Bruce Host was born on November 14, 1939, in Kane, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Kentucky Air National Guard on March 29, 1957, and served until he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program for Navigator Training on September 11, 1959. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force and awarded his Navigator Wings at Harlingen AFB, Texas, on September 7, 1960, remaining at the school as an academic instructor from September 1960 to December 1961, and then served as a C-130 Hercules navigator with the 817th Troop Carrier Squadron at Naha AB, Okinawa, from December 1961 to July 1963. During this time he flew numerous missions in Laos and South Vietnam between December 1961 and June 1963. Capt Host served as an RC-130 navigator with the 1375th Mapping and Charting Squadron at Turner AFB, Georgia, from July 1963 to March 1966, and during this time he flew temporary duty assignments with Aerial Survey Teams in Asmara, Ethiopia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Bogota, Columbia, from November 1963 to September 1964, followed by an Air Force bootstrap assignment to complete his bachelor's degree at Omaha University from September 1964 to June 1965. His next assignment was as a Manning Officer, Chief of the Overseas Manning Branch, and then as Chief of the Airman Assignments Division with Headquarters Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, from July 1966 to June 1970, followed by service as an HC-130P navigator with the 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Tuy Hoa AB and then Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam, from June 1970 to June 1971. During this time he served as navigator aboard the HC-130P "Lime Two" during the Son Tay Raid, a clandestine mission to rescue American Prisoners of War in North Vietnam on November 21, 1970. LtCol Host attended the Naval War College at NAS Newport, Rhode Island, from July 1971 to July 1972, and then served as Executive Officer and Command Navigator to the Commander in Chief of U.S. Alaskan Command at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, from July 1972 to August 1974. His next assignment was as Chief of Total Officer Force Programs in the Officer Programs Branch and then as Executive Officer in the Directorate of Personnel Programs with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from September 1974 to July 1977, followed by National War College from August 1977 to June 1978. After attending Attaché training in Washington, D.C., Col Host served as Air Attaché to Bucharest, Romania, from April 1979 to June 1981, and he then retired from the Air Force at Tyndall AFB, Florida, on August 1, 1981.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
Captain Bruce J. Host distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as the Navigator aboard an HC-130P aircraft over hostile territory in Southeast Asia on 11 July 1970. On that date, Captain Host skillfully coordinated and directed the activities of nineteen rescue aircraft engaged in an extremely difficult and challenging combat aircrew recovery effort deep in hostile territory. Captain Host's superior resourcefulness and outstanding knowledge of combat rescue operations contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and led to the safe recovery of two downed airmen from certain capture and possible death at the hands of hostile forces. The professional competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Host reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.