Longtime Marine Park resident Jim Buchanan is one of several local veterans whose photo and rank is being displayed throughout Community Board 18 (CB 18) to recognize the dedicated airman’s service.
The banner honoring Buchanan is on display at two locations: The intersection of Avenue S and East 35th Street in Marine Park and the intersection of Avenue N and East 63rd Street in Mill Basin. The banners are part of an effort to recognize and honor local veterans living in the 59th Assembly District, sponsored by Assemblywoman Jaime Williams in partnership with Millennium Development, Marine Park Alliance and Nick’s Lobster House. Williams recently held theSecond Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Celebration on November 5th, where Buchanan was one of seven veterans to receive a State Proclamation honoring his service.
Buchanan, 77, served in the U.S. Air Force for four years, from 1967-1971. He worked as a military pay specialist, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was stationed in Vietnam twice and was decorated five times during his service in the Air Force.
Buchanan described being stationed in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), which was the capital of South Vietnam at the time, as difficult, with “long” and “brutal” days.
“You gotta remember that, that’s the number one target is to take out the headquarters of any war,” Buchanan said. “So we were always under the fear of attack at nighttime.”
After his second deployment to Vietnam, Buchanan was stationed in Washington D.C., where he received one of the most prestigious awards available in the U.S. Air Force. In July 1971, Buchanan was given the “Air Force Commendation Award” for his sustained acts of heroism. Following his honorable discharge, Buchanan worked for many years as a licensed real estate appraiser for banks and the federal government, as well as a licensed real estate and mortgage broker.
Now retired, Buchanan has remained actively engaged with his fellow veterans and local community over the years. From 2002-2010, Buchanan was the Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154 NY. He is currently the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee for CB 18, a role that he has held since 1974.
Reflecting on receiving his banner and the recognition for his service, Buchanan wants to remember the thousands of service members who weren’t so lucky.
“I was very honored that they chose me,” Buchanan said. “But, I think the real heroes were the 58,000 men and women who didn’t come home. I came home. And you know, in a way I accept this award for all of them.”