Home Local News REMEMBERING COLONEL WARREN “BUD” NELSON

REMEMBERING COLONEL WARREN “BUD” NELSON

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World War II Veteran and former Air National Guard Wing Commander, Col. Warren “Bud” Nelson (Ret.), stands in front of a U.S. Air Force F-80 Shooting Star, he once piloted as a member of the Iowa Air National Guard. Nelson is visiting his old unit, the 185th Air Refueling Wing, during a 70th anniversary open house event in Sioux City, Iowa on September 10, 2016. U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

THE LAST WORLD WAR II VETERAN TO SERVE AS A COMMANDER OF THE 185TH AIR NATIONAL GUARD HAS PASSED AWAY AT AGE 97.

COLONEL WARREN “BUD” NELSON WAS A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE IOWA AIR NATIONAL GUARD, SERVING IN THE MILITARY FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS.

FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II, NELSON, WHO HAD BEEN WORKING AS A P-51 INSTRUCTOR PILOT, WAS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE FLYING.

AT THE AGE OF 21, WITH THREE YEARS UNDER HIS BELT, HE MOVED TO SIOUX CITY TO JOIN THE NEWLY FORMED 174TH FIGHTER SQUADRON.

THERE, HE CONTINUED TO FLY THE WORLD WAR II ERA P-51 MUSTANGS BUT BY 1950 SWITCHED TO THE JET POWERED F-84 THUNDERJET.

BRIGADIER GENERAL LARRY CHRISTENSEN, A RECENT COMMANDER OF THE 185TH, SAYS NELSON WAS A TRUE PIONEER OF THE AIR FORCE:

BUD1  OC…THE FOUNDATION.  :27

Lt. Col. Warren G. Nelson, 174th Tactical Fighter Group commander returns from a flight in an F-100F while Iowa Governor Harold Hughes rides in the back seat at the Volk Filed Combat Readiness Training Center in Wisconsin on July 22, 1966. Hughes was treated to a backseat ride in the two seat training model of the F-100 while a visiting the unit during their annual summer training. The F-100, tail number 880, was assigned to the Iowa National Guard’s 174th Tactical Fighter Group in Sioux City, Iowa.
U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Volwieler 174th TFG Photographer

CHRISTENSEN SAYS NELSON PILOTED SEVERAL DIFFERENT AIRCRAFT:

BUD 2   OC…KIND OF EXPERIENCE.  :17

NELSON WAS RECALLED TWO ACTIVE DUTY ADDITIONAL TIMES BEFORE ENDING HIS NATIONAL GUARD CAREER IN 1980 AS THE 185TH COMMANDER.

NELSON VOLUNTEERED TO BECAME PART OF THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR FIGHTER BOMBER WING WHEN HE AND OTHER 174TH PILOTS WERE ASSIGNED TO THE 20TH FIGHTER BOMBER WING IN EUROPE, FLYING REGULAR MISSIONS ALONG THE WEST GERMAN BORDER AS A SHOW OF FORCE AGAINST SOVIET OCCUPIED EAST GERMANY.

THE 174TH EVENTUALLY GREW INTO THE 185TH TACTICAL FIGHTER GROUP WHICH WAS ASSIGNED THE F-100 SUPER SABER AND WAS ACTIVATED AGAIN IN 1968 FOR THE WAR IN VIETNAM.

Col. Warren Nelson 185th Fighter Wing Commander, Iowa Air National (Ret.) served as Wing Commander from April 1976 to May 1980. Nelson was a member of the 185th from beginning, he was also the unit’s last World War II veteran to serve as Wing Commander before retiring in 1980.

NELSON BECAME THE WING COMMANDER IN 1976 AND WENT THROUGH HIS FINAL AIR-FRAME CHANGE WHEN THE UNIT TRANSITIONED TO THE A-7 CORSAIR IN 1977.

CHRISTENSEN SAYS WITH ALL THAT NELSON ACCOMPLISHED, HE WAS VERY HUMBLE ABOUT IT:

BUD3  OC…HE NEVER DID.   :09

NELSON WAS A NATIVE OF JACKSON, MINNESOTA, BUT CALLED SIOUX CITY HOME FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE AND CONTINUED TO LIVE HERE AFTER HIS RETIREMENT.

FUNERAL SERVICES FOR NELSON WILL TAKE PLACE AT 10 A.M. FRIDAY AT 1ST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT 608 NEBRASKA STREET IN SIOUX CITY.

VISITATION IS THURSDAY FROM 4-6 P.M. AT MEYER BROTHERS COLONIAL CHAPEL ON STONE PARK BLVD WITH A MASONIC SERVICE AT 6 P.M.