Photos and correspondence about Elvin “Junior” Bockhorn, Jr.from a shipmate. Bockhorn was killed aboard the USS Cushing during the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Memorial Day holds special significance for Flyers legend Bockhorn

Throughout the Miami Valley, Bucky Bockhorn is mostly associated with basketball.

He is one of the most beloved and accomplished players ever to wear a Dayton Flyers uniform. Later he played seven seasons for the Cincinnati Royals in the NBA and for the past 46 years he’s done the color commentary on WHIO’s radio broadcasts of Flyers games.

But the other day when he sat down with Dayton Daily News columnist Tom Archdeacon, he wanted to talk about something besides hoops.

Memorial Day weekend was ahead and no one appreciates its significance any more than 82-year-old Bockhorn.

Two of his older brothers died in combat.

On November 13, 1942, Elvin Bockhorn Jr. – known to his family as Junior — was killed aboard the USS Cushing in the Battle of Guadalcanal, one of the fiercest naval battles in all of World War II.

Eight years later, his brother Eugene, an Army medic, was killed while tending to a fellow soldier outside Pusan, South Korean during the Korean War.

In all, six of the seven Bockhorn brothers – including Bucky, who was drafted after his freshman year at UD – served in the military.

“Back then, that’s how it was,” he said. “You served your country.”

As he told his family’s story, Bockhorn brought out a few old photos of his brothers in uniform and then produced a pair of gripping letters from fellow soldiers who were with Junior and Gene when they were killed.

“As a kid growing up I remember how proud I was of my older brothers,” he said quietly. “And all these years later, I still am.”

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