Francis B. Brusino, National Guard general, educator - The Buffalo News

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Francis B. Brusino, National Guard general, educator

June 21, 1931 – Sept. 29, 2013

Retired Army National Guard Gen. Francis B. “Frank” Brusino, of Grand Island, an educator with a military career that spanned nearly 50 years, died Sunday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda. He was 82.

Born in Niagara Falls, he was a 1950 graduate of Bishop Duffy High School, where he played on the championship football team. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Niagara University and attended Florida State University, the University of Delaware, the University at Buffalo and Canisius College for certification in guidance and administration.

Mr. Brusino was a teacher, counselor and administrator in the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District from 1958 to 1991, retiring as the district’s deputy supervisor.

He began his military career in 1950 with ROTC at Niagara University. Receiving his commission, he had active duty in Germany and stateside, then joined the Army Reserve, where he completed many military schools in the 1950s and 1960s, including paratrooper training, where he was a jumpmaster.

His proudest assignment was as battalion commander of the 19th Special Forces Group (Green Berets), headquartered in White Plains. He retired from the Reserve in 1991.

Also a member of the National Guard, he was called to duty as a commander during the 1971 Attica prison uprising. During the 1990s, he became commander of Headquarters 4th Brigade and was commander of all special forces troops in the state before the National Guard Special Forces was disbanded in 1996. Promoted to brigadier general, he retired from the National Guard in the late 1990s.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he helped establish Grand Island’s Citizens Emergency Response Team.

Cited for his community volunteer efforts by President George W. Bush during his visit here in 2004, he met the president at the airport and rode with him to a program in Kleinhans Music Hall.

For his work with the Grand Island response team, he received the Excellence in Leadership Award in 2005 and a special Grand Island Fire Company commendation in 2011.

He was a member of numerous military and veterans organizations, including the Special Forces Association, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the 82nd Airborne Division Association, the 11th Airborne Division Association and the 1/174th Veterans Association.

In the early 2000s, he traveled with Friendship Airborne to China, Thailand, Cambodia and Mongolia, earning jump wings from each country.

He also enjoyed hunting and boating.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, the former Susan E. Fleming, and three sons, Lee, F. Gregory and Karl.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 150 Broad St., City of Tonawanda.

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