Veteran Salute: Vietnam vet worked radar for air traffic

Veteran Salute

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – A veteran, who now calls Great Bend home, signed up for the Army after high school and that was right after Vietnam started.

The car enthusiast figured if he enjoyed working on automobiles, the same would go for aircraft.

Larry Buczinski said after he graduated near the top of the class and got a lot of great experience in air traffic control, that’s the area he landed in.

He said he operated the radar and kept pilots and crews out of of harms way.

As traffic was building in the skies above Vietnam, Buczinski was operating the radar.

“I figured if the United States could use me, I’ll be there,” Vietnam veteran Larry Buczinski said.

He ended up in the jungle on two tours.

“A rocket came in and it hit about 15 feet from me and it didn’t blow up, so I think that was the Lord’s work,” Buczinski said.

He said there was never a dull moment, just off the runway.

“There was a lot of times if I hadn’t given them the guidance they wouldn’t have made it,” Buczinski said.

He said sometimes he even heard from those he saved.

“When he landed, he said, I owe you my life,” Buczinski said.

He said while with the 1st Aviation Brigade he prevented a mid-air collision.

He said he was at Fort Leonard Wood when he was called in about a big honor.

“I got called into the Airfield Commander’s office, and I walked in at attention and saluted him, he said you don’t have to salute, relax,” Buczinski said.

He said a general handed him the Aviation Safety Award.

Buczinski would go on to win many other accolades, as his service in the Army continued as an MP.

He then continued his career in law enforcement, as a more than twenty year veteran of the police force in Ellinwood.

Buczinski says he is just thankful to have served his country.

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