Michael Charles Branche – Captain, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

Michael Charles Branche, a pilot who participated in the B-52 attacks during Desert Storm, died of cancer December 29, 1993 at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base.  He lived in Bowie, Maryland.

Captain Branche graduated in 1982 from Largo High School, in 1983 from the Air Force Prep School and in 1987 from Air Force Academy. In July 1988, he completed pilot training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Shrevesport, Louisiana.

On January 16, 1991, he participated in Operation Desert Storm attack missions against Iraq. Seven B-52 Strato-fortresses assigned to the 2nd Bombardment Wing, 8th USAF, flew halfway around the world and launched conventionally armed cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. After 35 hours and 14,000 miles of continuous flying, they returned home about 5:30 pm the next day. As a result of that mission, earned a Bronze Star.

He completed aircraft commander training last summer and returned to Barksdale AFB as the first B-52 Distinguished Graduate from the wing in eight years. He was a member of East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He was also active in the Literacy Volunteers of American Tutors, the Caddo Parish-Bossier City Soccer Assn Coaches, the Shreveport Soccer Club Asst Coaches and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

Survivors include his wife, Kedra Hughes Branche of Shreveport; his parents, Dr William C. and Eloise Branche of Bowie; a sister, Dr Christine Branche-Dorsey of Decatur, GA; a brother, First Lieutenant Marc Branche of Pope Air Force Base North Carolina; and his grandparents, Kathleen and Hampton Johnson of Washington, DC. The family suggests expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Fisher House, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas 78236-5310.

A memorial service was held New Year's Day at Andrews, where Lieutenant Colonel John Kurtz posthumously awarded Branche the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding service, ccomplishments and dedication to his country. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon today in Chapel 3 at Andrews. Burial with military honors will follow in Arlington National Cemetery.

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