Last Known Activity
Sanford Larkwood Branch, Jr. was born in Superior, Wisconsin on March 23, 1930. He was the son of Sanford L. and Valora Maude Baker Branch. He attended the Pattison Elementary School and then the Central High School. While in the 8th grade, he was awarded the American Legion Award, honoring academics and citizenship.
While still in school, he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard and was assigned to the Hq & Hq Company, 128th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Division in inactive status. He was employed by Forstrom Motors Lincoln-Mercury auto dealership until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in October, 1948.
He received basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, and was assigned to Keesler AFB, Mississippi as a student in the Ground Radar Maintenance course. He graduated in 1949 as a Corporal with MOS 953. He was assigned to Eglin AFB, Florida, home of the Air Proving Ground Command, but later returned to Keesler for a special maintenance course on the 584 Auto-track radar system.
Returning to Eglin, he remained there until 1954 at which time he was assigned to Japan. After serving in Japan, he once again was assigned to Eglin. Here he stayed until 1958 when he was sent to Keesler for training on the newest auto-track radar. After school, he returned to duty at Eglin. In 1960, he was assigned to Wallace AFS, in the Philippines with the 848th AC&W Squadron.
Leaving Wallace in 1963, he was sent to the 728th AC&W Squadron with headquarters at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. He was further assigned to Detachment 5 and 2 of the 728th at Nellis AFB, Nevada. In 1965, he moved to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia where he had the duty of Ground Radar Superintendent of the Operations Division. He was assigned to the 6146th Air Force Advisory Group in South Korea in 1968.
When he returned to the U.S., he was assigned to the 657th AC&W Squadron at Houma, Louisiana where he was Chief of Maintenance until 1970 when he was sent to the 23rd Air Division at Duluth, Minnesota. Leaving Duluth in 1973, he spent a 1 year tour at Mt Laguna AFS, California, followed by a 1-year tour in Tin City, Alaska. His last assignment was to Detachment 5, 11th Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron at Wilder, Idaho.
CMS Branch retired on November 1, 1978. He remained in Idaho, settling in Middleton. He was employed by Hewlett-Packard Company as a Quality Assurance Inspector from 1979 until he retired again in February, 1995.
A home-injury incident in 2000 and subsequent eye surgery led to further illnesses, and he was admitted to the Idaho Veterans Home. He contracted pneumonia and flu and passed away on January 25, 2005. He is buried in the Idaho State Veterna's Cemetery in Ada County, Idaho.
He left his wife of 57 years and two daughters.
"Rest well, dear friend - you are remembered."
I first met "Sandy" when I was returning from a tour in Germany, and was assigned to Eglin AFB in 1956. I was assigned to the same site as Sandy. He was NCOIC, and so handled most details of the administrative work. I was maintenance crew chief, and because of my prior experience in Korea with ground-directed bombing and with Matador missile guidance in Germany, I also was chief controller for our missions.
Sandy and his wife, Marilyn ("Marnie") became fast-friends as we socialized a great bit. The crews at the sites tended to stay together. I was sent down range from Eglin in 1958 to install a new tracking site, and when I returned, I was assigned to a different site, but kept up my friendship. Then I was made NCOIC of another site, and in 1959, I was sent back to Germany.
I next ran into Sandy and Marnie when, in 1963, I was assigned to a Radar Bomb Scoring detachment in St. George, Utah, and Sandy was assigned to range work on the gunnery ranges at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Nellis was our support base, so I got to spend some fair amount of time there. When visiting there, I would arrange to see Sandy.
Then later, in 1973, I was serving at the 779th AC&W Squadron at Opheim, Montana when I learned that Sandy was at Mt. Laguna AFS near San Diego. We talked many times on the inter-site telephone network, concerning similar maintenance and site problems as well as personal items. I retired in 1974 as Sandy was going to Alaska, so I lost all track of him. In late 2005, I managed to acquire his address, and contacted Marnie who informed me of Sandy's passing. We have corresponded a few times since, and I have been in touch with Sandy's eldest daughter concerning his records, career, etc. It was she who sent me the pictures posted on this site.