Butte family son, who died during Navy training exercise, ‘filled more life in 29 years than most could ever imagine’ | Local

Navy pilot Lt. Richard “Max” Bullock was an intrepid dreamer.

Bullock was born in Butte on February 13, 1993 to Robin and Bill Bullock. He was 29 and had been in the military for seven years when he died near Trona, California on June 3 after the FA-18 Super Hornet he was flying crashed during an exercise training.

For Bullock, being in the Navy was a step towards his goal of becoming an astronaut so he could one day mine asteroids in space, according to his family.

Max’s father, Bill, said it was a dream Max had had since his sophomore year at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, where he graduated in the fall of 2015 with degrees in business management and in global logistics and supply chain management as per UAA Initiation Documents.

In 2020, he enrolled at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and began pursuing a second degree in aerospace engineering, a degree he was still working on when he died. He first started working towards a degree in space mining at the Colorado School of Mines, but put it on hold until he could complete his engineering degree.

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According to Bill, Max had dreamed of mining space and building a moon station as a base since he was a sophomore in college.

The thing about Max was not only that he dreamed big, but he formulated step-by-step plans to achieve those dreams, according to an obituary written by his family.

“There’s nothing that wasn’t possible in his mind,” Bill said. “He didn’t understand the traditional barriers and constraints.”

Max loved the stars and looked at them through his telescope. One day, Bill says, Max was at his family’s house in Condon, Montana, waiting to find out if he’d gotten into Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida, and didn’t like all the trees blocking his view of the stars.

So he built a platform 60 feet off the ground between two of the trees. Bill said he remembered handing him floorboards. To get to the top of the platform, Max used ropes, and although the rest of the family wanted to join him, getting up there was another story.

“The thought of the rest of us going there was pretty heartbreaking,” Robin said. So Max built a ladder and carved the words “The Ladder of Fate” into the ladder he eventually built.

Robin said the title was symbolic of how Max believed you could accomplish anything by working hard and doing your best.

Bill said one of his favorite stories he heard from Max’s friends in college was from his sophomore year at UAA, when Max came up with a business plan as part of a class project and created a rough draft of what to operate in space. .

To kick things off, Bill said, Max was planning to start a GoFundMe, and even came up with the idea of ​​a reality show, “Space Cowboys.”

“He promised to take me, first trip,” Bill said.

This entrepreneurial spirit came naturally to Max, according to his family. From the age of four, he was charging employees of his father’s company, Pioneer Technical Services, a five-cent toll to ride up to their attic where the company was operating at the time. What he didn’t know at the time was that his father had a jar of coins employees could use for tolls.

At the age of 15, he started his own company, Bullock Networks LLC., which served as an umbrella for many different businesses, according to Bill.

Bill said the company’s biggest source of income was when Max flew to the nearby airport in Eagle River, Alaska, and swept snow off airplane wings after a snow dump.

In 2011, he won the Mr. Junior Alaska bodybuilding title and earned second place in the overall male physique.

He was also elected as a college freshman to be a UAA Student Union Senator and interned in then-Mayor Dan Sullivan’s office for eight hours a week, his sophomore year.

At the time of his death, he owned two real estate properties in California and one in Montana, and “was the driving force behind an investment collaboration with his siblings and parents,” according to his family’s written obituary.

But Bullock’s mark on the world was not limited to business and professional accomplishments and pursuits. He also struck up friendships everywhere he went, with a variety of people.

He founded Tau Kappa Epsilon, a Greek fraternity at UAA which at the time had chapters in every state except Alaska.

Bullock made friends in college. He made friends in the Navy. At an open mic night at the church. Name a place, and he’s probably made at least one friend there.

According to accounts from friends, Bullock was the type of guy who would go to a baseball game that his friends wanted to go to and have a good time, despite having no interest in baseball, or riding a bike on more 80 miles to help a friend. train for the Ironman triathlon, then set off for a two or three hour race, all smiles.

He also loved his family and would often speak of them. When he was around 14 months old, he lost his 11-year-old brother Jeremy when he was shot dead by another pupil at school. He helped his family build the Jeremy Bullock Memorial Football Grounds in Butte, which was a tribute to his brother, and supported the Jeremy Bullock Foundation throughout his life.

“Max has accumulated more than 29 years than most could ever imagine,” said an obituary written by his family. He leaves to mourn his parents, his brothers, Josh and Sam, his sister Kaitlyn, his dog, Amelia and many other members of his family.

Bullock’s military career began in Rhode Island, where he was commissioned an ensign after completing Officer Candidate School. He received the Lieutenant Thomas Eadie, USN Congressional Medal of Honor Award for receiving the highest average for academic and military training.

The commander of Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, presented Max with a certificate of achievement in recognition of his superior performance. He received his Gold Wings and Naval Aviator designation in August 2019 before reporting to NAS Lemoore, Calif., and VFA-122 Flying Eagles for fleet replacement training in the F/A-18E -F Super Hornet.

During the 2021/2022 WESTPAC deployment, he earned his Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics Level II combat wingman qualification. He has accumulated over 600 hours in the T-6B, T-45C, F/A-18E-F, as well as over 125 carrier arrested landings.

Memorial contributions can be made in Bullock’s honor to the Wingman Foundation, a program supporting the Bullock family in establishing a foundation to help dreamers and entrepreneurs like Bullock “achieve their ambitions,” according to the written obituary. by his family.

The cause of the crash that killed Bullock is still under investigation.

There will be two celebrations of life for him, one June 22 in California and another at 2 p.m. June 25 at the Montana National Guard Army Aviation Support Center, 3333 Skyway Drive in Helena .

Friends and family wrote tributes to Bullock on https://everloved.com/life-of/richard-max-bullock/.

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