2LT Douglas L. Buchanan was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 02/07/2012 at the age of 64.7
Fairbanks, AK
Flight Class 71-16
Date of Birth 05/19/1947
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with A/7/17 CAV in 71-72, 60 AHC in 72-73
This information was provided by Barry Geller, Aviator

More detail on this person: Douglas Leo Buchanan, a longtime resident of Fairbanks, Alaska, left peacefully on his next adventure February 7th in the hills north of Helena, Montana with his wife & partner, Iloilo Jones, by his side after a long battle with cancer.

Born on May 19th, 1947 to Leo & Laura Buchanan (both deceased) of Selah, WA, Doug was the youngest of 7 children, brothers Bruce Buchanan (deceased) (Karron), Lynn Buchanan (Connie) of Yakima, Roger Buchanan of Judith Gap, Montana, sisters Betty Hillstrom Keller (Doug) of Selah, Kaye Patton of Dallas, Texas, & Marilyn Buchanan of Mercer Island, WA. Doug is survived by 13 nieces and nephews.

Doug grew up in Selah where he graduated from Selah High School in 1964. He then attended Washington State University where he got a degree in Wildlife Biology while participating in R.O.T.C. After graduation from W.S.U., Doug went on to complete his military obligation in the U.S. Army where he served with the 7/17 Cavalry as a platoon leader and helicopter pilot in Vietnam until 1974.

He left the US Army while stationed in Fairbanks, where he would spend most of the rest of his life, and where he became an important part of an active outdoor adventure community.

A brilliant thinker and gifted epistemologist, Doug wrote significant works on the ethics of government's use of force, on the evils of murder disguised as warfare, and the contradictions of armed robbery by taxation.

Doug lived many lives, all connected, all enacted thoughtfully, artfully, meaningfully. He enjoyed the respect and company and humor of many, mostly in Fairbanks, but also around the world, where he was famous.

Famous for rabble-rousing, for elevating freedom above safety, security, & control.

He was right, of course, as he almost always was during mid-winter party talk, serious parties, serious talk, but witty, too, and humor in those smiling gray eyes... though his sister would claim them blue.

In 1979 Doug organized the Alaskan Alpine Club. He fought federal regulations and won.

In the mid 1980s Doug pioneered climbing insurance in this country. The Mountain Rescue Expense Fund was the first. It lived on for decades, protecting the runners, skiers, and packrafters of the Wilderness Classic. Doug also pioneered climbs in the Alaska Range and Wrangells, especially first winter ascents. He specialized in the nameless, the unknowable, the cold and the desperate, the lonely.

Doug was an Eagle-scout-climber-skier-boater-skydiver-self-pro pelled-subsistence hunter (just to name a few) for more than 50 years. He jumped out of hot-air balloons, rappelled into glacier bellies, lined his boat upstream and returned with it full of moose. Doug experimented with fabrics from the 70s-80s, lightweight fabrics he sewed himself in designs he imagined while pursuing wild, icy mountain and solo ocean adventures so far out of the league of everyone else that decades passed before others did the same. He knapped arrowheads, made museum-quality pipes and sculpture, and later kept incredible websites of stories of such things and more. The turn of the century compelled him to build those floating islands that can be seen out on L.L. Buchanan Lake.

Yes, a revolutionary, a visionary in ways, physical, metaphysical, and herbal. Doug was instantly recognized by head hair that reached down his back, face hair to his chest, and his iconic Top Hat... but the beard... the long, gray, full beard, an enigmatic blend of wisdom, counter-culture, and liberty shined in resplendent display.

Yes, he was a visionary. A mentor. A friend, a husband, a brother, and an uncle.

More than that, he was a model of a man to all that were lucky enough to cross his path.

They will celebrate Doug's life in Fairbanks, Alaska on May 19th, his 65th birthday. Family and friends will celebrate a memorial of his life in the Yakima Valley in the springtime, as well as memorials on the East Coast, Helena Montana, Laramie & Lander Wyoming, North Carolina, and various other locations at various times. Memorials are suggested for the Alaskan Alpine Club, 1957 Weston Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709, or the charity of your choice. More information on celebrations, as well as comment on Doug's life, can be found on the CaringBridge.org site of Doug Buchanan, or more of his fascinating life can be read about at Alaskastories.com.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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