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Pilot with Pittsburg roots to speak at Memorial Day observance

May 22, 2012 12:00AM

PSU Veterans Memorial

Lt. Col. Robert Brock, USAF, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Memorial Day observance at the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial, 1909 S. Rouse. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 28.

Brock, a 1985 graduate of Pittsburg High School, earned his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Texas Christian University and has spent his career conducting front-line military operations.

Brock served his first three years in the Air Force as an aircraft maintenance officer at Charleston AFB, S.C. Following a deployment to Somalia for Operation RESTORE HOPE, he was selected for Air Force Pilot Training in Enid, Okla. Graduating at the top of his class, Brock was one of the first two Air Force pilots to transition to special operations helicopters directly from flight school.

As an MH-53J Pave Low aircraft commander, Brock deployed more than 430 days to conduct combat missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Albania. After his upgrade to instructor pilot, he was promoted to flight commander and led formations of special operations helicopters for the first attacks on terrorist compounds in Afghanistan.

During his fourth extended tour to the Middle East, Brock served as the senior leader in charge of rescue/recovery of U.S. Special Operations Forces where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for directing 140 rescues with no MIAs.

Following four years with national intelligence agencies, Brock was selected to command the first drone squadron for special operations. The 3rd Special Operations Squadron was recognized as “The model UAV organization in DoD” by the secretary of defense.    

Brock is a mission ready command pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours, including 553 combat hours.  He is married to the former Lori Lynn Gravelle. They have two children: Lucas, 16, and Caroline, 12.

Brig. Gen. (Air Force, Ret.) James M. AuBuchon will lead the observance, which includes music by Joel Wren of the Great Highland Bagpipes, the PSU Brass Ensemble and the Tri-Statesmen Barbershop Quartet.

At the conclusion of the observance, AuBuchon will join veterans and their families to unveil the newest pavers added to the memorial.

©2012 Pittsburg State University