Way We Were: Augusta’s flying family

It should be no surprise that Augusta’s Buster Boshears Jr. is in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

He made his first logbook entry at age 6, he flew more than 100 combat missions in Vietnam and former Gov. Carl Sanders used to joke that when Buster attended the University of Georgia, he was the only student to commute to campus by airplane.

Buster (officially Willis M. Boshears Jr.) is latest in a family whose name is synonymous with Augusta aviation.

“My father (Wil­lis Bo­shears Sr.) and uncle (Forrest Boshears) were longtime aviators at Daniel Field, so you could say my career pointed me in this direction since I was a child,” Boshears once said in Chronicle interview.

After graduating from the Academy of Richmond Coun­ty, Boshears attended the University of Georgia on scholarship, working as a trainer under former Rich­mond Academy football coach Frank Inman. Bo­shears first drove back and forth to Athens before his father recommended flying.

That was when Carl San­ders claimed Bo­shears was the only student he knew who went to college in a Comanche aircraft.

“Gov. Sanders was a pilot during World War II, and he rented an airplane from my father during his (1962) campaign for governor,” said Boshears. “But some nights when we knew he’d be working long hours, my dad asked me to tag along with (Sanders) and ride with him. I probably rode with him a half-dozen times, and that’s how we got to know each other.”

During the Viet­nam War, Boshears flew 114 combat missions as an F-105 pilot and was honored for his service. When he left active duty in 1973, he began working for Augusta Avia­tion at Daniel Field. He was appointed to the Georgia Aviation Trades Association’s board of directors in 1975, serving twice as its chairman.

In March 1997, Boshears was hired by the city of Au­gus­ta as Daniel Field Air­port’s manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. During his tenure, he oversaw numerous improvement projects, the largest being the construction of a new airline passenger terminal at Bush Field.

In 2015 Boshears joined his father and uncle as members of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. The elder Boshears brothers were enshrined in 2000.

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