Ben Buehler-Garcia never served in the military or carried a badge. This is why he considers it his duty to support those who have.
For nearly three decades he has volunteered with several initiatives to support military and first responder families including the Tucson Chamber Military Affairs Committee, the 9/11 Never Forgotten Tower Challenge Foundation, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, USS Tucson 770 Club, the Tucson Community Cares Foundation, Honorary Commander for the 12th Air Force/Air Forces South and is the Arizona Ambassador for the Green Beret Foundation.
DFC Society Members Interviewed
Major General Don Shepperd
January 25, 2015 - “MISTY FORWARD AIR CONTROLLERS OVER VIETNAM” – MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD – FRIDAY PILOTS
A small group of volunteers flew very dangerous Forward Air Control missions over North Vietnam in F-100 Super Sabre aircraft. 28% were shot down, some twice.
April 10, 2016 - ASTRONAUT JIM MCDIVITT – “CAREER LIMITING CAPERS”
Astronaut Jim McDivitt’s path toward being the 20th man in space was a circuitous one..including 145 combat missions in Korea and a Colonel who called him a “traitor” for leaving the Air Force to go to NASA.
June 5, 2016 - THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS SOCIETY
Martin Lenzini was awarded FOUR DFC’s during a 13 month tour of duty as a Marine pilot in Vietnam. One of these close air support missions epitomized the word “close” when he dropped bombs with pinpoint accuracy within 80 yards of friendly forces.
July 19, 2022 - ROSS DETWILER – DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
Three time DFC recipient Ross Detwiler and his fellow “Misty” pilots volunteered to fly some of the most dangerous missions of the Vietnam War. Twenty two percent of the forward air controllers were shot down. Ross was among them.
September 18, 2022 - COBRA GUNSHIP PILOT LEW JENNINGS
Lew describes some of the more heroic and tragic missions of his time in combat. These included one pilot who climbed out of the cockpit while airborne to kick lose a misfired rocket. One of my favorites was a mission with Eddy “Mad Bomber” Joiner.
Wade Hubbard only spent five years in the Air Force. During that time, he was awarded FIVE Distinguished Flying Cross medals, Thirty Air Medals and the Purple Heart. He flew in Vietnam as a “back seater” in the F-4 Phantom completing 427 ½ combat missions. Wade participated in both Operation Linebacker and Operation Linebacker 2.
Space Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins has spent more than 872 hours in space and logged 6,751 hours in the cockpits of 30 different types of aircraft. In 1995 she became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and then in 1999, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. Eileen joins us as part of our educational partnership with the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
A-10 fighter pilot Kim Campbell picked up many leadership lessons over the course of a 24 year Air Force career. Some came in a “crucible moment” over Baghdad on April 7, 2003. While providing close air support for troops in contact, her aircraft was struck by a surface to air missile, knocking out all of the plane’s hydraulics.
When Andra Kniep entered the US Air Force Academy, women were prohibited from flying in combat. Two months before she graduated, the rules were changed and she became the third woman assigned to fly the A-10 attack fighter. Andra was awarded two Distinguished Flying Cross medals on two consecutive days and joins us as part of our partnership with the Distinguished Service Cross Society.
Electronic Combat crew member Alex Underwood has several achievements during his Air Force career, including being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. We talk with Alex as part of our educational partnership with the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. The mission of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society is to honor, preserve and teach the legacy of heroism or extraordinary achievement in aerial flight for which the DFC is awarded.
Jim Lopez flew an amazing one thousand combat missions. For perspective, World War II bomber crews were required to fly 25-35 missions before they rotated out. Even in today’s high paced combat, the 1,000 mission threshold is still rather rare. Jim joins us as part of our educational partnership with the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.