A Crisis, The Vietnam War, And The Cold War: Reflections Of An Army Spouse

Trish (O'Sullivan) Buckner


Trish (O’Sullivan) Buckner met her future spouse, Richard (Dick) Buckner (USMA 61) when they were teenagers. They both attended gender segregated Catholic high schools, but rode the same bus each day. Trish noticed that Dick never talked to anyone, so she stared at him. Three months later he asked her out. They continued dating when Dick went to West Point, and Trish visited from the Bronx for many of the dances and special events, starting with Plebe Christmas. They were married after graduation, and their first assignment was a nuclear Air Defense missile site in California. The remoteness of the post was shocking and Trish remembers evacuating when forest fires threatened their house. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dick was “locked-down” at the battery during that period of heightened tensions. She recalls being forced off post during long deployments, like Vietnam, when families had 30 days to relocate. After a tour at West Point when Dick taught in the Department of Physical Education, and another deployment to Vietnam, when the family lived in Florida, Dick was reassigned as a Foreign Area Officer. Following a stint at the Defense Language Institute where Dick learned Russian was a two-year Russian language immersion in Garmisch, Germany, which was Trish’s favorite assignment. She did not, however, like their next missions in Budapest (1981-1983) and Prague (1987-1990) where they were constantly spied upon and harassed. When the Cold War ended, they were in Pilsen and Trish worked at the embassy where Shirley Temple was the Ambassador. After Dick retired from the Army, he worked in the Aerospace industry. Reflecting on her time as an Army spouse, Trish states that her best memories are their time at Garmisch, R&R in Hawaii, and reunions with the West Point Class of 1961.


conflicts Cold War Vietnam War
topics Military Family West Point History Camaraderie Cuban Missile Crisis USMA 1961
interviewer David Siry
date 29 January 2022


name Trish (O'Sullivan) Buckner
graduation year 1961
specialty Richard Buckner's Spouse USMA 61