March 11 – Happy Birthday Captain Richard Budka

0_0_231_300-1On Christmas morning in 1967, US Air Force Captain Richard W. Budka found himself co-piloting an O-2 Jet on a re-con Mission in southeast Asia. Richard was the Amsterdam-born son of Mr. and Mrs, Walter Budka of 30 McCleary Avenue, who had raised him and his sister Delores in the Rug City. Richard had graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1950 and then went on to earn his pre-med degree at Union College, where he had also enrolled in the Schenectady school’s ROTC program. Commissioned a second lieutenant upon his graduation from college, he entered the US Air Force in 1954 and went to flight school. Before getting sent to Vietnam, he had served tours of duty in both Japan and Korea and also gotten married. His wife Dorothy was surely anticipating their upcoming reunion back at the couple’s home in Texas. As his jet taxied to the runway that Christmas morning nearly fifty years ago, Budka had just 25 days remaining on his Vietnam tour of duty…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam hero in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

 

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