This week I would like to pay tribute to someone who was the finest soldier I had the pleasure to serve with. He was a better soldier than I. His name was Leonard Buckley and we buried him with full military honors in December 2015.
I first met Leonard Buckley in 1991. I was assigned as the Telecommunications Section NCO at the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron. I was a Master Sergeant (E-7) and he was one rank below mine as a Technical Sergeant (E-6). I was fulltime military and he was a Guard “Weekend Warrior”. At that time, we were working projects for the USAF worldwide. I was in Korea one month and Italy the next and all points in between. We had projects that were pure nightmares you can only imagine in foreign countries that have few codes, rules, or restraints concerning how things “got done”. It was very tricky at best.
I had to send a team or many teams to the far reaches of the world to accomplish what we had designed or hoped to design. The number one man was Buckley. A kind and gentle man with a stutter. You would think that a debilitating handicap. Don’t be fooled. He was tough as leather and smart. A decisive man and driven. If I had a nightmare location and project Buckley was the man to send. Every time he came back home with the respect and admiration of his team and the military customers who benefited from the work. Accolades always followed TSgt Buckley.
I remember as I rose in rank and he remained in my command structure I would relay how I wanted things done in my areas. He would give me that look. I would say “Buck, it’s my turn now, do as I direct and one day it will be yours and you can do whatever you want”. He did. He became the next Chief Master Sergeant surpassing everything I thought I had accomplished.
Why do I rely this to you this week? It is Black History month. Leonard Buckley, outstanding soldier, incredible leader, and gone way to young, remains my hero. He was African American. Patriot and Brother, the truest of the Buffalo Soldier tradition. Salute Leonard, I miss you every day.
Local doings in Hominy will include the Flag posting for President’s Day with flags being flown all over 17-22 February. We appreciate those veterans who take time and effort to reflect the patriotism of Hominy. That sets us apart from so many other communities.
Also, the results of the Midwinter Conference came in from Commander O’Leary and Vice Commander Swinford. Things are going well for the American Legion in Oklahoma. I bet you didn’t know that Charlie O’Leary is the District 1B Commander in Oklahoma. Big things come from our small city. We will be going up for the District 1 Conference in Vinita March 4th. I hope to attend.
One of our finest, Stan Mueller, has been working at the Hut renovating the interior for a display of historical photos. Things will be moving around. Including the mounting of our flat screen for permeant positioning thanks to Carl Blue. Salute boys!
Hearts aflutter! We are looking at Friday February 10th at 6:00pm for our annual Legion-Auxiliary Valentine Dinner at the Hut. The Legion will provide the meat dish (got the word it is smoked ribs…oh my, meat with handles) and Auxiliary/spouses the sides and desserts
The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for February, except when it is below freezing, are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of coffee. And meetings are the first and third Thursday evenings (Feb 16th).
Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.