Bart participating in “the world’s largest torchlight Armed Forces Day Parade” held annually in Spokane, WA .
Bolstered by the service of two generations of wartime soldiers before him, and a supportive mother, Capt. Bart Buechner rounded out 30 years of service and sacrifice to our country in 2008. But, for this extraordinarily dedicated Navy man, it’s just a beginning.
These days, Buechner serves as the Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Home of California at Yountville. His responsibilities are extensive, as he works to protect and improve the lives of servicemen and women in California who, after years spent in service to our country, call Yountville their home. We owe these servicemen and women so much more than we can ever repay. Importantly, at the Home, Capt Buechner reminds us, we have “the traditions of the military service, and remembrance of those who serve.”
Recently, the U.S. Naval Academy threw a 30th Anniversary retirement party for the Annapolis Class of 1978. For Buechner, a class standout, it was a culmination of a lifetime of dreams, but also a source of hope for the future. “I have always been attracted to organizations and institutions that serve a greater good or higher calling, Buechner commented. If it hadn’t been the military, it would have either been the ministry or education; those may come later too.”
Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Buechner was raised to follow his dreams. With a father who served in World War II and grandfather from WWI, it comes as no surprise that this Eagle Scout would wear the uniform of this country. “If you pay attention to the values and principles the Academy tries to instill, you bring some of the Academy with you to the ‘real world,’ he says. It’s good to be a hard charger, and the Academy rewards and encourages that. But you really get things done through your people.”
Capt. Buechner takes on the “real world” with gusto. He’s a bit of a Renaissance man, and counts vintage cars, running foot races and playing string instruments among his hobbies and interests. “I have learned a lot from working with a very diverse group of people, all political spectrums, all disciplines.Finance and Accounting, Medicine, Nursing, mechanics, plumbers, artists, educators,” he adds. Throughout his Navy career, he has served in a number of significant roles and positions; “When I go to a new place, I like to run through it, touch the ground, plants, terrain – and read the memorial plaques that may be there. They tell a story.”
He’s also been a big help to Veterans Advantage. A fan of the Veterans Advantage/Amtrak discount benefit program, Capt. Buechner has been passionate about rail service in America, and recognizing those who serve with real benefits. He was instrumental in forging Veterans Advantage’s partnership with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and in raising funds for ESGR’s Foundation in support of mobilized National Guard and Reservists, as part of “Recycle and Reward”, the cell phone recycling initiative.
Looking back on the challenges this young middie faced leaving Annapolis for the Cold War, he is certain that future Naval Academy graduates also share a commitment to make this nation and world a better place. “Today’s military member walks a fine line between warrior, diplomat, city manager, and enforcer of the law. Everyone is watching, and we have to do the right thing, and do it well, always. No exceptions. There is a lot of pressure, but a lot of satisfaction also. Today’s military men and women are changing the world, making a difference.”
As we enter the holiday period, Capt. Buechner commented, “I hope that our country continues to remember those who serve and who have served our country, particularly at this time of year. That’s the greatest gift we can give them,” he says.