Retired Rear Admiral now serving his Arkansas community as a first responder


Rocky Branch VFD member Jack Buffington. Image courtesy David. D. Phillips

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Navy SEABEE Rear Admiral (Retired) Jack Buffington served in the military for 34 years and followed that up with a tenure as an award-winning professor at the University of Arkansas.

Today, he serves his local community as a first responder for the Rocky Branch Volunteer Fire Department.

During his career in the Navy, Admiral Buffington rose to the position of Chief of Engineers and Commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command responsible for all Navy contracting and public works worldwide and representing the 24,000 active and reserve SEABEES in the Navy.

After retirement, Buffington taught construction management at the University of Arkansas and received the 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2009 “Outstanding Service to Students Award” from the College of Engineering. He was selected for the 2002-2003 State of Arkansas Professional Engineer of the Year Award.

Admiral Buffington Addressing the audience at the March 5, 2021 Dedication of the United States Naval Construction Battalion’s Memorial at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. Photo courtesy David D. Phillips.

But now, his focus is on assisting members of his local community as a first responder and heavy equipment operator for the Rocky Branch Volunteer Fire Department, at an area south of Beaver Lake.

For the past 12 years, he has helped his community in a variety of medical and fire call responses, according to a release from David D. Phillips of the Northwest Arkansas branch of the Military Officers’ Association of America (MOAA).

In the majority of Buffington’s calls, he drives the 2,000 gallon tender which provides water to the fire engines, but he is qualified to drive all department vehicles, including six fire vehicles and one boat.

“We have in excess of 125 calls per year,” said Buffington. The release states that approximately 80% of the calls are medical and about 20% are fire calls.

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