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Clifford's Story

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Clifford F. "Buck" Shiers, 81, of Gibbon, Neb., died Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. His funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at O'Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral Home. The Rev. Barbara Spangler will officiate. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery at 1 p.m.. Jan. 25.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Jan. 24, at the funeral home.
Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation.
Condolences may be shared online at www.osrfh.com.
Clifford Shiers was born March 28, 1936, in Gibbon, Neb., the second eldest of seven children to Floyd and Margaret (Bundy) Shiers. The family moved to Kearney in 1944. Clifford graduated from Kearney High School in 1953 and entered college that fall, but a serious car accident kept him from continuing his education. After recovering from the accident, he worked for Diamond Engineering before entering the service in 1958.
After completing aviation cadet school, he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and was assigned to Randolph Air Force as a navigator aboard KC-97 refueling tankers. In 1959 he was assigned to the 320th Air Refueling Squadron at March AFB. He flew on missions to the Pacific, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Guam, Marianna Islands, Alaska and numerous other countries. On two occasions he flew on missions to Kearney, Neb., to provide tactical aircraft support of local selected recovery units.
After completing training for duty aboard KC-135 jet refueling tankers. he flew missions to England, Germany and Spain. During his time in the Air Force, Clifford, flew many combat missions over Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the DMZ, some of them aboard an AC-130 gunship. In 1973 he was assigned with the 2nd Airborne Command Control Squadron stationed at Offutt AFB. Many of the missions from Offutt were classified and took him to every part of the globe, including Alaska, England, Japan, Okinawa, Greece, Germany and Spain. After 22 years in the Air Force, Clifford retired in 1980, having obtained the rank of major.
Not counting the combat sorties, he flew over Southeast Asia, Clifford flew 222 operational reconnaissance missions and amassed 10,500 hours of flight time. Clifford was awarded the Air Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, The Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Longevity Service Award, the Air Force Small Arms Expert Award and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Clifford continued his flying career by joining E-Systems, Inc. at Greenville, Texas. At E-Systems he participated in all facets of the aviation industry, including designing systems, modifying aircraft and then conducting test flights to prepare the planes for delivery to the Air Force and other customers. Clifford retired from E-Systems in 1998 after 40 years of flying, amassing almost 15,000 hours in the air. Clifford then moved to Gibbon to enjoy retirement.
He enjoyed restoring antique automobiles, hunting, fishing and playing cards at the Kearney senior center. Clifford was a member of the Elks, American Legion, Antique Auto Club and Ducks Unlimited.
Clifford is survived by brothers Ronald (Leah) of Terra Bella, Calif,, Arthur of Lincoln and Loren(Joyce) of Ames, Iowa; 10 nieces and nephews and many family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Edith Brill and Marilyn Kraft, brother Alvin, brothers-in-law Francis Brill and Charles Kraft, sister-in-law Marilyn Shiers and three nieces.
Published on January 22, 2018
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