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6/4/1919 - | Obituary Condolences
Mel Braginsky, 93, Colonel, US Air Force, Retired, passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 18, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Mel was born in the Bronx, New York to Saul and Mary (Richer) Braginsky on June 4, 1919. As the son and grandson of Russian immigrants, he learned the value of hard work and dedication to a task.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ann Braginsky of Avery, TX, and five children: Carol (Lee) Davis, Hanover, MD; Joan Braginsky, Aurora, CO and Tucson, AZ; Jean (Tom) Barton, Greenwood Village, CO; Carl (Cheryl) Braginsky, Monterey, CA; and Ellen Bristow, Avery, TX. His sisters are Mildred Schneider of New York City and Bernice (Jerry) Weber of Colorado Springs. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren: Brian Carter, Tim and David Barton, Alan Davis, Joshua and Jacob Braginsky, Caitlin (Braginsky) Ladouceur, Noel and Tim Tendick and three great grandchildren: Kaydence and Ethan Carter and William Barton.
Mel was a distinguished veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, receiving numerous commendations, including the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Four Bronze Stars for service in China in WWII. He served in Kunming, China, with the 322nd Squadron supporting the Allied airlift of C46's and C47's, cargo planes that supplied the Chinese Nationalist forces fighting the Japanese. The operation was called "The Hump," a risky proposition at the time as planes flew over the Himalayas to get to China. Mel's military career began in 1939, at the age of 20, when he enlisted as a Private in the Army Air Corps. By end of WWII in 1946 he was a Captain, and took a discharge from service, entering the private sector as co-owner with his father, Saul, of a bar and lunch counter business in Upper Manhattan, New York. In 1951 he reenlisted and was sent to Korea, and he remained in the Air Force through numerous assignments (in the U.S. and abroad), including assignment with a tactical fighter wing at Takhli AFB Thailand during the Viet Nam conflict. His last two assignments before retiring with 29 years of service were at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ and Edwards AFB in California.
Mel went back to school during and after his military career, earning masters degrees in logistics, economics and gerontology. After retiring from the military in 1969, he pursued several careers, including a stint with President Reagan's Council on Aging in Washington, DC, as well as working as a gerontologist for U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in Chicago during the 1970s and 1980s. In retirement, he was a volunteer math tutor for more than a dozen years at Northridge Elementary School in Highlands Ranch, CO, helping students well into his late 80s. Mel lived a good and productive life and will be missed by his family and friends.
Military services pending at Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
Published in on Aug. 24, 2012
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