On National Vietnam Veterans Day, a look at the distinguished career of Col. Larry Burda

Talking with Col. Larry Burda on National Vietnam Veterans Day

On National Vietnam Veterans Day, Renee Passal sat down with Colonel Larry Burda (Ret).

Friday is National Vietnam Veterans Day. And that’s why we’re looking at the career of Colonel Larry Burda.

Originally from the Chicago area, Burda served honorably in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

“We were air defense, making sure the North Vietnamese didn’t come and bomb our bases, or attack our B-52 bombers,” he recalled.

There were some close calls. He remembers running to the bunkers to avoid an attack by the Vietcong. Their planes ended up on fire, though.

His wife, Lorna, and children were able to fly over and be in the Philippines, which is where he was officially stationed for about two years. The pilots would head out to different parts of Vietnam for weeks at a time.

When the family returned to the United States, he ended up joining the 148th Fighter Wing.

He was a pilot instructor, and traveled across the country to learn how to fly the latest aircraft.

The military also tapped him for a national safety role, which meant time at the Pentagon.

“In my whole career, I never woke up and said I don’t want to go to work,” he told us.

Now retired, he and Lorna still advocate for the Air Force, because they believe strongly in its importance to our national security and to our community.

He also was part of the reason STARBASE Minnesota began down in St. Paul. Now there is STARBASE Minnesota-Duluth as well, at the 148th.