About

Our Mission

To provide a fun, safe and affordable place where shooting enthusiasts can participate in their sport. We will do this through continuous training of range officers to provide and promote safety; courteously listening to our customers; and constantly being proactive while maintaining excellent customer service and satisfaction.

Buckeye Sportsman Club

The Buckeye Sportsman Club maintains and manages the Joe Foss Shooting Complex located inside the Buckeye Hills Recreation Area, under contract and in cooperation with Maricopa County Parks & Recreation.

The Buckeye Sportsman Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the safe handling and operation of firearms.

General Joseph Jacob “Joe” Foss

General Joe Foss was born Born April 17, 1915 on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as the oldest son of Olouse and Mary Lacey Foss, Foss grew up in a farmhouse without electricity.

Joe Foss served as a Private in the 147th Field Artillery, Sioux Falls, SD National Guard from 1937–1940. In 1940, armed with his pilot’s certificate and a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota, he hitchhiked his way to Minneapolis where he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, in order to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program to become a Naval Aviator.

After being designated a Naval Aviator, Joe Foss graduated at Pensacola, Florida and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, and served as a “plowback” instructor at Naval Air Station Pensacola. At the age 26 he was considered too old to be a fighter pilot, and was sent to the Navy School of Photography. Upon completion of his initial assignment, he was transferred to Marine Photographic Squadron 1 (VMO-1) stationed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. Dissatisfied with his role in photographic reconnaissance, Foss made repeated requests to be transferred to a fighter qualification program. He checked out in Grumman F4F Wildcats while still assigned to VMO-1, logging over 150 flight hours in June and July, 1942. and was eventually transferred to the Marine Fighting Squadron 121 VMF-121 as the executive officer.

In October 1942, VMF-121 and its aircraft were sent to Guadalcanal as part of Operation Watchtower to relieve VMF-223, which had been fighting for control of the air over the island since their arrival in mid-August. On October 9, Foss and his group were launched off the USS Copahee escort carrier and flew 350 miles north to reach Guadalcanal. This group, code named”Cactus”, based at Henderson Field became known as the Cactus Air Force, and their presence played a pivotal role in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Foss soon gained a reputation for aggressive close-in fighter tactics and uncanny gunnery skills.  Foss shot down a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero on his first combat mission on October 13, but his own F4F Wildcat was shot up as well, and with a dead engine and three more Zeros on his tail, Foss landed at full speed, with no flaps and minimal control on the American-held runway at Guadalcanal, barely missing a grove of palm trees.

As lead pilot in his flight of eight Wildcats, the group soon became known as Foss’s Flying Circus, with two sections Foss nicknamed “Farm Boys” and “City Slickers.”  Conditions in the jungle were extreme, and in December 1942, Foss was stricken with malaria and was sent to Sydney, Australia for rehabilitation. On January 1, 1943, Foss returned Guadalcanal and “his boys,” to continue combat operations which lasted until February 9, 1943. In three months of sustained combat, Foss’s Flying Circus shot down 72 Japanese aircraft, including 26  credited to Joe  Foss himself. Upon matching the record of 26 kills held by America’s top World War I ace, Eddie Rickenbacker, Foss was accorded the honor of becoming America’s first “ace-of-aces” in World War II.

Joe Foss returned to the United States in March 1943 and on May 18, 1943, received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The White House ceremony was featured in Life magazine, with the reluctant Captain Foss appearing on the magazine’s cover.

In postwar years, Joe Foss achieved fame as a General in the Air National Guard, the 20th Governor of South Dakota, and the first commissioner of the American Football League, President of the NRA, as well as a career as a television broadcaster.

On January 11, 2002 at age 86, Joe Foss was scheduled to deliver an address at the NRA and speak to a class at the United States Military Academy at West Point when he was in the news as he was detained by security at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  A search necessitated by his pacemaker precluding a metal detector screening had led to the discovery of the star-shaped Medal of Honor, along with a clearly marked dummy-bullet keychain, a second replica bullet and a small nail file (with MOH insignia). All of the airport security personnel demonstrated poor judgment in not recognizing the Medal of Honor and in demanding to confiscate and destroy the medal and related memorabilia. Their repeated requests for Foss to remove his boots, hat and belt were both a time consuming inconvenience and an embarrassment, and demonstrated a lack of regard for a decorated war hero.  “I wasn’t upset for me,” he said. “I was upset for the Medal of Honor, that they just didn’t know what it even was. It represents all of the guys who lost their lives – the guys who never came back. Everyone who put their lives on the line for their country. You’re supposed to know what the Medal of Honor is.” The incident led to a national debate about post 9/11 airport security practices and their ramifications on the average citizen.

Joe Foss suffered a severe stroke in October 2002 and died three months later on New Year’s Day, 2003, never having regained consciousness. Foss died in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he and his wife had made their home in later years.  Charlton Heston gave a brief but powerful tribute to his old friend. General Joe Foss was buried at Arlington National Cemetery  on January 21, 2003.

 

John Clarence Butler

(2 February 1921 – 4 June 1942) was a United States Navy officer and Naval aviator killed in action in the World War II Battle of Midway and was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

John C. Butler was born in Liberty, Arizona,  on February 02, 1921, and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve February 19, 1941 and was appointed an Aviation Cadet on April 03, 1941.  After flight training, he reported to Bombing Squadron 3 on board the aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-5).

In the Battle of Midway June 04, 1942, Butler and his squadron attacked a Japanese carrier group and despite heavy opposition succeeded in sinking three of the vital enemy flattops. Butler’s plane, however, did not return.

For his part in this gallant attack, which did much to turn the tide of the Pacific War, Ensign John C. Butler was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. In part the citation noted: “His gallant intrepidity and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of a vastly important objective contributed in large measure to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Come to the range and let’s have some fun!!

Comments are closed.