Alva G. “George” Branch, Col USAF, Ret., “Headed West” on

Colonel Alva George Branch December 27, 1930 – August 14, 2023

George Branch was born in La Feria, Texas, in December 1930.  He passed into the arms of our Lord surrounded by family members on August 14, 2023, at the age of 92.  He was the son of the late Alva Edison Branch and Mildred George Branch.

After graduation from Edcouch-Elsa High School in 1948 and Edinburgh Junior College in 1950, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951, entered flying training as an Aviation Cadet, and upon completion of this training in late 1952, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and awarded the aeronautical rating of Pilot.

A Command Pilot, in the course of his military career, Colonel Branch accumulated more than 3500 flying hours in single and twin-engine jet fighters.  He flew 68 combat missions in Korea in the F-86, and over 250 combat missions in Vietnam in the F-100 and F-4. He also served overseas in England, Germany, and Italy as well as numerous bases in the US including HQ. 12AF, HQ.  Tactical Air Command, and HQ. USAF. While serving at Myrtle Beach, Colonel Branch and multiple Myrtle Beach AFB squadrons were deployed in 1958, in support of the first Lebanon crisis.  During this mission, he led the first flight of armed fighters on a 6400-mile non-stop deployment to Incirlik, Turkey.  He deployed to Germany during the Berlin crisis, and, deployed to Florida during the Cuban missile crisis.  In all, he flew one Atlantic Ocean crossing in the F-86, 11 crossings in the F-100 and two Pacific Ocean crossings in the F-4.

Colonel Branch completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi and later obtained a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University.  He was also a graduate of the USAF Command and Staff College.  While stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB in 1960, he married  Bobbie Jean Ellis, a native of Mullins, SC who was the love of his life and wife of fifty-five years. Colonel Branch retired from the USAF in 1978.

During the course of his career, he was the recipient of numerous decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters; the Air Medal with twelve oak leaf clusters; and the Bronze Star.  Colonel Branch was a member of the Order of Daedalians, the Myrtle Beach Rotary Club, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club, a member of the First Methodist Church, a 32nd Degree Mason, and a charter member of Socastee Lodge 321 AFM. George is remembered as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, golf and bridge buddy, and friend.  He left a lasting impression on everyone he encountered throughout his life and military career.

He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife, his parents and sister, Yvonne Seibert.  He is survived by three children—Elizabeth Branch Howell, Barbara Branch Vereen (Steve), of Myrtle Beach, and George Ellis Branch of Indianapolis.  He is also survived by two grandsons,  Richard “RJ” Howell II (Savannah), John “Trey” H. Nance III, Steven Vereen III (Stephanie), Jacquelyn Vereen Penny (Jordan), five great-grandchildren and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces in South Carolina as well as central and east Texas.  At the request of the family, please consider memorial contributions in lieu of flowers. Donations in George’s name may be made to the charity of one’s choice or to Tunnel to Towers (

Graveside services [were] held on August 18, 2023 at Ocean Woods Memorial Cemetery with full Military Honors.

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