Bogdewic didn’t get to fly, so he packed up air bases and played in Army band
Bruno Bogdewic’s military career never “got off the ground” – ironic for a man who has spent 50 years making sure area residents had four wheels on the ground.
A 1944 graduate of Bentleyville High School, Bogdewic enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps while still in school.
He had hoped to become a pilot, but upon completing basic training was told that the aviator cadet program had been shut down. No more pilots were needed.
Given a choice, Bogdewic chose electronics and received training at Madison, Wis., and then at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, where he learned how to become a welder for the Air Corps.
At Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, he was placed on a packing and crating team. He furthered his training toward becoming an expert in that field at Harrisburg.
After that training, Bogdewic was one of 13 chosen for a special assignment. The group was sent overseas for six months to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations.
They flew to Calcutta, India and from there traveled into the wilderness to areas such as Burma. where they packed up bomb shelters and air bases.
After six months, Bogdewic was transported back to Middletown Air Depot in Harrisburg.
He retuned home on Palm Sunday, 1946.
Bogdewic faced an Army version of a Catch 22 when he got home – he did not have enough points to be discharged, but there was nothing for him to do at Middletown.
So his superiors formed an Army band.
For close to five months, the band played, with Bogdewic as the trombone player.
“When I came out of the service, they listed my MOS as a bandsman,” Bogdewic said with a laugh of his Military Occupational Specialty, or job classification in the service.
“All of that training to become ‘a bandsman.'”
Bogdewic never got to fly while in the service, but transportation of another type has dominated his career since.
Bogdewic began working at the Durant dealership owned by Frank Yenko in Bentleyville after he got out of the service.
He also delivered appliances sold at the four-story store owned by the Yenko. The store was located next door to the dealership.
He eventually worked in the parts department in Bentleyville, ultimately becoming the parts manager at Yenko Chevrolet. He would later get into auto sales.
But his big break in the business came in 1958 when Chevrolet asked him if he was interested in the dealership.
Agreeing to the offer, Bogdewic formed Central Garage on July 24, 1958. It was officially named B. Bogdewic Chevrolet in May 1963.
The dealership celebrated its golden anniversary last month.