George P. Bracke
I enlisted in the Air Force in April 1953, took the Aviation Cadet tests, and started with class 55-I I had my preflight in November 1953, and my primary at Malden Airbase, Malden MO. I then went to Williams AFB for basic and graduation in February 1955.
Next came T-33 gunnery at Del Rio, TX, and onto Nellis for F-86 training. I left Nellis in August, went home to Portland, Oregon, and married Sharon Sutherland.
In September I and four other classmates left for Clark AB, Philippines. to join the 44th Fighter Bomber Squadron. On arrival, we were shocked to see, not F-86 F’s on the ramp, but F-86D’s.
The 44th squadron had left three months earlier for Kadena, Okinawa. After several requests for transfers to Okinawa, they were finally approved and we were reassigned to the 18th FBS, Kadena Okinawa.
Myself and Bing Girling went to the 67th FBS and Bill Fletcher to the 12 FBS. We flew the F-86 until February 1957, then transitioned to the F-100D.
In March 1958 I was sent to Webb AFB, Tx as a T-33 flight instructor. This was to be a three-year tour, but ended up six years. While there I flew the T-33, T-37 and the T-38. In March 1964 was sent to Randolph AFB, TX to the T-38 instructor school.
After eight years in the Training Command, and no hope of getting out, I left the AF and went to work for United Airlines in Chicago. I flew the Caravelle, Boeing 727, 737, 757, 767, DC-8 and DC-10.
In 1967 I joined the Indiana ANG, flew the F-84F and the F100. I retired from the Air Guard in 1977, and United in 1993. I still fly, having a Beechcraft Bonanza. I have four children, nine grandchildren and my beautiful wife of 55 years. We’re still living in Elgin, IL and putting up with the winters, good health and all.
Since retiring from United Airlines George has enjoyed flying his Bonanzas and flying for LifeLine Pilots.
- 1957-1958 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron /67th Fighter Group (F-51, F-86)
- 1971-1977 122nd Tactical Fighter Squadron/163rd Fighter Group, Lakenheath, England (T-33, F-100, F-4, A-10)
Awards & Decorations
Outstanding Unit Award
Military & Civilian Education