Alan Brunstrom

Obituary of Alan Leslie Brunstrom

Col. Alan Leslie Brunstrom, USAF, Retired

Alan Leslie Brunstrom, 91, of Ocklawaha, FL, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 29, 2022, in the care of Haven E.T. York Hospice Care Center in Gainesville, FL.  He was born in Menominee, MI to Prescott and Mildred Brunstrom and has lived in Ocklawaha since 1989.  Alan proudly served in the Air Force for 30 years.

  • March 25, 1931 - Alan Leslie Brunstrom is born

  • June 8, 1948 - at the age of 17, enlists in the Air Force is trained as an engine mechanic sent to support the Berlin Airlift

  • 1953 - went to flight training, became a pilot, his dream came true !!!

  • June 1956 to August 1958 - Nellis AFB in Las Vegas support pilot for Thunderbirds, traveled the world and met a girl in Las Vegas.

  • July 25, 1959 - married Helen Blenke (AF nurse) in the base chapel

  • April 25, 1960 - a baby girl is born Katherine Elizabeth Brunstrom

  • December 1965 - sent to Vietnam flying the RF-101 Voodoo a reconnaissance aircraft flew 114-1/2 combat missions (250 hours)

  • April 22, 1966 - his plane was shot down in Vietnam near the China border.  He endured “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror”

  • February 14, 1973 - first POW reunited with his family after being a prisoner of war (POW) for almost 7 years

  • July 1, 1978 - retired from the Air Force

  • 1981 to 1989 - first airport manager at Boca Raton Airport

  • May 29, 2022 - enjoyed 49 years of freedom flying his personal plane for 25 years, being married for 58 years, and traveling throughout the USA and the world!!!


He has military decorations including:              

Silver Star (2)                                                   

Legion of Merit                                                   

Distinguished Flying Cross (2)                          

Bronze Star (2) with V for Valor                        

Purple Heart (2)                                                 

Air Medal (6)                                                                                 

Prisoner of War Medal                                      

Army of Occupation Medal (WWII)                          

with Berlin Airlift Device                                               

and many more                                                 


He flew the following aircraft:



T33 and T39

F84 and F86



RF101 VooDoo

T38 and T39

Beech Bonanza

Piper Comanche


He was a member of:

Air Force Association

American Association of Airport Executives - Southeast Chapter

American Ex-Prisoners of War Organization

Berlin Airlift Veterans Association

Military Officers Association of America - Kingdom of the Sun Chapter

Military Order of the Purple Heart

NAM-POWs organization

The Order of Daedalians

Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association (River Rats)

Rolling Thunder Chapter 7

Son Tay Raiders Association

Tac Recce Reunion Association

Thunderbirds Alumni Association

Villages Honor Flight

VooDoo Association

and enjoyed attending many of the reunions.


Alan is survived by his daughter Kathy Freeberg (spouse Tom), grandson Lance Freeberg - US Coast Guard helicopter pilot (spouse Hillary) and half-sisters Valerie Barnes and Pam Brunstrom.  He is preceded in death by his wife Helen Brunstrom (2017), his grandson Myles Freeberg (2010), his brothers Richard (Dick), Bruce, John (Jack) Brunstrom and his half-brothers Patrick (Pat), Thomas (Tom), James (Jim) Chrouser.

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, the Rolling Thunder Chapter 7 will travel from Ocklawaha to Ocala to honor Alan Brunstrom a long-riding member.  They will arrive at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, 910 E. Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL at 1:00 pm. There will be a gathering of family and friends for one hour prior to the memorial service which will begin at 2:00 pm.

Alan will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA joining his wife who is holding his spot.

For more detailed information regarding Alan's military career go to or

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Villages Honor Flight at



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