with the 1371st and 1375th Mapping and Charting Squadrons at Turner AFB, Georgia, from March 1961 to June 1967, followed by service as an HH-3E pilot with Detachment 2 of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from June to October 1967. Capt Etzel next served as an HH-3E pilot with Detachment 1 of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from October 1967 to July 1968.

He then attended Naval Test Pilot School from July 1968 to June 1969, followed by service as an Aerospace Research Flight Test Officer in the VTOL Section with the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California, from August 1969 to August 1973. LtCol Etzel served as an HH-3E pilot and Operations Officer with the 1st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at McClellan AFB, California, from August 1973 to April 1975, and then as a Flight Test Officer with the Flight Test Engineering Division, 6510th Test Wing, at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB from November 1975 until his retirement from the Air Force on July 1, 1979.

His official Air Cross Citation reads:

“Captain Gregory A. M. Etzel distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force in Southeast Asia as an HH-3E helicopter pilot on 2 and 3 July 1967. On the 2nd of July, Captain Etzel flew his helicopter into one of the most heavily defended area of North Vietnam to rescue a downed F-105 pilot. Unable to effect a pickup because of oncoming darkness and intense small arms fire that damaged his aircraft, Captain Etzel withdrew from the area. After landing at a friendly base, he volunteered to continue rescue operations the next day. After minimum rest, he took off at first light and flew through intense automatic fire, dodged deadly missiles, and evaded attacking MIGs in search of the downed pilot. In the face of heavy small arms fire that severely damaged his helicopter, he located and rescued this valuable pilot. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Etzel reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

Major Richard Mehr flew combat support in his A-1E Skyraider to defend the downed pilot in this rescue effort and aided Captain Etzel’s recovery effort. For his actions, Major Mehr was also awarded the Air Force Cross.

We honor you, Gregory Etzel.

(#Repost @Veteran Tributes and Hall of Valor)