EDWARDS AFB – The Air Force Flight Test Museum welcomed retired Air Force Col. Robert L. Stirm April 5, known from Salva Veder’s 1974 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph “Burst of Joy,” depicting the reunion with his family after more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
While at Edwards, Stirm stopped at Century Circle to visit the F-105 Thunderchief, the airframe he was flying when shot down over Hanoi in 1967.
Accompanying Stirm were retired Air Force Lt. Col. B.C. Thomas, who holds the most amount of flight time in the SR-71, and retired Air Force Col. Bill Flanagan, who flew in the Blackbird as a reconnaissance systems officer and currently serves on the board of the Flight Test Historical Foundation.
In other news from Edwards Air Force Base…
Bunch adds second star
As of Thursday, April 4, Arnold “Arnie” Bunch Jr. is now a major general.
The Air Force Test Center is currently coordinating a promotion ceremony and reception for the general.
General Bunch was commissioned in 1984 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He completed undergraduate pilot training in 1985. He completed operational assignments as an instructor, evaluator and aircraft commander for B-52 Stratofortresses.
Following graduation from the Air Force Test Pilot School, Bunch conducted developmental testing in the B-2 Spirit and B-52 and served as an instructor in each.
Additionally, he has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Commander of the Air Force Security Assistance Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
As the AFTC commander, he directs a $31 billion enterprise of more than 18,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel across Edwards AFB, Eglin AFB, Fla., and Arnold AFB, Tenn. The AFTC provides developmental test and evaluation of experimental and research manned and unmanned air, space and cyber systems for military services, DARPA, NASA and international partners, in addition to operation of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.