Brian S. Gunderson

Air Force General

Brian S. Gunderson, 81, a retired Air Force brigadier general and an Alexandria resident for 32 years, died of a stroke Sept. 29 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria.

Gen. 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, Ala.

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.

Gen. 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.