Having served in three wars during his military career, Orange resident Robert Buck Rogers has devoted a lifetime of service helping military veterans. As treasurer of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1024, Buck assists vets in obtaining health claims for military injuries, as well as other types of assistance for those in need.
This Veterans Day, Buck and his wife, Karin, plan to attend the evening of remembrance in Garden Grove.
I like to stay active; it keeps my mind occupied, said Buck, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1945 and retired in 1974.
Working with aircraft his entire career, Buck began as a crew chief on R4Ds stateside in Virginia during World War II. In 1950, he went to Korea, where he served for two years as an R4D crew chief, taking supplies to the forward areas and transporting the wounded back to field hospitals. One of Bucks most vivid memories of combat involves crossing enemy lines to drop flares.
Each night, we were in charge of dropping flairs for our night fighters so they could see the enemy transportation driving by.
After the war, Buck was transferred back to North Carolina, and then to El Toro, working on command aircraft under the general there. He then spent three years on Oahu as a crew chief on R5D aircraftfor the Command for the Pacific Area. He returned to El Toro, and then headed off to Vietnam, where he served from 1968 to 69.
During the Vietnam War, Buck supervised aircraft maintenance for his squadron. He saw combat while delivering supplies and bringing back wounded.
It was routine work that had to be done, he recalls.
When Buck retired in 1974, he went to work for the Academy of Defensive Driving as an instructor, where he stayed until 1999. Living in the same house in Orange that he bought in 1961, Buck continues to work diligently on behalf of veterans.
We need to bring our troops home, Buck said. There are so many wounded who need help to move forward and live a normal life. We encourage people to become associate members of a veterans group to help out.
Published in the Nov/Dec 2011 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Karen Anderson, Photograph by Jeanine Hill
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