BRIGADIER GENERAL BRIAN S. GUNDERSON
Retired May 4, 1974 Died Sep. 29, 2004
Brigadier General Brian S. Gunderson was chief of the Office of Air Force History, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
General Gunderson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1923. He attended public schools in Canada and England. He graduated from Modern Preparatory School, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, in 1937, and Creighton Preparatory High School, Omaha, Nebraska, in 1938. He attended the University of Omaha, Nebraska, 1938-1941, received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland in 1959 and a master s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University in 1965. He graduated from the Air War College in 1960.
During World War II, General Gunderson transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces on December 1, 1943, in London, England, after two years with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and England. He served with the Eighth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations, 1943-1945, as combat crew and group staff navigator in B-17 and B-24 aircraft. He logged 51 combat missions, 50 of them on night operations.
From September 1945 to June 1946, he was a squadron commanding officer and the air inspector at Sioux Falls, S.D. In December 1946 he was assigned as a personnel research analyst in the Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Personnel, at Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces.
In December 1947 General Gunderson was assigned to the 28th Strategic Bombardment Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, where he served on a Strategic Air Command lead crew, on the standardization board, and as the wing staff navigator, flying in B-29, B-36 and RB-36 aircraft. In May 1953 he was assigned to the 42d Strategic Bombardment Wing, Loring Air Force Base, Maine, where he was the wing war plans officer.
From October 1953 to July 1954, he attended the first Senior Technical Observer Training Course at Mather Air Force Base, California, and was the honor graduate in his class.
In October 1954 General Gunderson was assigned to Headquarters Fifth Air Force in Japan and Korea as chief of the War Plans Branch and later as assistant chief, Plans and Policy Division.
In May 1956 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and was assigned to the Directorate of Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, as a War Plans staff officer. From July 1959 to July 1960, General Gunderson attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. After graduation he was assigned to NATO in the office of the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) at Norfolk, Virginia, where he was chief of nuclear plans. In July 1963 he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force as deputy executive assistant and in July 1967 became executive assistant. General Gunderson assumed duties as chief of staff, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Lindsey Air Station, Germany, in July 1969.
General Gunderson became chief, Office of Air Force History, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in June 1972.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, and Canadian service medals. He is a master navigator.
General Gunderson's hometown is Omaha, Nebraska.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective Aug. 1, 1969, with date of rank July 29, 1969.
Brian S. Gunderson, 81, a retired Air Force Brigadier General and an Alexandria, Virginia, resident for 32 years, died of a stroke September 29, 2004, at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria.
General Gunderson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and served two years with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the early years of World War II. He joined the U.S. Army Air Forces in London in 1943. During the war, he served with the 8th Air Force in England as combat crew and group staff navigator in B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator aircraft, logging more than 50 combat missions.
After the war, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, where he performed a series of duties before being dispatched to Japan and Korea in 1954. Upon his return, he was assigned to the Pentagon and then attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.
After an assignment in the Norfolk area, he returned to the Pentagon for a six-year tour in the office of the secretary of the Air Force, serving as deputy executive assistant and then executive assistant.
In 1969, he was transferred to Wiesbaden, West Germany, where he was chief of staff of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He became chief of the Office of Air Force History in 1972 and was in that position until his retirement in 1974.
After his retirement, he worked for the BDM Corp. for 10 years. He also was active with the Air Force Historical Foundation, serving as its president from 1983 to 1987. He was publisher of its Air Power History Journal and also wrote and edited articles and books on Air Force history.
General Gunderson received an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland during his military service and a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University.
Military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak-leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Doris I. Gunderson of Alexandria; four children, Michele Brown of Charlotte, Debra Vosburg of Herndon and Michael Gunderson and Richard Gunderson, both of Alexandria; and three grandchildren.
GUNDERSON, BRIAN S., Brig. Gen., USAF (Ret.)
(Age 81) Of Alexandria, Virginia, died on Wednesday, September 29, 2004. Husband of 57 years to Doris I. Gunderson; father of Shelly and her husband, Charles Brown, Debbie and her husband, Jim Vosburg, Michael B. Gunderson and Richard and his wife, Nancy Gunderson. Also survived by three grandchildren, Adam Brown, Ashleigh and Amanda Gunderson.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, 2501 Beacon Hill Rd., Alexandria, Virginia 22306. Graveside services with Full Military Honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, October 25, at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Bethany Lutheran Church or the Air Force Historical Foundation, 1535 Command Dr., Suite A-122, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland 20762-7002.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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