When asked how he would want to be celebrated, Lt. TJ Hall, Max’s Wingman, said, “Fast, Loud and Awesome!”. While he’ll be celebrated this way, he’ll be remembered as generous beyond belief, a genuine friend, passionate and relentlessly positive, and fearless.
Lt. Richard Max Bullock was born on February 13th, 1993, in Butte, Montana and died on June 3 during a training exercise, when the FA-18 Super Hornet he was flying crashed near Trona, California. While taken far too soon, Max packed more into 29 years than most could ever imagine. He would start everyday with an intent on figuring out how to make the world a better place.
Max was generous. He spent his early life in Butte Montana, helping his family build the Jeremy Bullock Memorial Soccer fields, a tribute to his brother who was also taken too soon. He continued to support the Jeremy Bullock Foundation throughout his life. Max was also an entrepreneur. By age four, he was caught tolling his dad’s coworkers for access to their offices, by 15 he formed his first company, and when he passed, he had multiple real estate holdings and was the force behind an investment collaborative with his siblings and parents.
Max was genuine. He would strike up a conversation and build a friendship with everyone crossing his path, he would listen with interest and appreciation to any story. He gave the gift of long-term friendship openly and without reservation. While attending University of Alaska Anchorage, Max founded a chapter of TKE fraternity, a group dedicated to emphasizing personal worth and character. Many continue to remain close friends.
Max was passionate and relentlessly positive. He would dream of ideas that seemed crazy to most people but would shock them again when he presented a step-by-step solution to achieving them. He joined the Navy. . . to become a pilot. . . to become an astronaut. . . to get into space. . . to fulfill his dream of mining asteroids. From bikes to trains to planes to space, he always had a plan in motion to make the world a better place. His belief in himself was only matched by his belief in the goodness and equal ability of others. In every action and conversation, he conveyed that there are no limits on potential and possibility.
Max was fearless. No dream was too big, he was never afraid to hear no and never concerned by the unknown. He would give 100% of himself to the task at hand and was never afraid to try. One of his favorite sayings was “the answer is always no if you don’t ask”. He also lacked a fear of heights, constructing an observatory platform over 60ft off the ground to better see the stars – to this day most of his family is still too afraid to make the climb which Max called the “Ladder of Destiny”.
Max began his military career in Rhode Island where he was commissioned as 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.
In 2017 Lieutenant Bullock reported to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, FL for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination upon completion he subsequently moved to NAS Whiting Field, FL, and primary flight school in the Beechcraft T-6B Texan II with the VT-6 Shooters. The Commander of Air Wing Five presented Max with a Certificate of Merit in recognition of his superior performance. He next reported to NAS Meridian, MS and the VT-7 Eagles for Intermediate and Advanced Jet training flying the McDonnell Douglas T-45C Goshawk. Lieutenant Bullock received his Wings of Gold and designation as a Naval Aviator in August 2019 upon which he reported to NAS Lemoore, CA and the VFA-122 Flying Eagles for fleet replacement training in the F/A-18E-F Super Hornet.
Lieutenant Bullock began his operational flying with Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113) Stingers, in April 2021 flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet as a part of Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2). Deploying with CVW-2 onboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) during the 2021/2022 WESTPAC Deployment, LT Bullock earned his Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics Level II Combat Wingman Qualification. Lieutenant Bullock accumulated over 600 hours in the T-6B, T-45C, F/A-18E-F, as well as over 125 carrier arrested landings.
Max lived his life by his personal values of humility and gratitude; continuous growth and education; and honor, courage and commitment. Humility and gratitude shown through his positive attitude and his genuine love of and interest in people, and never expecting anything in return other than friendship. Continuous growth and education exhibited from receipt of his bachelor’s degree from University of Alaska in Anchorage and his current work towards a second degree in engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Space mining from the Colorado School of Mines. Honor, courage and commitment every day of his life.
Max is survived by his parents, Bill and Robin Bullock, his siblings Josh (& Janice), Sam (& Jackie), and Kaitlyn and his puppy Amelia. He is also survived by grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his brother Jeremy Bullock, Grandmother Pat Thornell, Uncle Rob Thornell and Grandpa Mike Bullock.
A celebration of Max’s life will be held at 2 pm on June 25, at the Montana National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility, 3333 Skyway Drive in Helena, MT and on June 22 at the NAS Lemoore in CA. Friends are asked to share their stories and memories of Max at the celebration, in conversation with family and friends, and online at https://everloved.com/life-of/richard-max-bullock/ so that we can share Max’s life.
Memorial contributions can be made in Max’s honor to the Wingman Foundation, a program supporting the Bullock family in creating a foundation to support dreamers and entrepreneurs like Max in reaching their ambitions.