European brief: AAFES employee honored at Wiesbaden service
September 11, 2008
A memorial service was held Monday at Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Germany for Richard J. Vukas, 69, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service employee and Air Force veteran, who died Aug. 26.
Vukas, born in Long Beach, N.Y., in 1939, joined the Air Force at the age of 17 and served for six years, mostly in France, before being honorably discharged.
After working for a private security company, the U.S. Embassy in Paris and Capitol Airways, Vukas landed a job with AAFES in 1995 and served in various positions.
In the Wiesbaden community he was best known as the driver who, for five years, ferried exchange employees to and from the airport as they deployed to or returned from assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
"Richard will always be remembered for his sense of humor, his caring attitude and his love of life," read a release from the exchange.
He received the NATO medal for civilian employment for a deployment with AAFES to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as three excellence awards during his time at the exchange.
Vukas died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, after undergoing surgery.