Mike Reagan recently finished this portrait of Buck Weaver, showing him from a photo in recent years and in the cockpit of his P-39 in the South Pacific. Buck’s war history was shared recently following his death.
by Fred Apgar
On May 2, 22020, our nation and our Post lost one of its great American heroes. Robert “Buck” Weaver passed away at the age of 101, Buck left a legacy of being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, respected member of the community, and friend. I join my comrades of VFW Post #8870 in extending our heartfelt condolences to Buck’s family.
Buck Weaver was born in 1918 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the fourth child in a family with two brothers and a sister. Buck was active in sports in high school and graduated 1936. Since jobs were scarce in those days, Buck enlisted in the Ohio National Guard Cavalry. Buck pursued a pre-dental program at the University of Cincinnati but his plans to become a dentist were placed on hold when with the start of WW II. In September 1941, he was sworn into the Army Air Corps and reported for primary training at Grider Field in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A month later, Buck soloed in the PT-19A trainer and completed the pilot training program in April 1942, earning his wings.
After flying anti-submarine missions off the coast of California for six months, Buck transitioned into the P-39. Upon completion of the program in September 1943, Buck found himself on a troop ship on his way to New Guinea. Buck and the other members of the 41st Fighter Squadron would be flying bomber escort, dive bombing, and combat air patrol missions in the South Pacific in support of the “island hopping campaign”. After the war, Buck left the Army Air Corps to return to his dental studies, earning his DDS four years later. He returned to active duty status in what had then become the Air Force and served in the Dental Corps for the next 25 years. In 1975, Buck retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel.
Buck was preceded in death by his loving wife, Bettina. They had moved to Edmonds in 1996, to be near their four children and their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Buck will be sorely missed.
WWII Vets Mark Century Birthday
Edmonds VFW Post 8870 and American Legion Post 66 joined forces on Saturday, Aug. 18, to celebrate two members who turned 100 years old: Ed Shepherd, on July 4 and Buck Weaver on Aug. 9. Both men are WWII veterans. Ed had his Navy ship USS Helena sunk out from under him, surviving with 5 shipmates in a raft. Buck Flew P-39 fighters in the South Pacific for the USAAC. We are grateful to have them with us.
Top to bottom: Ed Shepherd & Buck Weaver enjoy happy birthday wishes. Both men blow out symbolic candles. (200 -100 each candles would have far exceeded fire code!)
At top, Nancy Thompson, VFW Post 8870’s 2016 teacher of the year singing an original composition of hers for our honorees. Ms. Thompson teaches at Lake Serene Elementary in Mukilteo. She also led a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
On Saturday, August 18, at 4:00 PM, VFW Post 8870 and American Legion Post 66 will gather to celebrate the 100th birthdays of two of our members; Buck Weaver, World War II fighter pilot and Ed Shepherd, Navy Veteran, also of World War II. Please join us for a spaghetti dinner, beverages and celebration of our senior comrades. All are invited, bring family and friends.
At our May Post meeting, we will have as our guests the 2018 scholarship winners and their families. The names of the winners will be announced at the meeting.
This year, we are naming our scholarships to honor four distinguished members or our post:
Fred Diedrich: World War II vet Fred Diedrich was a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment who jumped into Normandy on June 6th, 1944. Later on September 17, Fred jumped again into Holland with orders to seize control of the Nijmegen Bridge. The regiment then moved south to the Ardennes and combat operations in the Battle of the Bulge.
Amos B. Chapman: Amos joined the Navy in May, 1943, at the age of 17. He was assigned to serve aboard the destroyer, USS Killen, in the Pacific as a Fire Controller. His ship was engaged in the Battles for Leyte Gulf during which the ship was under constant attack by artillery, air and Kamikaze attacks.
Fred M. Apgar: Fred volunteered to join the U. S. Air Force in 1967. He was assigned to the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. During a year of combat duty as an Air Intelligence Officer, he flew 116 combat missions over Northern Laos.
Buck Weaver: Buck flew 137 combat missions in his beloved P-39 and P-40 fighter aircraft. Buck flew bomber escort, dive-bombing, and combat air patrol missions in the South Pacific in support of the “island hopping campaign”. In 1975, after serving on active duty for nearly 20 years, Buck retired from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel.
Dinner which included turkey, ham and all the trimmings was enjoyed by a nearly full house.
Many thanks to Paul Bustard for providing turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Raffle items donated by the post leadership brought over $ 1,000 for the general fund. Members also donated food for the Edmonds Food Bank and new toys for disadvantaged children, long-standing traditions for this event.
Post 8870’s senior member Buck Weaver, met recently with Navy Lt. Dan Landerholm of Edmonds for breakfast at Claire’s Restaurant. Landerholm, who graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School and Washington State University, is a 30- year-old Navy F-18 fighter pilot stationed in Lemoore, California. The following week Landerholm was to head to the Persian Gulf on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, based in San Diego. Buck flew 137 combat missions in WWII as an Army Air Force pilot, flying the P-39 Aircobra, then went to dental school and served as commander of dental service at the Air Force Academy, retiring as a colonel.
A number of us attended the Memorial Day ceremonies at ECC and organized by the Veterans Resource Center. Our own Buck Weaver lead the audience in “America the Beautiful” while Ron Clyborne described the Veterans Plaza project. Opening remarks were made by Dr. Jean Hernendez, College President, who deserves special thanks in making ECC one of the most veteran friendly schools in America. As a Vietnam veteran and a product of the U of W in the early ‘70’s, no one is a better position to see the contrast better than me.
The featured speaker was Colonel Bruce Meyers, USMC retired. He served as a platoon leader in WWII, a rifle company commander in Korea, and was the Marine commander at Khe Sanh. The Col. had a remarkable military career and we thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. Interestingly, following his retirement from the Marine Corp, he became a practicing trial attorney for many years in Seattle and later served as a associate dean and associate professor of law at a West Coast law school. I’d would have hated to answer a question wrong in his class—you’d probably be dropping for 20.