Thursday, November 7, 2019

RIP Buzz Rizer

It is with deep sadness that I report the death of a legend in the Navy public affairs community—Mr. Jordan “Buzz” Rizer. Buzz passed away on Tuesday, 5 November.

Those of us who knew Buzz will always remember him as the architect of putting television entertainment systems aboard our ships. To our younger members who understand our current technology, they probably cannot relate to the significance of Buzz’s work in the 1970s. But to those who served in that timeframe, I can attest that his accomplishments were the result of an incredible vision. That vision helped set the Navy apart from its sister services by dramatically increasing the morale of our Sailors.

In 1981 Buzz was given the Navy’s highest civilian award for his work—the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. The award not only cited the impact Buzz’s work had on morale and retention but discussed how Buzz’s systems provided commanders and commanding officers new and unique communications tools. After his service to Navy, Buzz was named the director of the Armed Forces Information Service.

Prior to his roles as a distinguished civil servant, Buzz served in the Army and Air Force. He retired as an Air Force lieutenant colonel. Buzz was a USNPAA plank owner, one of the first individuals to join our organization in 1994.

For those who knew and worked with Buzz, we not only admired him as a professional and a visionary but as a wonderful human being. I will always remember Buzz for his kindness, civility and warmth. He had the unique ability to touch everyone with those qualities, and I can still remember several of my conversations with him in the CHINFO spaces. He had a very unique ability to put people at ease and make them feel special. Perhaps the best way to capture Buzz, his personality and his character is to cite the Facebook posting his daughter-in-law, Nancy, posted after his passing:

One of the greatest men I’ve ever known took his last breath this morning. He was my Boss, my best friend, my father in law and my Pop.  Jordan Edward (Buzz) Rizer was professionally the most unselfish, dedicated military and civilian public servant. Nearly all of his life he served his country and the Department of Defense, first in uniform, Army and Air Force, then as a civilian, Director of Navy Broadcasting Service (Armed Forces Radio and Television), and retired as an Assistant Secretary of Defense (Director, American Forces Information Service). I was blessed to work with him for many years. My life was immensely touched by this man. He introduced me to my husband. He was a wonderful grandfather to my children. I love you Pop. I know, I know, you “love me more.” I can’t thank you enough for being such a great part of my life. It hurts that you are gone, but I know we will see each other again one day soon.

Arrangements for Buzz are as follows:

Fairfax Memorial Park / Funeral Home
9900 Braddock Rd
Fairfax VA 22032
(703) 323-5202

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