Ray Bronk

Thu
14
Nov

Local veteran overcomes odds after midair crash

Nathan Hendrix/Burnet Bulletin
Burnet County resident Ray Bronk has several photographs from his time as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1972.

 

 

By Nathan Hendrix

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

A brush with death would make most people reconsider their path in life, but a midair jet fighter collision during a training exercise could not dissuade Burnet County veteran Ray Bronk from continuing to pilot aircraft for his country.

Ray joined the United States Air Force in 1952 and aced his aptitude tests. The career advisor listed aircraft pilot as one of his potential jobs.

“He said 'Airman Bronk, you can be anything you want,'” Ray recalled. “I said 'pilot? That's what I want.' It was the very first time it ever entered my mind.”

In 1959 in Charleston, South Carolina, Ray went up on a training flight designed to emulate fighter interception of enemy bombers. The pilot he was testing with had already been on two flights that day and was attempting his third intercept.

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