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Richard Henry Brodeur

1930 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Richard Henry Brodeur Obituary
RICHARD BRODEUR 1930 - 2015 Richard Brodeur passed away Tuesday morning, March 17, 2015, surrounded by his loving family at a hospital in Riverside, California. He was 84. Richard was born in Massachusetts during the Great Depression. He dropped out of high school and worked in a shoe shop to help his widowed police officer father support his family of ten children. Before the age of 18, Richard joined the U.S. Navy through the "kiddie cruise" program. As an aviation radioman, he flew on numerous supply missions during the Berlin airlift as well as on the USS Coral Sea, CV-43. With only two years of high school and a GED he had obtained while in the Navy, he performed so well on admissions tests that he was accepted at an Ivy League university. While on a full Navy ROTC scholarship, he spent 4 years studying Electronics Physics at Brown. During his summers as a Navy midshipman, he was stationed on several ships, including the USS New Jersey, BB-62, while it was shelling the coast of North Korea in the Korean War. Before his last final college exam, he was hospitalized due to a concussion he had sustained as a passenger in a major traffic accident, so that he was unable to study. His professor was unwilling to allow him to make up the exam at a later date. Without his degree, his hopes of becoming a Navy pilot were crushed. For a brief time, he left the service to work at Raytheon Electronics where he met the love of his life, Marilyn. Soon after, the U.S. Air Force reached out to him in search of officer candidates for pilot training. He entered as a cadet and graduated 18 months later at the top of his class. Upon receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, he married Marilyn and they began a journey that would last over 57 years. Richard initially flew fighters, including the F-84 Thunderjet, F-86 Sabre and F-100 Super Sabre out of Luke and Nellis Air Force Bases in Arizona and Nevada. Due to the heightening of the Cold War, CincSAC General Curtis LeMay chose everyone from Richard's advanced fighter class to fly the new generation of jet bombers that carried nuclear weapons. Many of his fellow fighter pilots were so disappointed that they left the Air Force and went to work for the airlines. In 1960, after a short stint in the B-47 Stratojet, he began piloting the B-52 Stratofortress - the biggest bomber the U.S. has flown to date. He flew many critical missions, including Operation Chrome Dome during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where three B-52 bombers, fully loaded with nuclear weapons, circled the North Pole 24 hours a day as a deterrent to any Soviet attempt to incite a nuclear war. He also flew two tours in the Vietnam War, participated in Operations Rolling Thunder, Arc Light, and the defense at Khe Sanh. At Ellsworth Air Force Base, he commanded the 77th Bomb Squadron. Once promoted to full colonel, he became the chief of the 44th Supply Squadron, where he used his UCMJ authority to give a stripe back to a hard-working and repentant sergeant -an act that was controversial and unprecedented in the Air Force at that time. Richard's last assignment was Director of Operations and Training for 15th Air Force. In that role, he helped to coordinate the Air Force's successful invasion of Grenada, code-named Operation Urgent Fury. During his 26 years in the Air Force, he and his family moved to numerous duty stations. Because of the loyalty and support of his wife, who had to play the role of a single parent much of the time, Richard was able to serve and protect this wonderful country. He was a tremendous father and role model for his family as well as for many others who knew him. He stressed to his children that they should lead ethical lives, using the "Golden Rule" as the guiding principle. He had a high standard of honesty and abhorred injustice. Richard led by example, demonstrating that hard work and sacrifice are more rewarding than taking short cuts or playing politics to get ahead. In his spare time, he was an inventor and problem solver who loved working with his many tools. His daughters knew that he could fix almost anything! Richard is survived by his wife Marilyn; his three sons, David, Ted, and Christopher; his two daughters, Carolyn and Stephanie; eight grandchildren; his sister Maureen McCann, his brother Lt. Commander Paul Brodeur (ret.), and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Stephen; by five sisters and two brothers; and by his parents. Richard Brodeur was laid to rest at the Riverside National Cemetery on Thursday, March 19, 2015.

Published in Press-Enterprise on Apr. 26, 2015
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