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LT. COL. Bernard  A. McGaffigan

Obituary for LT. COL. Bernard A. McGaffigan

September 13, 1920 - November 14, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 99


Lt. Col. Bernard A. McGaffigan, USAF (Ret.) completed his pilgrimage and departed earth on November 14, 2019, for eternal life. Bernard was born on September 13, 1920 in Dallas, Texas to Bernard and Hattie McGaffigan.

He was predeceased by his brothers Glenn and Hallett, and his two sons Bernard Jr. and Stephen. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and loving and devoted wife of 76 years Florence E. McGaffigan, a perfect example of a military wife, a soldier in her own right, who was very supportive of Bernard and making a home wherever they were assigned. He is survived by his son James McGaffigan; his daughter Sharon Bishop and husband Terry; his son Marc McGaffigan and wife Joan; grandchildren, Traci Keylich and husband Michael, Kristi Mair and husband Russell, Blaine McGaffigan and wife Kate; Brett and husband James Masters; great grandchildren, Mallory, Berkley and Fiona; niece, Patricia Elsner and husband Michael; sister-in-law, Alice Collins and many beloved nephews and nieces.

During the Great Depression years Bernard's family moved many times and lived in many U.S. cities for his father to provide a living. Bernard's father died after an automobile accident in May 1934 in Pekin, Illinois and his mother brought the family back to her home, San Antonio. He graduated from St. Gerard High School in 1937. He had been baptized a Catholic in St. Gerard Church in December, 1920.

Bernard always wanted to be a soldier. He served in the Citizens Military Camp, Camp Bullis, Texas in July 1936, 1937, 1938, where under the strict training of soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division he learned infantry tactics and strict military discipline. In June, 1937 he enlisted in Headquarters Company, 36th Division of the Texas National Guard and was discharged in November, 1937 so he could serve in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Duncan, Arizona.

Two days after his 18th birthday on September 15, 1938, Bernard started his military career by enlisting at Kelly Field, Texas, where his father had been an instructor pilot during WWI. He was promoted to each enlisted rank and in September, 1941 he was promoted to 1st Sergeant of the 492nd School Squadron, Ellington Field, Texas. On January 3, 1942, Bernard moved the 492nd School Squadron from Ellington Field to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, now known as Lackland Air Force Base. He was most proud to have been the First 1st Sergeant ever assigned to Lackland AFB. In May, 1942 Bernard was promoted to Warrant Officer Junior Grade (WOJG) and he was also the first Warrant Officer to serve at Lackland AFB.

He entered pilot training and graduated from twin engine advanced pilot school, Ellington Field, Houston, Texas in July, 1943 and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. After P-38 fighter aircraft training he was assigned to the 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group and served with the squadron in the Philippines, Okinawa, and after the end of WWII he moved up to be part of the first occupation forces in Japan.

For 30 years, 1 month 15 days he lived his dream of being a soldier and served illustriously as command pilot, a special agent of the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC); a special agent of the USAF Office of Special Investigation (OSI), Provost Marshal in the Inspector General Office, Continental Division, Military Air Transport Service,; an auditor with the United States Auditor General, and many specialized military specialties. Bernard's last assignment was as Commander, Airlift Control Element, Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam, for which duty he received the Bronze Star Medal. He was also awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal plus many service awards.

He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from University of Oklahoma in 1959 and a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas in 1965.

Upon his retirement from the USAF he taught Business Administration and Accounting classes at San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas. Upon his retirement from San Antonio College the Board of Trustees proclaimed Bernard to be a Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, San Antonio College.

A devout Catholic Bernard actively supported and participated in all church activities. A founding member of the Church of the Holy Spirit he was an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharistic, Lector and Usher. He was an Honorary Life Member of Knights of Columbus, 3rd Degree, Council 786, and 4th Degree Assembly 2102; He was a Life Member of: The American Legion; The Military Officers Association of America; The Disabled Veterans Association; The Order of Daedalians, The National Fraternity of Military Pilots; and the 36th Division Association Texas National Guard.

Family will receive friends from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday November 20, 2019 at Porter Loring Mortuary.

6:30 PM


Interment will follow at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to a charity of your choice.

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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