Boyd Van Horn - W0BUW
I was born in 1931 during the depression in central Iowa. We lived in a little town with a total population of about 500 people. I had my first airplane ride at 3 years of age from a flying farmer and was hooked! I built radio controlled airplanes while in grade- and high school. After graduation in 1949, I decided I didn’t want to raise pigs, so I rode off on a 1945 Harley Davidson motorcycle to Omaha, Nebraska where I went to school to learn electronics.
I obtained my Ham ticket and my first class communications ticket that same year. I went to work for the Motorola Corporation until 1952 when my number came up with the draft board. Rather than waiting to be drafted, I joined the Air Force, starting a career that spanned 29 years! I received my commission and wings in 1954.
During my tenure with the Air Force, I spent a total of eight years in Europe and four years in the Far East, with many TDY trips to the Middle East on special assignments. I flew every thing from the F-80 to the A-7D fighter. My first tour in Vietnam was in 1965. I was a strike pilot on a F-105 flying out of Takhli, Thailand. In 1968, I returned to Takhli to fly as a Wild Weasel.
Upon my returning home, I was stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where I commanded an F-4 Phantom squadron and later an A-7D squadron. I was promoted early to Colonel (O-6). Following my assignment at Davis-Monthan, I was sent to the Army War College in Carlisle, PA.
My final assignment was to the Tactical Air Command as Director of Maintenance in 1975, where I was responsible for the maintenance planning for the F-15 and F-16 fighters, and the AWACS surveillance aircraft. I think the highlight of my career was having the honor of leading a 24 ship fly-by for President Truman’s funeral.
After 29 years in the Air Force, I retired and landed in Oklahoma City and took on the position of Director of Maintenance for the Lear Siegler Corporation. In 1981, I formed an oil company and finally retired fully in 2010.
I'm now living on some acreage north of Oklahoma City, spending lots of my time dabbling with electronics and amateur (ham) radio. One item of interest I built is an antenna that consists of a 3,500 foot horizontal loop of wire 40 feet off the ground! I am able to work stations around the world with this antenna!
Commander Boyd, left, and his good friend Carl McLelland.