Remembering Frederick Charles ``Bulldog'' Becker IV
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Congressional Record: 114th Congress
23 June 2016
Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I am going to be getting on an airplane tomorrow morning to head home to join with Alaskans who are coming together to celebrate the life of a man I affectionately know as ``Bulldog.'' This is Frederick Charles Becker IV. I think that as Alaskans gather to celebrate the life of a truly extraordinary man who served his country so honorably, we will remember with great fondness a veteran who was passionate about his country, a veteran who was passionate about his State, and a veteran who truly had a love of life that he shared with so many of us. I know I was certainly honored to call him friend, and I believe that Senator Sullivan, who is presiding over the Senate this hour, shared that same affection for truly a great man.
There is always a lot of speculation about someone's name. When you have a name like Bulldog, there are a lot of questions. How did he come to be named Bulldog? Was it because his family had a passion for raising and breeding and showing English bulldogs? I didn't even know that. Apparently, they had a lot of English bulldogs. But that is really not why he carries that nickname. He took the moniker of ``Bulldog'' because of his tenacity.
Those of us who know him say, yes, of course, that is appropriate. Nobody knows this better than Bulldog's brothers at the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 43-1 and the Alaska Veterans Motorcycle Club, who will be out in force tomorrow to honor one of their own.
I had an opportunity this afternoon to meet with a fellow veteran and member of the Alaska Veterans Motorcycle Club who is leaving tonight so that he can get to Anchorage tomorrow, where so many of those who loved Bulldog will be gathering to ride to Fort Richardson for this service. It will truly be a sight to be seen.
Bulldog Becker was born in Petersburg, VA, on May 28, 1943. He married his wife Betty on January 12, 1963. He joined the Air Force and relocated to Dover, DE. He served three tours in Vietnam. Ultimately, he was transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base just outside of Anchorage. Bulldog and Betty moved three kids, as well as three bulldogs and a cat. They all came up the Alaska Highway in a Dodge van. They were towing a trailer that had the infamous sign on the back that said ``Alaska or Bust.'' They were living the dream.
Bulldog lived a life that was truly focused around his country. He retired from the military in 1981 as a master sergeant. He then transitioned to a civilian career in retail loss prevention, rising to the position of regional asset protection manager for Sears.
If you had a chance to spend any time with Bulldog over these past many years, you know that as a veteran and as a patriot, Bulldog was not shy to talk about how he felt his fellow veterans were treated when they returned home from the Vietnam war. He was a bulldog in his approach, if you will. He was determined that no future veteran would suffer the same treatment. He was so thoroughly devoted to this principle. He was at every ceremony, every recognition. Any time there were opportunities to welcome brothers- and sisters-in-arms as they returned to our bases, as they returned to our community, Bulldog was always there. He was always there.
Bulldog was instrumental in organizing the annual Byers Lake Memorial Day motorcycle run. I want to digress a moment from his life to talk about the significance of this event because it is, for me, probably one of the most powerful and meaningful Memorial Day tributes that I have ever been able to participate in, and I go or try to go every year. I missed this year. I say that with a heaviness because I always look forward to being with the Veterans Motorcycle Clubs. Every now and again, I would get the honor of riding on the bikes with them. Bulldog is there front and center every year; he is a participant.
This Alaska State Veterans Memorial is located off the Parks Highway at Byers Lake. If you are driving the road between Anchorage and Fairbanks, you might not even notice it because it is 147 miles from Anchorage and it is 214 miles from Fairbanks. You are midway in between on the highway. It sits up on a hilltop in an extraordinarily picturesque spot. As you look out to the memorial itself, the way it is framed, when Denali is out, it is sitting front and center, spectacular as it possibly can be. It will take your breath away. The monument, tucked into the trees, gives you a sense of serenity, of peace, but also extraordinary pride in the men and women who served us there.
I give you a little bit of a geography lesson to remind you that this is not an easy place to get to on a Memorial Day. It is in between the two big cities, the two anchors. To make the trip out there, as so many of our veterans do, is truly an opportunity to pay tribute in a way that is meaningful. This is more than just getting up, having a late breakfast, and going to the Memorial Day services on the Anchorage Park Strip or in downtown Fairbanks. This is a special place, led by special Alaskans, led by special veterans, and Bulldog was one of those.
The recollection I will have moving forward is, whether it is a Memorial Day gathering at Byers Lake, whether it is the salute to the military, whether it is the Veterans Day ceremonies, whether it is the many parades, whether it is the Forgotten Soldiers ceremony, in my mind, Bulldog is always part of that picture, and he will always be part of that picture for me.
As Bulldog joins Betty, his beloved wife of 51 years, in Heaven, he leaves a strong, multigenerational family legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I am honored to have known this distinguished Alaskan. I am proud to share his story with my Senate colleagues. I will take the love so many of us have for this man and treasured veteran to my grave because he truly is one of the greats.
With that, I thank you.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
r. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
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