Col. David Todd “Buck” Buckwalter

Colonel David Todd “Buck” Buckwalter, Ret. USAF was born on December 5th, 1949 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania to Thomas Edward and Betty (Richards) Buckwalter.  He grew up in Pottstown, graduating from Owen J. Roberts High School, active in football, basketball, and wrestling.  It was at the pool at Countryside where he met the love of his life, Mary Kathryn Sweda.  After high school graduation in 1967, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York and graduated with a B.S in Psychology.  Todd and Mary were married on February 7, 1970 and celebrated over 52 years of marriage.

Todd, known as “Buck,” entered into his military career, joining the United States Air Force in 1972.  He served for 27 years in various positions including weapons system officer and flight commander in the RF-4C; maintenance squadron and logistics group commander, and senior Air Force Advisor to the Naval War College President.  Other military duties included various squadron/wing-level positions and as the Executive Officer to the Director of Operations, Headquarters USAFE.   Buck’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Medal.  After his retirement in 1999, he served as a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College for 8 years, teaching strategic leadership, management, and decision making and earning various advanced degrees from Troy State University, the Naval War College, and Salve Regina University.

On a personal level, Buck was an active volunteer at the Air Force Association, serving as a Chapter, State, and Region President, in addition to being a Trustee for the Aerospace Education Foundation.  Buck served on the Strategic Planning Committee and Constitution Committees and served as Parliamentarian for over 8 years.  He received many national AFA individual awards, including the Medal of Merit, the Exceptional Service Award, the Presidential Citation and the Distinguished Sustained Aerospace Achievement Award. However, he was even more proud of the STEM initiatives he worked to establish: CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers. His volunteering efforts with building programs to encourage and inspire youth to pursue STEM-related fields and civic service gave him joy and purpose.

If you were lucky to have met Buck, you would know that he could connect with practically anyone, with his jovial personality and unbounding energy for everything life held.  He had a larger-than-life quality that captured so many hearts with whomever he had encountered.  Of all his accomplishments and exciting endeavors, he would quickly say that he was most proud of was his family.  Buck gave all the credit to raising the children to Mary, as he was often working many times before breakfast well into the evening after bedtime.  But Buck shined in his family as “Poppop,” giving time, love, and warm memories to each of his six grandchildren.  He was able to commission his first grandson, Drew, into the USAF after graduation from the University of Texas.  He was able to hold his first granddaughter, Kristy, only a few hours after she was born, reminding her that she was the youngest person that he had ever held. He spent a week planting 2 trees, 3 blueberry bushes and various flowers with his grandson, Matthew while babysitting for a week, where Buck earned the more impressive accolade of, “he cleans his fingernails with a knife!”  Buck would tell everyone that Kira was his biggest fan of whatever he cooked and would impress her with being called, by name, to the front of the crowded line at Rose’s Seafood Market.   He would enjoy fishing with Eli, even when the “catch” of the day was bringing home a live turtle. Buck also spent hours going to Farmers Markets with the youngest, Fest – who brought Poppop more joy and laughter through common day experiences shared during the summers in Ohio.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Betty Buckwalter, and his two sisters, Alisande Buckwalter and Nancy Buckwalter-Hughes.  Buck is survived by his wife, Mary; son Damon (Tara) Buckwalter; daughter Katie (Tom) Spicer; six grandchildren: Lt. Andrew Spicer, Kristy (Hayden) Lane, Matthew Spicer, Kira Buckwalter, Eli Buckwalter, Fest Buckwalter; siblings: Cliff (Nita) Buckwalter, Susan Buckwalter-Hughes; nieces: Kati Buckwalter-Hughes, Leah (Isaac) Mogajane; and nephew Ben (Deborah) Buckwalter.

Funeral Services will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Nassau Bay on Pointe Lookout Drive in Nassau Bay, TX on Saturday, March 5 at 1pm CT.  In lieu of flowers, the AFA has set up a memorial fellowship to support aerospace education programs; donations can be made to the fellowship through the following link:  Alternatively, donations can be provided to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church Building Fund.  An internment at Arlington National Cemetery will follow as schedule permits.


  1. Sending my love to the Buckwalter and Spicer families. Uncle Todd really was larger than life to me but I remember how kind he always was and how he always had a smile on his face.
    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

    Margaret LaPlante
  2. Katie, your music family is thinking of you and here for you.
    Our deepest sympathy ❤️‍🩹

    Liz Chris and Jacob Miller
  3. Dear Mark K and all,
    We were SO saddened to hear this news. Our hearts go out to all of you. Todd, as I knew him, was a great guy, larger than life! And what I will always remember about him is that indomitable SMILE! His eyes would just light up. Nothing but great memories of this man. Much love to you all. Scott & Mary Ann Hoffecker (we too met at Countryside!)

    Scott & Mary Ann Hoffecker
  4. I didn’t know Buck well but when he participated in the Men Who Cook one year at St. Paul the Apostle, I liked his chocolate mousse so much that it inspired me to try to make the dish at home (first one I had ever tried!). I’d have to say that mine was okay but it didn’t equal Buck’s version! Mary, Katie, and Damon, our prayers are with you and for Buck to soon be in the presence of our Lord!

    Chris & Joanne Slovacek
  5. All my love and sympathy to the Buckwalter and Spicer families. I will remember my Uncle Todd as a kind and gentle man who led an amazing life and was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. I last saw him at my cousin Tyler’s wedding in Colorado and I was so happy he was able to make it and spend time with us. Uncle Todd was a blessing to many people and he will be missed. Praying for God’s comfort for the family during this tiime.

    Laura Textor and family
  6. Mary Kay I am so sorry. Todd (he was not Buck to me) is so much a part of my history. 6 years at Norco. 6 years at Owen J. Wonderful summer at Countryside. I remember it all even the TriDelt PSU years. My deep sympathy for the loss of your soul mate.

    Sue Brown Mathewson
  7. Buck was one of my first commanders as a young lieutenant and maintenance officer at Shaw AFB, SC. He left a lasting impression on me to this day….both in the squadron and on the golf course. You’ll be missed sir. RIP.

    E.T. Moore
  8. So sorry for your family’s loss Kate. We will remember your Dad and his family in our prayers.

    Vincent Berend
  9. I had the privilege of working with Buck at the AFA national level for several years. He was my mentor when I was National Secretary. He was fun to be around and easy to get along with and was the corporate knowledge of AFA. It was a true privilege to know Buck. He will be truly missed. This world, and AFA, is a sadder place with him gone but we can say that Heaven is a better place with him there. Our prayers are with you and the family Mary. God bless all of you as you and the rest of us grieve his loss.

    Ed Garland
  10. Dearest Mary, the Spicer family and the Damon Buckwalter family – We were so sorry to hear the news of Todd’s passing. You all have our deepest sympathy. A special memory I have of both Todd and Mary was the time we visited them in Rhode Island when, my daughter, Kimberly, was visiting Univ. of RI when deciding on colleges. We had a great time playing pool – Todd showed us some great moves! May the years of wonderful memories help you through this difficult time. May God hold you close and comfort you. Holly & Joe Martin, Christine Martin Kucik family and Kimberly Martin Pennartz family.

    Holly Martin
  11. We are so sorry for the loss of great man who loved his family.
    Katy and Tom we all thank you for what you have given to the St. Paul family
    You are in our prayers.

    Carl Hoehn
  12. Mary, Katie, and the entire Buckwalter family, know Buck’s AFA family is deeply saddened by his passing. Buck’s whole-hearted dedication to the AFA mission with our support to our Airmen, Guardians, and their families has been unparalleled. He took special interest in the young participants of CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, engaging them with his affable, approachable demeanor and conviction their capabilities are important to our collective future. Bringing his deep experience in forming CyberPatriot, Buck was instrumental in creating StellarXplorers, just deepening his lasting legacy. Always ready to share, Buck’s gift of gab was entertaining just as much as its value. Please know he was important to everyone who knew him, and will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies…..

    Stephen K Gourley, Vice Chair, AFA Education
  13. Dearest Mary-We were so sad to hear the news of Buck’s passing. Mark and I have such fond memories of our time at RAF Alconbury, with you and Buck at the top of that memory list! Couldn’t have gotten the twins home from the hospital without your help! Mark spoke to an old squadron mate about Buck’s passing just the other day and spent most of the conversation telling “Buck stories” that made them laugh. They loved Buck and his zest for life and respected him as a consummate aviator, teacher and leader. He was a larger than life man and will be so missed by everyone who knew him. Our deepest sympathies to you and your entire family.
    Mark and Kris Anderson

    Mark and Kris Anderson
  14. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go to Mary and all her family. Buck was such a big help to me during my time at the 16th TRS at Shaw. His knowledge and wisdom delivered with his warm humor were always welcome. I hadn’t seen Buck since ’89, yet the news of his passing stings as though it were only last week. He will be missed by all whom he touched.

    Jerry and Wendy Corbett
  15. I just recently learned of Buck’s death. He was a giant to me and my family; the best commissioned leader in the USAF I ever worked for. I met him in my first months in the Air Force at Chanute AFB, IL in 87/88 where he was for a short aircraft maintenance leader orientation course and quickly took all the lieutenants under his wing, taught us how to play crud, and find joy in all we did. A decade later he would be my bosses boss as the Maintenance Group Commander at Davis-Monthan AFB. All who met Buck loved him. Among his fellow Colonels (many of whom would later be promoted to general officer) he was the recognized leader in the room who everyone would gravitate to. A truly larger than life figure to me and my peers. Buck and Mary adopted all of us, welcomed us in their homes – whether at D-M or at bases far and wide – and set the bar high for what we all wanted to be as a married couple.

    God Bless you Mary. I will drink a “rusty nail” this weekend in honor of you and Buck but the legacy you created lives on in so many of you touched during and after our USAF careers. Sincerely, PJ & Becky McAneny

    Paul “PJ” McAneny

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