GENESEO, N.Y., Aug. 9, 2023 – Lieutenant Colonel Philip E. Buchinger has been named the Livingston County Veteran of the Month in August and was formally recognized at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
Born in nearby Warsaw, N.Y., Buchinger attended the State University of New York at Brockport and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Upon graduating, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the United States Marine Corps through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Program on August 1, 1975.
After being commissioned as an officer, Buchinger attended The Basic School and graduated on March 10, 1976. From there, he attended Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Fla. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on July 1, 1977 and was designated a Naval Aviator on August 19, 1977.
Upon receiving flight designation, his first operational assignment was to HMT-204, which was a composite training squadron tasked with training both CH-46 and CH-53 chinook helicopter pilots as part of MAG-26, Marine Aircraft Group 26 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. From April 1978 to June 1980, Buchinger was assigned to HMM-261, Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron known as the “Raging Bulls.” During his tour, he deployed twice to the Mediterranean Sea as an Intelligence Officer and Operations Administration Officer. From June 1980 to November 1981, he was assigned as Operations Intelligence Officer with HMM-365, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron, known as the “Blue Knights.” In July of 1980, he was promoted to Captain.
Following his tour of duty in the fleet, Buchinger was assigned to Marine Aviation Training Support Group in Pensacola, Fla. as a Flight Instructor with Helicopter Training Squadron, HT-18 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. His roles included tactics instructor, standardization pilot and flight leader. During this time, he earned his Master’s degree in Management from Troy State University and completed the Amphibious Warfare School Non-resident Course. In November 1984, Buchinger was assigned to HMM-263, deploying twice more to the Mediterranean Sea where he participated in operations off the Libyan coast in the Persian Gulf. He served as the squadron’s Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Logistics Officer and Operations Officer. On November 1, 1986, Buchinger was promoted to the rank of Major. In January 1989, he was assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron ONE in Yuma, Ariz. where he served as the Chinook Helicopter, CH-46 Division Head and Assault Support Department Head. He deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the Gulf War as Helicopter Planner on the Third Marine Aircraft Wing staff. In May 1992, he served as Executive Officer of HMM-266, MAG-26 and was further promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in February 1994.
On May 25, 1995, Buchinger was assigned as the Commanding Officer of HMM-261, MAG-26 in New River. He led the squadron on deployments to Fort Drum in New York for mountain area training and to Twenty-Nine Palms in California for combined arms exercises. He also served as part of a multi-national exercise in the Caribbean and took the lead in the international exercise, Cooperative Osprey, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in August 1996.
Upon retirement from the Marine Corps with Honorable service, Lieutenant Colonel Buchinger was awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal. He has acquired over 5,298 flight hours. After his military service, he spent 16 years as a flight simulator instructor. He enjoys being in the outdoors and loves to fish, spend time with family and spend time on his restored tractor from his family farm. He is married to his wife, Shirley Ann. They reside today in North Carolina, but have come home to the Town of Ossian to celebrate a 50th class reunion that was delayed by the Pandemic and to spend time with family, friends and classmates.
Are you interested in nominating a deserving former member of our armed forces for the Livingston County Veteran of the Month or learning more about veteran-specific events? If so, please visit the newly launched LivCo Vets website.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.