Samuel O. Bakke, Major USAF (Ret.), 88, A 52-year resident of Las Vegas transitioned into the afterlife on September 14, 2020. He was preceded in death by his Mother Eva Barg Bakke and sister Ruth Marie Bakke. Sam was born on November 10, 1931, in Madison, South Dakota. The family moved to Warrenton, Missouri in 1935 and from there to Wiggins, Colorado after his father’s passing. In 1949 he attended the University of Northern Colorado and enlisted into the Air Force In 1953. He returned to Oscoda, Michigan where he completed pilot training
He entered navigator training and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation. He was stationed in Oscoda, Michigan as an F-94 navigator. He entered pilot training and went on to fly the F-100. In early 1958 he was assigned to the 492nd Fighter Bomber Squadron at Chaumont AB, France which became the 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron. He moved with the squadron to RAF Lakenheath and was next assigned to Cannon AFB, New Mexico. He flew F-101s and later F-4s at RAF Bentwaters, England. He flew F-4s from Da Nang AB Vietnam and is credited with one MIG Kill. He was quoted as saying “The sky was wall-to-wall Migs”. Next was George AFB, California and then to Nellis AFB to be an instructor in the USAF Fighter Weapons School”.
His 20-year commission took him to many destinations and assignments around the world. He was a highly decorated Fighter Pilot with over 150 missions flown in North Vietnam piloting the F-4 Phantom and was the recipient of the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and numerous air medals. After retirement in 1973, he established an innovative and highly successful business in Las Vegas assisting travelers with accommodations to the many Las Vegas hotels. Sam gave many young people entry into the hotel business who later became executives of major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. Sam was a member of the Super Sabre Society, Daedalians, Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, and the CBSA. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Dolores, sons, Stephen (Jan), Samuel Jr (Debra), Charles, Christian, (Erin), (Lisa), 7 grand-children, 8 great-grandchildren, many dear friends, and “Sparky” the dog. Services are pending.
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Published in Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sep. 20, 2020.