LTC Cecil H. Brunson, USAF (Ret.)
Inducted: November 3, 2018
Memphian Cecil H. Brunson graduated from Memphis State University in 1970 and received his commission in the United State Air Force through the ROTC program at Memphis State. While on his honeymoon he received orders to report for active duty for Navigation Training at Mather AFB, California.
In February 1972, he received operational assignment to the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand for a combat tour in Southeast Asia. While there, he logged 160 combat missions and more than 380 hours of combat flight time in the F-4 Phantom. He is credited with one Mig-19 destroyed over North Vietnam. On October 12, 1972 Brunson’s plane was shot down over North Vietnam; he was captured and held prisoner by the North Vietnamese.
Upon release he returned to the United States and was selected for Pilot Training graduating with honors and the Outstanding Graduate Trophy awarded by the Air Training Command Commander. Brunson was subsequently reassigned to F-4 Phantom training initially at George AFB prior to operational assignment at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
Colonel Brunson’s military career awards and decorations include: The Silver Star,
Two Distinguished Flying Crosses, The Bronze Star (for Valor), Two Purple Hearts, Thirteen Air Medals, The Air Force Commendation Medal, The Prisoner of War Medal and The South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Lt. Colonel Cecil Brunson resigned from the Air Force in March 1980 returning to Memphis with his wife Jean and children, Kevin and Angela. He joined the Tennessee Air National Guard flying the C-130 retiring in 1991 after 21 years of military service He was hired by FedEx in August 1986 flying the Boeing 727, AirBus A-300/A-310, the DC-10 and finally the Boeing 777. Brunson retired as a FedEx Boeing 777 Captain in 2010 after a 25-year career in civilian aviation.
For extraordinary service and achievement in aviation for Tennessee, our nation and the world, and for his service to our country, LTC Cecil H. Brunson is inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame this 3rd day of November 2018.