Bernard T. “Bud” Gallagher – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

Bernard T. “Bud” Gallagher, 78, a retired lieutenant colonel who flew early jets for the Air Force during atomic testing and then was a federal emergency preparedness manager, died of congestive heart failure August 22, 2000 at his Leesburg, Virginia,  home.

He retired in 1965 as a representative to NATO on nuclear, biological and chemical defensive measures. His second retirement was in 1992 as site director of the emergency evacuation facility in Virginia at Mount Weather. He had also been acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Ronald Reagan.

Colonel Gallagher was a native of New York who attended the University of Alabama. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, flying bombers over Germany. He was shot down over Kiel, Germany, early in 1944 and parachuted into Denmark.

He was later captured by German troops and held until May 1945 in a prisoner of war camp at Barth, Germany.

After he began flying jets in the late 1940s, he participated in a series of atomic tests in Nevada and the Marshall Islands. He flew through mushroom clouds after 12 detonations taking radioactive samples. His exploits were later described in an exhibit at the Museum of American History about the history of atomic testing, and his flight logbook and other equipment were put on display.

Starting in 1958, he commanded a helicopter squadron in Pennsylvania that was assigned to presidential rescue duty. In 1963, he was assigned to the Pentagon as advance agent for President John F. Kennedy’s trips on Air Force One, and he
accompanied presidential trips.

He was a technical adviser to the National Academy of Science on the protection of “national treasures,” such as historic documents and art work.

Colonel Gallagher was a member of Mensa, the National Defense Executive Reserve and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His marriage to Catherine Brown ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Stanley Gallagher of Leesburg; a son from his first marriage, Thomas Gallagher of New Lisbon, Wis.; two daughters from his second marriage, Shawn Hays of Rawlings, Wyo., and Marta Jewell of Lovettsville; and six grandchildren.


On Tuesday, August 22, 2000, at his residence in Leesburg, VA. Beloved husband of Mrs. Stanley E. Partin Gallagher; father of Thomas Gallagher, Shawn Hayes and Marta Jewell. Also survived by six grandchildren. Funeral services to be conducted on Friday, September 1, at 9 a.m., at the Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment