BRECKNER, WILLIAM JOHN JR.
Name: William John Breckner, Jr.
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O5
Unit: 8 TFW
Date of Birth: 29 May 1933
Home City of Record: Sebring OH
Date of Loss: 30 July 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210300 North 1055500 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D #7576
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: 730329 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
WILLIAM J. BRECKNER
Lieutenant Colonel - United States Air Force
Shot Down: July 30, 1972
Released: March 29, 1973
After attending Bowling Green and Ohio State Universities I entered Aviation
Cadet training and graduated in 1955. Upon completion of advance training at
Nellis AFB, I flew F-86H's and F1 00D's with the 417th T.F. squadron in
Europe. I returned in 1959 to an assignment in GCI then flew FlOlB's at
Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. This was followed by a three year tour of exchange duty
with the U.S. Navy flying A-4's. I was embarked in the ill-fated USS Forrestal
in July 1967 on Yankee Station and returned to combat aboard the USS Intrepid
in July 1968. I completed Air Command and Staff College in 1970 and, after
checking out in the F106, assumed command of Detachment #1, 87th Fighter
Interceptor Squadron at Volk Field, Wisconsin. After joining the 87th F.I.Sq.
at K.I. Sawyer AFB, I volunteered for another sea tour. I completed F-4
training at Homestead AFB and reported to the 435th T.F.Sq. in Thailand where
I served as the Operations Officer. I was shot down 30 July 1972 on a raid
After completion of my first combat tour I frequently speculated upon the
factors that may have accounted for my safe return home but did not provide
the same good fortune for my friends. For the next couple of years the war was
an ever present, yet somewhat secondary thing as I became deeply involved in
other duties. However, as time went on and the complexion of the war appeared
to be changing again, I found myself wanting to return once more. My reasons
were various: it was my turn again, personal professional gain, patriotism,
good friends in POW camps and others who had made the supreme sacrifice, and
other reasons I've never fully understood. While in prison camp I had plenty
of time to think how lucky I was to still be alive and, since my return, I
have reflected again on the whims of destiny. Why do some return and others
not? Well, it isn't all skill. Better men than I never came back. Perhaps
Ernest K. Gann said it all when he entitled his book Fate Is The Hunter.
William Breckner Jr. retired from the United States Air Force as a Major
General. He and his wife Cheryl resided in Colorado until her death August 11, 2007.
On 02/16/2008 Bud Breckner was killed in a single car accident. He was
returning home from a friend's house when his car left the road and rolled
over. The coroner's office reported that he died instantly.
Ex-fighter pilot was active in Colorado
February 17, 2008 - 7:29PM
William “Bud” Breckner never ran out of energy.
....Bud Breckner died in a car crash along Colorado Highway 105 early Saturday
morning while driving home to Monument after visiting a friend. He lost
control on a curve and slid into trees.....
FORCE Magazine Online
Journal of the Air Force Association
Wednesday February 20, 2008
Former Vietnam POW Breckner Dies in Car Accident: Retired Maj. Gen.
William J. Breckner Jr., 74, was killed Feb. 16 in a single-vehicle
car crash on Colorado Highway 105, according to various news
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