Gosser golf course receives ancestral visitor

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

A fallen pilot’s daughter visited the Gosser Golf Course at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 25 through 28, to pay respect to her father.

“My father was my hero,” said Debra Buchanan, daughter of Ret. Maj. Delbert Gosser, a former 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron. “I was the youngest child and the only girl. Even though we were disciplined, my dad spoiled me rotten. He was just a cool guy to me.”

Gosser passed away from various injuries after ejecting from his aircraft in the midst of crashing an F-100 Super Sabre, Jan. 5, 1962, into the Pacific Ocean near Misawa. Since then, the golf course was named after the pilot to memorialize him and his service.

“I was very honored the golf course here was named after my father,” Buchanan said. “I’ve watched it on the internet ever since they named it after him, including the changes it underwent.”

Buchanan described her father as a “man’s man” who was very strict about manners, but she enjoyed life with him. Since the incident, it took some time for her to heal.

“I didn’t know how I would react emotionally when I got here,” Buchanan explained. “I broke down a little, especially when I saw the young Airmen here. When we talked to five Airmen the other day, I noticed they were in their 30s and 40s, and that got me emotional because my dad was 40 when he died.”

During her time here, she visited various places on base and traveled around the local area.

“I was thirteen when it happened, and it was rough,” she added. “But I came to terms with his death.”

She said as she grew up, she realized there was more to Misawa than what she experienced, and it eventually became her dream to visit here again.

“It’s been a trip of a lifetime for me,” Buchanan said. “Thanks to the Todd Toohey and the 35th Force Support Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Sidney Squires, they made this experience extremely special. I don’t know if it was peace, but I knew it was something I needed [for closure].”