Bruce Brown grew up in the Minneapolis area until age 15. Then his family moved to Lubbock, Texas, where he finished high school in 1948 and also met a pretty girl in his class by the name of Claudyne Young, who became his sweetheart. He received an appointment to the Naval Academy, graduating in 1952 and entering the Air Force. Claudyne attended Texas Tech in Lubbock. He and Claudyne were married in Lubbock in July of 1952, and then they were off to Columbus AFB, Miss., where Bruce began pilot training. He received his wings as a fighter pilot at Webb AFB, Texas, in August, 1953.
After attending the interceptor school, Bruce was assigned to a fighter-interceptor squadron at McGuire AFB, N.J., where he served as a pilot and then a flight commander until December 1958. Then it was off with his growing family to Hahn Air Base, Germany, where he served in a fighter-interceptor squadron for four years in positions of increasing responsibility. Next came two years in Air Defense Command headquarters in Colorado, then assignment in 1965 to the Pentagon as a plans and operations officer on the Air Staff and as an executive assistant in OSD. After being promoted to colonel and attending the National War College, he was sent in 1969 to Vietnam. There he served at Phan Rang Air Base as the director of operations of the 14th Special Operations Wing, equipped with AC-47 and AC-119 gunships, principally providing night close air support to ground troops.
Upon returning to the States and reuniting with his family, Bruce was assigned as vice-commander and then as commander of the SAC bomb wing at Blytheville AFB, Ark. In June 1972 he took command of the bomb wing at Griffiss AFB, N.Y. In 1973 he went back to Air Force headquarters to serve as the deputy assistant chief of staff for studies and analyses, then to the Joint Staff as the deputy director for operations.
In 1975 Bruce went back to Colorado Springs, where he served for the next six years in positions of increasing responsibility in the U.S. Aerospace Defense Command and in NORAD, the joint U.S. – Canada Air Defense Command. From October 1981 until August 1983 he was the vice commander of NORAD. In 1982 he became the first vice commander of the newly established Air Force Space Command. Then he was promoted to lieutenant general and served for two years as commander of Alaskan Air Command, headquartered at Elmendorf AFB. He retired from active duty in September, 1985.
In 1986 Bruce was appointed as program manager providing scientific, engineering, and technical assistance to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization of the Defense Department and served in that capacity for eight years. He later served for seven years in the DOD Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), and then in OSD from 2004 until 2015 as an executive assistant. He continues to serve now as a part-time consultant in IDA. There are few persons who have served as many years as Bruce in support of our national defense.
Claudyne accompanied Bruce on all of his permanent moves except Vietnam, giving birth along the way to two sons and two daughters. They now have six grandchildren. She taught kindergarten and first grade in public and base schools in all of their permanent stations from 1958 through 1972. She also participated in many different volunteer activities, including teaching English to Asian wives in her home.
We are fortunate and happy to have Bruce and Claudyne join us here at Falcons Landing. Please give them a warm welcome!