Friday, December 19, 2014

Last don't have to go home, but you can't stay here...

About that title: Dad enjoyed the "Happy Hour" of his life to the fullest.

We (SN1 and SN2) were with him in his last days, reading comments to him from the blog and conveying the well wishes we've received from so many.  We held his hands as he took his last breath... he will be missed.

We honored his memory with a toast of 15 year old scotch. I'm sure he appreciated it.

We delayed posting this because we felt strongly about contacting loved ones personally... we apologize for any discomfort the delay may have caused.

Dad wanted us to keep the Blog going and we will.  We invite you all to share your favorite memories of our father in the comments below... just be polite, that's all we ask.



  1. May God rest his soul. And His blessings on you two, and Buck's extended family.

  2. Fair winds and following seas, from another old retired serviceman. We will miss your insight and your wit. May your good karma carry the Irish and the Wings to victory.

  3. I loved Buck. I will miss him terribly. We spent too may years out of touch, now it's too late

  4. My deepest sympathies. He was a remarkable man.

  5. I'm so sad to hear of the passing of this lovely gentleman. May he rest in peace.

  6. We'll take the rig for a spin and remember Buck. Meeting him was the highlight of the trip to New Mexico that year. And treating him to chicory coffee and fresh beignets when he and The Tart stopped in Amarillo on their cross country trip to the east coast was a delight. I'll miss his prompt and pithy replies to all of my "Dance Card" e-mails. He was truly one of a kind and I'm grateful to have had to chance to know him....and his family....

  7. My sincere condolences from across the pond.

  8. Condolences and prayers for your family. Buck will be sorely missed.

  9. Although I never had the pleasure of physically being with Your Dad, I considered him a very good friend. We've been visiting each other's blogs for five or six years, I would guess, and we seemed to share quite a few opinions (and those we didn't share, we either kept to ourselves or were kind to the other about.)

    Buck was kind enough to just about always leave a nice comment at the Boston Herald website when he went there to read one of my newspaper columns. Those comments have probably played a part in my being able to sell more columns to them; he made me look more popular than I probably am :-)

    As you've no doubt seen on this blog (and probably knew already, of course) Your Dad loved you a lot. May God bless your continued journeys in life as I'm sure He's blessed Your Dad for being such a nice man.

  10. I will miss Buck sorely - his wit, his graciousness, his loyal friendship. I always hoped that we could get together, even just once, for a convivial beverage, and maybe even a finer cigar than I deserve. But alas, 'twas not to be.

    And now, the readership of my own blog just went down by 20%. . .


    Requiescat In Pace, Buck

  11. My blog post...

  12. I can't imagine days without Buck's articulate wit and and ability to make the mundane fun. We were blog and email buddies, me bragging about going out and doing show-off things and him writing notes of encouragement. Buck was kind of like a bigger brother I never had, distant yet near. I did not know the extent of his health problem, my Mom has a similar affliction, so I thought he would go on and on for years staying the same. I wish I had been able to swing by Portales for a visit.

    Salutes to the Pennington Boys, please stay in touch.

    Barco Sin Vela. (Buck always called me Darryl, while I was trying to stay anonymous!!!)

    1. Here is my posting, too.

      I will honor Buck by making a few more trips on the Barco and will post my travelogues about them, too. (Just to get a encouraging word from VX!)

    2. BSV II,
      Dad spoke of you fondly... I know I don't have the talent for writing my father had, so I'll convey my appreciation for your kind words by simply saying thank you. Your post ( means a lot to me and my brother. We'll be in touch.


    3. Thanks, CDR. (Er, Sam!) Let me know if Jacksonville is ever on your map. The Barco is docked in rock throwing distance from NAS. That goes for your brother, too.
      Barco Sin Vela II

  13. I started blogging because of Lex, I kept blogging because of Buck.

    Such an awesome guy. Great sense of humor, a great writer and raconteur.

    I need to think about this, I don't have enough words to express what I feel right now...

    Man, I loved you Buck. Damn am I going to miss you.

    We shall meet again my friend.

  14. He lived a helluva life. I've read all about it for about ten years now. I'll miss his crazy stories.

  15. I met your Dad when he and TSMP were living in High Wycombe, outside London. I was an angst-riddled teenager going to school at London Central, and he and TSMP were kind enough to open their home to me. I visited often, and even lived with them for a short period when I got suspended and he was kind enough to take legal responsibility for me.

    Buck was an interesting man, and I learned many lessons from the examples he set, although I realize it more now than I did then. Ironically, the best lessons came about how to act when in relationships with women. Your Dad was always a calm and reasoning gentlemen, almost to the point of irritability sometimes, but he was rarely, if ever, flustered about anything when dealing with anyone, and particularly women. He had a dry with and singular sense of humor, and great taste in all things music. I am sure you will enjoy his music collection for years to come!

    At any rate, I am grateful to have known him, and sad at his passing. May your hearts heal soon, and may you always keep his spirit alive. He was a great man.

    Dan Cochrane, Boise, Idaho

  16. I am so very sorry for your loss. He will be missed.

  17. Never met Buck personally. However, it turns out we are both die hard fans of the Detroit Red Wings. Buck used to lurk on a Red Wing site called A2Y. I used to post on the site quite frequently. A few years back Buck posted up a message on my blog, the Rumbear Chronicles wondering if I was the same Rumbear from A2Y. Indeed. The friendship grew from there. Great banter and cutting comments have been the order of the day ever since. I am truly saddened to learn of his passing. I am going to miss his insight, wit, and curmudgeonly charm. Rest in peace my friend, rest in peace.......

  18. This was one of the first blogs I followed..................................................
    It hurts....................................................
    I will miss my friend so very much......................................

  19. Buck and I started a conversation several years ago when he followed a piece I posted on the old Washington Rebel site. Since that time the communication deepened over music, the Bay Area, ex-wives and more. I was only recently giving him a hard time over being older than me (by about 3 weeks, I think) and making plans to get down there to Portales in our 70's.

    Now I'm gonna be 70 first. Damn.

    Rest in Peace, Sergeant Pennington. And best wishes to his family, and hats off for being good sons all the way through.

  20. So very, very sorry to see this. Had Buck on my mind almost continuously the last few days. I'm sure y'all (SN1 and SN2) know how much he loved and was proud of you. So very thankful that y'all were able to be with him. I'm sure it was a great comfort to him and from experience I know it will be a comfort to y'all in the long run. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know. He'll be missed and not forgotten. Prayers for you all...
    Katy (MissBirdlegs in AL)

  21. Oh no - Oh, SN1 and SN2 I am so very sorry for your loss. And ours. Buck was one in a million (but you knew that). He was my blogfather (in addition to Lex - 2 of the great ones) and we had a running conversation for over 10 years. I will miss his wit, his humor, his crankiness, his musical selections and just his - presence. Even though we never met in person, Buck was a great good friend and he will be missed as such. My heart goes out to you sons and I hope our love for your dad, along with your own precious memories, will sustain you.

  22. I'm so very sorry for your loss, SN1 and SN2. I will miss Buck terribly, he was such a kind and funny gentleman, and he will be in my thoughts. My condolences to you and your family. The blogsphere has lost one of its brightest lights. :'(

  23. SN1 and SN2, I shall always consider you guys to be family.

    Your Dad meant that much to me and to so many others.

    I mourn his loss with you. But I celebrate his life and thank God that I knew him. Bless you both and your families.

    Thank you for letting us know.

  24. Prayer for you two. Buck is now sipping the scotch. You'll never have another w/o him.

  25. So very sad. My thoughts and prayers to all his many friends and family in this special time. I proudly served with Buck in the USAF at RAF Uxbridge, just outside of London, in the late 70s and early 80s. His office was directly down the hall from mine. We regularly went out for lunch and talked about one of his favorite subjects, motorcycles. I didn't ride at the time but was always interested and due primarily to these discussions and the time I spent with him, I became a rider and bought my very first motorcycle. He encouraged me to take riding courses and instilled in me the importance of safe riding and wear of leather and a good quality helmet. Our motorcycle adventure continued when we decided to go to the Isle of Man bike week, an island located off the coast of England. I wasn't experienced enough yet to ride my bike so he invited me to ride with him on the back of his black Yamaha RC350, one of his favorite bikes. He took me all around the island that week, stopping for long happy hours at the many pubs. I will always remember Buck and the special times we shared. He was a friend and will be missed.

  26. My thoughts and prayers are with you fellows, with your family, and with the rest of us whose lives were enriched by your dad. Hard to beat Frost at a time like this.
    A Soldier
    He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
    That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
    But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust.
    If we who sight along it round the world,
    See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
    It is because like men we look too near,
    Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
    Our missiles always make too short an arc.
    They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
    The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
    They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
    But this we know, the obstacle that checked
    And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
    Further than target ever showed or shone.

  27. RIP Buck, thank you for your service, and your blog... M.Sgt

  28. To say that I'm crushed is an understatement. I met Buck thru Lex's blog--now BOTH are gone. I was damned mad at Lex for leaving us in the lurch then and I'm damned mad at Buck now. Selfish. I know, but I enjoyed the company of both SO very much. Despite the difference in our backgrounds, Buck and I were so muy simpatico on so many levels--music, sports, booze, you name it, life in general--that he used to say we were both "brothers from a different mother" (Or was it me that said that?) No matter, the point is I have lost yet another soul-mate who lived life to the fullest. He played the "cranky geezer" role to the max and wittedly reveled in it. I used to kid: "Are you SURE you're not my long-lost blood brother?" Sir Harold MacMillan, upon the occasion of Churchill's last appearance to Parliament, said after he left the building for the last time:

    "The man you have just seen is like no other. The oldest among us cannot remember his like, and the youngest, however long you may live, will never see his like again."

    Buck was THAT kind of uniquely special. I will sorely miss him..

  29. SN1 &SN2/

    Also thanks for keeping the blog up. There are still some old posts I've never visited and I also enjoy going back and reviewing old conversations of which I and others here were a part just to relive old fond memories. I'll visit here often..

  30. Had been hoping the next post would be Buck regaling us with stories of his hospital stay.
    So sorry for his family and friends. He will be missed.

  31. I can only offer my condolences, and I'm sorry I never got to meet Buck face to face. He will be missed...

    High Flight-

    "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

  32. Christiane Mathieu20 December, 2014 14:51

    He had a funny blog that attracted me for some reason, I did not have much to offer in repartee, but he was nice to me anyway. Au revoir mon ami, toujours, tu m'as donné la joie de vivre. Thank you Buck and Sam for your sad news, joyeux Noël and peace to you and your families.

  33. i am so sorry for your loss, SN1 and SN2 .. and for the loss the blog world will feel .. may he rest in peace

  34. My heart is heavy as I read of the passing of Buck.
    My deepest sympathies to his family.
    I wish I had the words to help lift your sorrow.
    I am so very sorry.....

  35. I didn't personally know Buck but I will miss his posts, his wit and his comments on other sites. The world has lost a good man. RIP, Buck!

  36. I'm late.
    I won't apologize because I was helping make a Merry Christmas for a bunch of kids.

    Some of my own thoughts are here.

  37. I'm sorry. We miss him too, but surely not as much as you do. He was one of the first blogs I started reading and where I found comfort and humor.

  38. Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your beloved father.

  39. I am so sorry to hear of Buck's passing. His blog was a "Must Read" everyday. He will be missed.

  40. Buck was my first radar supervisor at Keno AFS. I was a new 2 striper and he was a SSgt. I first noticed him on base wearing a field jacket with Turkish SSgt stripes. We both ended-up working rotating shifts, and I became a pretty good tech with his mentoring in short order. Fair Winds and Following Seas my friend.

    1. Turkish SSgt stripes?!?

      Sam, that's a story that needs telling. Sounds like typical Buck though. Damn I'm jealous that you got to serve with him.

    2. Not so much a story Sarge, but if you've never seen them, they are about as bright as yellow as you can get, ha. Back in those days everyone lived in Levis and field jackets, ha.

    3. Somehow I can picture that.

      I think except for his stint at EDS, Buck spent a lot of time in Levis and field jackets!

  41. My condolences. It's good you were with him.

  42. Your father touched a lot of people and he will be missed. My deepest sympathy to your family.

  43. I shall miss him terribly. He was a true friend and a mentor when I started my blog during my kidney cancer episode a few years ago.
    May His Memory Be A Blessing
    Condolences to the Pennington Family from our family

  44. I only recently found his blog, but I liked him immediately and he'll be missed here. So sorry for your loss..

  45. I loved your father and learned so much from him. I met Buck & Paula when i was only 14. They were my Proxy Parents on the base where i went to High School in London. Me and my Proxy siblings loved hanging out with them. They treated us not as adults treat children but with respect and love. We are forever indebted for his wisdom.

    My all time favorite memory happened in 1981 when i lived with Buck and Paula on the base where he was stationef:
    I had been allowed to hang out with a group that often spent time with us at home but i had lied and went downtown with a boy. I was so wasted when i crawled into the house. Being young and stupid i thought he wouldn't notice... He just gave me this look as i tried unsuccessfully to just slip into my room. Paula stayed with me as i prayed to the porcelain god.,,,Buck said nothing but just had a look that spoke volumes. A look that a father would give his daughter when she screwed up. I was ashamed and guilty.,.. but my only worry was that they would tell my folks...

    About 5am the following morning i was woken with what i thought was a incredibly loud earthquake. Panicking, i shot our my door...and there was Buck with a shit-eating grin. He had positioned 4 stereo speakers and was BLASTING the clock alarm song by Pink Floyd. The bass was at Max and the house was shaking; Buck was laughing hysterically and i remember hating him and feeling that he was insane at the same time. He didn't stop there but carried on all day like that....relentless and unsympathetic!!!
    I will NEVER forget him and ALL that he was!!

    The good, good life is only a dream, only a dream, only a dream away. The Cars

    In honor of Buck Pennington
    Love you always

    1. I hope someone reads this out loud at Buck's funeral...

    2. Robyn
      R u the young lady that went with Buck and I to Isle of Man??

    3. Great story Robyn. Thanks for sharing that.

    4. Yes, I am that girl,..not so young though...refresh my memory jbar? Wow, those were the days!!

    5. Nice to hear from you Robyn. As I recall you rode with Buck from High Wycombe to Liverpool on the back of his Black Yamaha and took the ferry to Isle of Man. I joined you guys a few days later. The three of us attended a live show there in one of the local establishments where they had a hypnotist performing. You were one of his subjects if I remember correctly and he hypnotized you there on the stage. Do you recall anything like that? I may have some of the story wrong. It's been quite some time as we went there in the early 80s. Anyway, it sure is nice to hear from you and so sad about losing out dear friend Buck. Thanks for responding

  46. Question:

    Where will Buck be interred and when will services be held? Please advise all when decided..

  47. Another valued member of this merry band of military (actual or adopted) brothers and sisters has crossed over the river. Buck will be missed.
    Condolences to his family, but know that others share your grief, and that there is treasure trove of memories left behind to remind us all of his life and legacy.
    Slow. Salute. Two.

  48. Thanks for everything, Buck. Godspeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours.

  49. Buck will be missed by many a reader. Godspeed.

  50. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

  51. I didn't know Buck, other than through Jim Sullivan's blog, but I think he must have been a terrific character in life to have inspired so many heartfelt comments on his passing. My sympathies to his fine sons. R I P Buck.

  52. My condolences for your loss.

    I don't follow any other blogs. I happened upon your father's years ago. It was the only one I have ever followed. I really enjoyed his writing, his wit, and his sense of humor. He will be missed.

  53. I didn't have the pleasure of getting to know your dad other than via Suldog most recently. I am very sorry for your sad loss and wish you strength.

  54. Crap. I just heard through the grapevine about Buck's passing.

    Buck was a friend of mine for a long, long time, beginning when we met at Fortuna AFS in 1977. I have a lot more to say but right now I'm just sad and stunned. For some reason, despite Buck's health, I just figured he would live forever -- or at least outlive me. I am so very glad that I took a detour on a road trip in 2005 and visited Buck in Portales.

    My condolences, SN1 and SN2 ...

    I have a heavy heart right now.

    1. I was stationed with him at Fortuna also (I can't remember, but I think I was half-done with that tour when he found me at my watering hole in Crosby). Alas, he worked in the 35 Tower, so I didn't see him much. Then one day, years later, he showed-up at my desk when I was at Tinker! The kid did get around, ha. I have some stories, but they will have to be told 50 years after my death, but they always put a smile on my face, because he was such a character...

  55. Heartbroken. Buck was always in my thoughts and prayers even though life was such these last few years with a baby and toddler that I hadn't had a chance to comment here. We last corresponded on Google two weeks ago. I was shocked to learn of his passing. Candles will be lit this Christmas and whiskey or beer drunk to toast a truly lovely lovely man. God bless.

  56. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

    I “meet” Buck about 8 or 9 years ago through another blog where he and I commented. One day I just clicked on his name and it brought me to here, his place, where I’ve been coming ever since. Even though as of late I haven’t been commenting is was still a once a day visit, a place to stop and see what was on Buck’s mind…a familiar place to kick one’s feet up and smell the roses.

    Buck and had a few things in common as both of us were stationed in Okinawa, though at different times and different branches of service. He also lived outside of Rochester (Rachacha), NY where I was born, raised and live now. He posted a few pics of where he worked here a couple months ago which I commented on and actually had the exact location and it’s only a few short miles from where I type these words. It’s on my way to work and home and no doubt when I’ll be driving in the future and I will look at those buildings or see the Detroit Redwings on TV or hear the Allman Brothers on the radio, etc., etc. and will think of Buck Pennington.

    So long, Buck, you will be and are missed.

    (small tee) tim

  57. We encounter unique people in our journey. Buck was certainly one of them. It was an honor to be part of Bucks journey and to salute Master Sargent Pennington.

  58. John W (Michigan)22 December, 2014 14:15

    Buck was one of a kind, and I am fortunate to have called him my friend. He was a great man that the world will truly miss. This comes as a shock to me, as I was planning on travelling to Portales during the holiday to visit with him as we had not seen each other for some time. My thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go to his family who he always talked about with such love and pride. I will miss you Buck. I raise my glass in honor of a great man who lead a great life and was a great friend. Salute!

    1. John,
      Dad very much enjoyed working with you and respected you immensely.
      Sam... SN2

  59. I've posted to the Fortuna AFS and USAF Radar Station Veterans groups on Facebook to let folks know of Buck's passing. He was such a good friend to so many, and particularly to me when I was a "young pup" at Fortuna.

    Although it might seem surprising to most folks here, Buck was instrumental in helping me become the good liberal I am today. Heh. That fact later became a minor bone of contention between Buck and me, but really just in a good-natured teasing sort of way. Still, it was Buck who turned me on to Mother Jones magazine back in 1977 or 1978 and set me on the path I'm on today, from which I rarely deviate. Buck and I shared a love for the USA, a penchant for political discussion, and a number of other things that probably aren't suitable for print here. (Heh again.) We differed on the the details of how to fix what's broken in our country, but our love for our country's potential never diminished.

    I'm not clear on the day Buck actually passed, but something interesting happened on Thursday, December 18: I was packing for a trip from Idaho (where I live these days) to California (where I'm sitting at the moment, writing this), and I noticed a cap that sits on top of a piece of furniture in my bedroom. It was the cap from the 2005 Fortuna AFS reunion, which Buck wasn't able to attend. I'd given Buck a cap just like that when he and I visited later in 2005 in Portales. I stood there on Thursday, looking at that cap, and thinking about Buck and ... well, now I wonder if the universe wasn't trying to tell me something. Yeah, it could've just been a coincidence, but I think maybe it was a bit more.

    Dang Buck, I miss you. I should've stayed in touch more than I did. You taught me a great many things, and I'm grateful for all of them, and for having you in my life as a good friend. See you again on the other side ...

    1. Lori, the universe WAS trying to tell you something. Dad passed on the 18th at approximately 1910 CDT.
      Strange how life works.


  60. I am sorry for the loss of your dad, unfortunately I've been there. What a great legacy in the writings of his that you can read over and over.
    I wrote a blog about my dad after his passing of the stories I tried to remember growing up but this, is different.
    I hope to come back soon and peruse the "library" of what obviously peaked Jim's interest.
    Best to you both

  61. Rest in peace Buck and thank you for your service - to your nation, friends and family.
    w/r, SJS

  62. I worked with Buck at EDS - he was a joy to work with! I am sorry for your loss. Jean Fay

  63. I'm so very sorry for your loss. From his words and stories I could see he was a truly good man.

  64. I enjoyed my bits of banter with the Master Sergeant and his recall of his days in London, at the same time as my time working in my capital. He was a good stick. Remembered by me, with much affection, here in England. May fair winds lift him gently.

  65. I didn't know your Dad but for Suldog and the link to his blog, which I always enjoyed reading. My condolences for your loss....he will be missed.

  66. Bill in Fort Worth27 December, 2014 18:09

    I read your dad's blog so many times. I will miss his happy hour posts. May God bless you and your family.

  67. I enjoyed your Dad's blog. R.I.P. God bless

  68. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. untimely spam :-)

    2. Buck was an old IT guy, meybee he's found a way to contact her from the great beyond and take her up on the offer. :)

  69. With all the Christmas hullabaloo, I just saw this. I've had a weird feeling this whole month, especially when hearinghockey scores. My heart is broken. Buck and I emailed and I truly regret not having the chance to meet him in person. I'll need to process his loss. Please know, however, that his boys and family were the light of his life. Especially when there were good scotch (in the Waterford) and cigars involved. Rest in peace, and happiness, Buck. And grant your family the best memories ever.

  70. He would've gotten a kick out of Notre Dame beating LSU today! Right, Andy?

  71. Moogie let me know about the passing of your dad. He was so proud of his sons and their families! I know you will miss him very much.

    I haven't frequented the blog in the last year or so, but thought about Buck a couple of weeks ago, and started to check in and catch up. Just didn't make the time.

    Wish I had. badly as I HATED losing to Notre Dame, I chuckled to myself yesterday, "Well, at least Buck'll be happy!"

    I'm sure he is... :)

    Be well, gentlemen!

  72. Crossing the Bar


    Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
    And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea,

    But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
    When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

    Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark;

    For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.

    Please accept my most sincere condolences over your sad loss. His pride in you all; his family - should now be your strength...

    I enjoyed a bit of banter with your Dad; he would occasionally bounce into the Mellow Jihadi blog and drop a one line comment that fitted the moment perfectly. If you don't mind, I will inform those who visit the same blog that the man who almost drunk London dry, has sadly 'crossed the bar.'

    Yours Aye.

  73. Oh F**k

    I hadn´t checked in on your dad since I read he was sick, and now this. I wished I had known him personally. I enjoyed reading his stories and as a fellow AF retiree I felt their was a connection. My condolences to you your families and all his friends.

    Phil, Msgt USAF RET

  74. I had to skip dropping by any blog sites in a hurry of life...greatly sad to hear about Buck's passing away. I have enjoyed his blogging for several years... from Korea.

  75. I'm so saddened to read this, and so late as well. I hit the blog today to find out what Buck was thinking about certain items in the news in recent days I met Buck back in the days when I was blogging for Soldiers' Angels NY, and he became a really great "virtual friend". We had a lot to talk about, since he used to live in my area, and in the past few years we talked motorcycles. Please accept my very belated condolences. I will remember him fondly.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.