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Ensuring stability in the sky

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Veteran Salute: Ensuring stability in the sky

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Serving with the Air Force across Korea and Vietnam, Barry Buessing ensured safety and stability for those taking to the skies.

Back in the late 1960’s, Buessing had an important decision to make after high school, join the service or attend more schooling. He ended up doing a bit of both, choosing the branch he did for a couple of key reasons.

“I had a cousin that was in the air force,” Buessing said, “and I just always liked to see planes or watch them in air shows. That’s why if I went into the Air Force I’d like to be an Aircraft Mechanic on fighter jets.”

Veteran Salute: Healing abroad and in Topeka

As fate would have it, he would do just that! Buessing served as an aircraft mechanic and crew chief all over the globe.

“I volunteered for Vietnam first choice and Korea my second,” he said. “They sent me to Osan Korea for a year on F4’s. The F4 just flew along the DMZ between North and South to keep an eye on the North Koreans. When my time was up there, I volunteered for Vietnam again, and I got Danang. “

That’s where Buessing would spend another year of his service.

“We worked 12 hours a day seven days a week,” Buessing said. “Time went fast, and then we had a rocket attack about every two weeks.”

Within his roles, he helped out with aircraft maintenance and ensuring pilot safety.

“One day a plane come back all shot up, and he had to make an emergency landing,” Buessing said. “He lost his flaps, finally got a stop clear out of the end of the runway with a catch and a cable. Another time a plane come in, the pilot couldn’t talk to the back seater, They lost his cockpit pressurization.”

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There was one big responsibility that stood out to the Chief, helping ensure pilots had a backup plan.

“We got them in their seats,” He said, “and we had to help strap the pilots in, and we had their seven pins in that ejection seat for safety reasons. When we come down the ladder we had to have seven pins all pulled out of that ejection seat, so if he had to eject it would go off. If you missed one pin he wasn’t going to go out of that cockpit you know, he was going to go down with the plane.”

After his service ended and Buessing returned to his hometown, he joined up with the Axtell Legion. He became Commander two years after joining, and is now celebrating 27 years with the legion under that role.

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