Gerald Collins Bracken

gerald bracken

January 4, 1931 ~ April 27, 2024

Born in: Meaford, Ontario, Canada
Resided in: Matthews, NC

Gerald Collins Bracken, a beloved husband, father, and decorated military veteran, passed away on April 27, 2024, at the age of 93 in Matthews, North Carolina.

Born on January 4, 1931, in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, to Elizabeth McNally Bracken Ball, Gerald lived a life filled with remarkable accomplishments and unwavering dedication to his family and country and, most important, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Gerald dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot in his youth, often arranging boxes and chairs in his mother’s kitchen and using a broomstick to make his own “airplane” to play in. Fulfilling his boyhood dream, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951. Gerald rose steadily through the ranks with honor and distinction, serving in various capacities during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Highlights of his service include:
• 1953: Honorably discharged and continued college. Joined the Missouri Air National Guard in St Joseph, Missouri and attended B-26 navigator training.
• 1954: Promoted to lieutenant and attended USAF pilot training.
• 1958-1961: Served a tour in France flying F-84 aircraft.
• 1962: Was called up to active duty for the Cuban missile crisis and invited to become a regular Air Force officer.
• 1963: Attended Army Airborne school in Ft. Bragg, NC.
• 1964-1967: Served two tours as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Air Force flying A1-E Sky-Raider and A-37 Dragonfly aircraft on more than 400 combat missions.
• 1965: Featured in a photo article entitled “View From the Cockpit” in the May 7 issue of Life Magazine.
• 1971: Served a 4-year tour in England in a combat ready unit pulling NATO alerts at Upper Hayford, England flying F-111’s equipped with nuclear weapons.
• 1976: Retired at Luke AFB, AZ as a Major and Command Pilot in the F-111 Fighter Bomber

Recognized for his leadership, bravery and expertise, Gerald was honored with numerous military decorations including the Bronze Star, Viet Nam Service Medal (3rd Award Device Affixed), Air Force Pilot Wings, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross (6th Award affixed with Gold Wreath Device), Southeast Asia Service Medal, Air and Space Longevity Award, RVN Campaign, and National Defense Medal.

Although originally from Canada, Gerald was very patriotic about being an American because of the opportunities he was afforded in the United States. He was very proud of his service in the United States Air Force often saying that he fought for God and country. He used the skills he learned in the Air Force to become a pilot in command in charter operations and Airline Pilot for American Eagle Airlines.

Education was important to Gerald as he earned a two-year degree from St. Joseph Junior College in St Joseph, MO, in 1954. He later attended Grand Canyon College in Phoenix, AZ, earning a Bachelors in Environmental Science in 1976 while minoring in History. He continued his education in 1993, attending Bible College at Calvary Cathedral in Fort Worth, TX where he earned a two-year degree in Theological Studies. He also studied theology at Jerry Savelle Bible College.

Despite personal health challenges, Gerald lived a resilient and fulfilling life. His unwavering commitment to serving God and community echoes his spirit of dedication and love. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and the shooting sports, participating in skeet & trap shooting and Cowboy Action Shooting. Gerald also owned and cared for horses, involving many of his children during their formative years. He was a skilled motorcyclist, riding well into his 80’s and he also owned numerous Triumph sports cars over the years. Gerald was very talented working with his hands and built everything from furniture to horse trailers to houses and was particularly artful with wood.

Gerald had a passion for bringing others to Christ and spent much of his retirement years in the service of our lord Jesus Christ. He served for many years with Chariots of Light, a Christian evangelical motorcycle group and also in many Evangelical Prison Ministries.

Gerald is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Patricia Bracken, who provided devoted care until his last breath. He is also survived by his children: Christopher Bracken, Gregory Bracken, Carla Bracken, Andrew Bracken, and Michel Bracken.

A celebration of Gerald’s remarkable life will be held at 10:30am on Monday, July 15 at Wade Family Funeral Home. He will be buried that afternoon at 1:00pm at the DFW National Cemetery where an Air Force Honor Guard will render full military honors.

Rest in peace, Gerald Collins Bracken. Your legacy of valor, service, and love will forever remain in our hearts.

Services

Celebration of Life: July 15, 2024 10:30 am

Room: Chapel

Wade Funeral Home and Crematory
4140 West Pioneer Parkway
Arlington, Texas 76013

(817)274-9233
https://wadefamilyfuneralhome.com/

Interment: July 15, 2024 1:00 pm

Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery
2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
Dallas, TX 75211

(214) 467-3374

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