ICBM missileer to B-52 pilot on Gulf War missions – an extraordinary career

The October 2017 issue of Aviation News featured Tom Kaminski’s article on how a USAF officer who initially undertook nuclear alert underground on ICBMs went on to pilot B-52s and command the type’s weapons school

Lieutenant Colonel Brian ‘Buck’ Rogers USAF (Ret.) has the distinction of being among a small number of Americans to have held key roles in two components of what is called the nation’s Nuclear Triad.

He transitioned from being on nuclear alert as a ‘missileer’ – deep underground with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) – to piloting heavy bombers during a career spanning more than 22 years with Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Air Combat Command (ACC).

Rogers joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on entering college, but few ­ ying slots were available following the end of the Vietnam War. Following graduation, he went on active duty in 1978, initially to train as a Titan II missile launch officer.

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