WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — An Augusta man was one of three inductees into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.
Col. Willis M. “Buster” Boshears Jr., whose first logbook entry was made at age 6, had three careers in aviation: military, general aviation and airport management. He served in the Air Force and worked at Daniel Field Airport for most of his professional life.
“Everyone wants to be patted on the back, and I’m no different,” Boshears said. “It’s a great honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m very appreciative.”
Boshears joined Capt. John M. Bailey Jr. and Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry as inductees, bringing the number to 107 since the Hall of Fame opened in 1989. The three men were enshrined at Robins Air Force Base in front of an audience of about 500.
“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 said.
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.
Former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, of Augusta, once said Boshears was the only student he knew who went to college in a Comanche.
“Gov. Sanders was a pilot during World War II, and he rented an airplane from my father during his campaign for governor,” said Boshears, thinking back to the early 1960s. “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.”
While serving in the Vietnam War, Boshears flew 114 combat missions as an F-105 pilot and was awarded for leading a flight over hostile territory in 1969.
After leaving 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. He oversaw numerous improvement projects, the largest being the construction of a new airline passenger terminal at Bush Field.
Boshears joins his father and uncle as members of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. The elder Boshears were enshrined in 2000.
“Buster is truly the culmination of all the Boshears achievements in aviation,” said Judge Dudley Bowen, of Augusta, who attended the ceremony.