Harold Dodd Buck, Columbus, GA, passed away February 1, 1997 after a two year battle with cancer. He was 73. Known and loved by all as a gentleman of unique Southern charm... polite, compassionate, thoughtful, insightful... full of pride for family, business acumen, military and private flying achievements, and giving of himself to SSA, National Soaring Museum, Vintage Sailplane Association, Mid-Georgia Soaring Association and Southern Eagles Soaring
Harold Buck was born in Columbus on August 20, 1923. As WWII heated up, Harold was attending Auburn University. In 1942, he entered the U. S. Naval Aviation Training Program at Pensacola, graduating in June, 1943. By October, as a U. S. Marine aviator, he was flying fighter-bomber Corsairs with the Wake Island Avengers squadron (VMF-211) at Bougainville Island, among the Solomon Islands, South Pacific. Harold once said, "of all 76 missions, one was particularly memorable. I was leading an eight fighter-bomber squadron attack on Rabaul, a Japanese harbor in the Solomons. But on this particular mission, a ninth Corsair, also fully loaded with a 1000 pound bomb, was on my left wing piloted by Charles Lindbergh. At the time Lindbergh was a consultant to Chance-Vought Aircraft Co... the manufacturer of the Corsair... called "whistling death" by the Japanese."
After earning enough combat points flying 76 missions, Harold completed his military tour of duty at Quantico. Afterwards, he graduated from Auburn University. Over the years, Buck Industries of Columbus flourished and his family grew. He wanted to get back into aviation. In 1967, Harold earned his glider rating at Chester, South Carolina. Since then, he has owned various gliders, motor gliders and power planes... some new, some old. But his real love was glider competition starting in 1980. Since 1989, he flew his Ventus CM motorglider in National and Regional contests at Marfa, Sugarbush, Littlefield, Albert Lea, Livingston, Cordele, Clermont and also many local club contest sites. Harold placed third at the Motorglider Nationals at Littlefield in 1990 and 1992. In 1995 he was awarded the Ed Barnes Trophy, sponsored by MGSA.
Harold is survived by his wife Sally, two brothers, three sisters, sons and daughters Brent, Perry, Billy, Sandy, Judy and sixteen grandchildren.
Harold has many friends in soaring and aviation. We will certainly miss him. But his wit, wisdom and friendship will remain with us forever.