Duane M. Buckmaster

Duane M. Buckmaster, 776th
20 November 1915 -
5 September 2017

Duane ‘Buck’ M. Buckmaster was born November 20, 1915 and served proudly in the Army Air Force during World War II and later in Korea.  He was a part of the 464th Bomb Group of the Fifteenth Army Air Force stationed in Pantanella, Italy during 1943-44 where he served as a co-pilot on B-24s.  In Korea, he flew troop transports and left the service with a rank of Major.  After proudly serving his country, Buck returned to United Airlines where he retired in 1985 from a long and distinguished forty plus year career ending as Senior VP of Human Resources and Labor Relations.  After his retirement, he became the Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington D.C., later pursuing a private practice as a mediator and labor arbitrator.  Finally retiring in 2005, he pursued his love of fly-fishing for the wily trout, reading history and science, and writing a wonderful memoir titled “If I meet God, I’m Gonna Take Him Flyfishing”, that vividly tells the story of the Ploesti bombings and his time as a POW in Bucharest, Romania.  Buck and his crew were shot down after a raid on the Ploesti oil refineries on June 6, 1944 and spent almost a full year as POWs.

At the end of his life, Buck struggled with dementia but he never lost his zest for life or his gentle smile.  He leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Sharon.  Buck felt very strongly that people shouldn't be embarrassed or ashamed by this illness and chose to donate his brain tissue to the Alzheimer's and Dementia Research Project at the Oregon Brain Bank.  To the very end, he was a man of principle and integrity.  Many at his memorials mentioned that he was their embodiment of the "Greatest Generation".  He is greatly missed.