William J Breckner Jr. retired from mortal life and began eternal life early on the morning of February 16, 2008. Bud was born to the union of William J Breckner and Francis P Breckner of Sebring, Ohio on May 25, 1933. He attended Ohio State University before entering the aviation cadet program in 1955. For the next 32 ½ years he served the U. S. Air Force as a fighter pilot. Bud served numerous assignments through the years including postings in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Germany. In 1966, Bud flew as an exchange pilot with the navy for 38 months. He has over 200 carrier landings, including missions over North Vietnam. He returned to Southeast Asia in 1972. On July 30, 1972, his aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile while over Hanoi and he became a prisoner of war until his release in March 1973. Several assignments later, Bud was transferred to the Air Force Academy where he served as a deputy commandant and later vice commandant. He went on to more command assignments until his retirement in 1986. During his career, Bud amassed 5,100 hours in fighter aircraft and received military decorations including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. After his retirement to Colorado, Bud enjoyed skiing, working on the Colorado Springs Airport Commission and the Military Affairs Committee. He was also a proud member of the Falcon Foundation and attended many Air Force Academy sporting events and functions with his granddaughter Holli. Bud is survived by his son Randy and his wife Toni, daughter Kristen, granddaughter Holli, and his sister Pauline of The Dalles, Oregon. Other close relatives throughout the country also survive him. A memorial service will be held at the Air Force Academy Protestant Chapel February 23rd at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, Memorial Contributions may be made to The Disabled American Veterans.
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Published by The Gazette on Feb. 20, 2008.