Received from Charles Magnuson, Class of ’52
Stan Burklund ’51
On behalf of Margaret “Maggie” Burklund, the Burklund family and friends in California, I undertake as best as I am able to narrate those rewards and accomplishments achieved by a mutually long term friend Stan Burklund who died on January 31, 2015. Stan died peaceably with family and friends at his side in Long Beach, California due to complications caused by untreatable tumors discovered in his lung and kidney. Stan lived with Maggie on the Island of Naples that is accessible only by traveling over a bridge unless of course you have a boat or the attributes of a strong swimmer.
Maggie and Stan met and were married when Stan was a USAF combat jet pilot stationed at Edwards Air Force base in Apple Valley where Maggie was a registered nurse after having received her BA degree from Stanford. Enchanted by their five children and their grandchildren as well as having the joy of caring for their two rescue dogs they lived an active life of travel, reading, and engaging in the close ties coming from loving neighbors. They cherished the opportunity for sharing their homes in Palm Desert and Park City, Utah with those who appreciated and felt blessed for being the beneficiaries of a warming sun and the stimulation created from winter snows. Under her guidance Maggie provided the assurance that during all the years as a military or recreational pilot Stan shared the recognition as being gifted with the “right stuff”. In the entirety of his flying career he was never confronted with a flat tire, a faulty engine or instrument, a structural scratch or even a smudge to his aircraft. Whether on a combat mission, on surveillance flights from his squadron base in Norway or in keeping himself qualified for any military assignment or responsibility he kept himself properly prepared. A trait he applied as well to his public interests, concerns and support.
He enjoyed telling of his adventures while flying military sorties in combat zones in being responsible for the safety of transport aircraft but in doing so at altitudes that kept him above the range of ground fire but low enough to escape radar detection. Flying was his professional passion and after retiring Stan owned private planes he put to use for flying to the Northwest for family and reunion visits with friends and school members of his grade school, high school and college years. He attended Daniel Bagley Elementary with notables as Bill Mayberry, Eddie Coleman, Don Lundberg, Geri Anderson, Barbara Butler, Bob Anderson; as Mike Michael, Carol Hutsell, Dolly Berg, Sammy White, George Casperson, US District Court Judge Carolyn Demmick, Jim and Tom MacGeorge, Jack Englert, the Peek brothers, Don, Bob and Doug, Dick Smith, John Warnick , Marie Jensen , Thelma Delong Myers Ralph Jones, Gordy Mills, Dick Cleveland and Don Fisher at Lincoln High School; as Roland Kirkby, Don Heinrich, Hugh McElheny, Warren Westlund, Don Mott, Donald Hume and professors Robert Church and Giovanni Costigan while formulating his standing as a “Dawg” at the UW and as those with whom he became acquainted at the University of Colorado.
At this point it seems in keeping with Stan’s many contacts with John Warnick that Stan would want recognition be given to John Warnick for his commendable and informative message in the Spring 2015 Totem II for the benefit of all Lincoln alumni about the scheduled reopening of Lincoln as a 9-12 high school. In doing so John provides a goal for all alumni to consider in bringing together what the old believes to be meritorious with what the new may well regard as a heritage to be given much credit. Stan would certainly endorse an idea about having Totem II publication copies for their study and as a means to measure the unique quality of a high school experience we all encountered attending class, using stairs, loading lockers, congregating for study hall, cafeteria snacks, assemblies, gym, Woodland and Green Lake events, clubs, band, mixer and an after school participation potential for each and every student and most of all a sense that all are important, clicks are out and that every individual should learn how to play chess at whatever level their interest can be induced. Be certain to take a foreign language class. An appreciation and of a commitment to the concept as engraved in stone above a UCLA performing arts center stage endorsing a motto that education is learning to use the tools with which the race deems indispensable. Stan is certainly a telling example of what can be achieved from a public school education and he most certainly held the view that John Warnick fits within the mold of excellence.
The Winter 2015 Lincoln Lynx High School Alumni Association publication “The Totem II” (www.lincolnhighlynx.org) outlines his participation and membership with the Sigma Iota Epsilon, a Scholarship Business Honorary association, the Purple Shield scholastic honorary, the Order of Daedalians, a fraternal order of military pilots, a Phi Gamma Delta fraternity member, as well as being on the Board of Directors of the Space Missile Pioneers arising from his being assigned as the Commanding USAF officer at Cape Canaveral shouldering the abort mission responsibility. For years Stan has supported the Southern Poverty Center and constantly expressed is concerns about how the less fortunate require public support and understanding. His expressions of humanitarian interests for such continuing understanding and support were without bounds. He firmly believed in and acted upon the position ordained in the preamble to the United States Constitution that the people of the Untied States provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. Protection from the air and on the ground was a mission he adopted in mind, spirit and physical abilities. He attributed many of his God given strengths, abilities and cognitive acumen to his Swedish heritage. Many rules he cherished came from teaching by his parents who had made their way into the United States from Sweden. Stan would often recite in Swedish what he had learned from his parents and believed by him to be words of wisdom for the ages.
Stan’s flying credentials included his ability to undertake 130 combat missions in Southeast Asia in F-105’s and F-86’s, being a check pilot for the F-86, the F-100, the F-104, the F-105 and in being the pilot for the first Ocean crossing for a F-104. His illustrious career made it possible for Stan to be awarded three Legions of Merit, seven Air Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals before his retirement as a full bird Colonel from the United States Air Force in April, 1981. From 1975 to 1979 he had been the Vice Commander of Edwards Air Force Base, the California Flight Test Air Center where he had the shared responsibility for testing and evaluating F-15, F-16, A10, F-SE, B-1, KC-14, YC-14, YCC-15 aircraft and air launch cruise missile capabilities and for base operations. In carrying out operational responsibilities he had the experience of being at the testing base during the contemporary assignment of Chuck Yeager.
From 1979 until 1981 Stan was assigned as being the Cape Canaveral Commander of the Eastern Space and Missile Center at Patrick AFB in Florida. At Cape Canaveral he was given the responsibility for preparing and launching of USAAF missiles. He operational control included the command of nearly 11,000 personnel and managing a 225 million dollar budget. One warm and humid afternoon he received a pentagon inquiry about the potential for a space ship launch flight malfunction. His response about having an abort button brought about a command to submit a flight plan for being in Washington, D.C. and at the Pentagon the following day. His briefing demonstrated how, in the event of a course correction need, Stan had command over whether a flight ending missile launch should be ordered. On balance the stress of having to make a decision of this sort must very well have exceeded the combination of all stressful moments created during combat missions.
Stan the scholar, the tutor, the hero, the friend, the strength for a family, the model for handling stress, the model for handling the human condition. In being a humanitarian in his attitude and expressed disposition Stan provides a model available to each of us about how to enjoy a productive and fulfilling life. His dedication to his heritage, to his family and friends, to his profession, to his private and public opportunities and to his country is a wonder to behold.
Comment submitted by Ken on 11/27/2015
I knew Stan while I was stationed
at McClellan AFB in the mid sixties.
Major Burklund was a true gentleman
as well as a great pilot. I still have on
my office wall a “Royal Order of Star-
Riders” (F-104) certificate dated Oct. 6,
1967 signed by Major Burklund. Major
Burklund as a person and a pilot helped
make my time in the USAF the best years
of my life. I just wished I could have
told him myself before his passing. He
will always be in my thoughts.
Kenneth Weitzman DDS