from pilot training Elmer Funderburk was assigned to the 340th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Knobnoster, Missouri,
where he flew B-47s. He was a member of one of the first aircrews to stand Strategic
Air Command (SAC) alert duty in October 1957. Squadron Officers school in 1962
was a welcome change to crew duty and although recommended for assignment as instructor at SOS, SAC would not release him
from crew duty. When the wing deactivated in the spring of 1963, Elmer was selected for an Air Force Institute of Technology
(AFIT) program to receive a degree in electrical engineering.
When the AFIT
assignment to a civilian institution was cancelled by DOD, he was transferred to the 384th Bomb Wing at Little
Rock AFB in August 1963. He flew B-47s until the wing deactivated in June of 1964.
His initial experience
as a pilot and instructor pilot in B-52s followed while in the 97th Bomb Wing at Blytheville,
Arkansas. Command and Staff in residence and
an AFIT assignment were not possible due to the war in Vietnam.
In early 1967, Elmer entered B-58 training with the 43rd Bomb Wing at Little Rock AFB Arkansas and was serving
as Chief Bomber Branch instructor and evaluator in Stan-Eval when the B-58 phased out in early 1970.
Next came an
assignment to HH43, “Pedro” helicopters as commander of Detachment 6, 38 ARRS at Bien Hoa RVN, where he participated
in several rescue operations. On return to CONUS in April 1971, Elmer renewed
his acquaintance with the B-52 in the 319th Bomb Wing at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. While there he performed duties in Stan-Eval as Bomber Branch chief and Division chief
before assuming command of the 46th Bomb Squadron on November 1972.
Command of Detachment
1, 22 Bomb Wing, Roswell, New Mexico followed in June 1973. When the detachment deactivated in March 1975, he became commander of the 2nd
Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bomb wing at March AFB, California.
at March AFB include Chief of Operations and Training Division, Wing Deputy Commander for Resource Management and in October
1976, Elmer was named Commander 22nd Combat Support Group.
command of the 307th Air Refueling Group at Travis AFB, California
in May 1978 and held that position until retiring from active duty in August 1980 with 26 years of service.
Elmer then accepted
a position with Lockheed Missiles & Space Company in Sunnyvale, California
in September 1980, where he performed various management and staff duties in a black program until accepting an assignment
with the Lockheed Austin Division in early 1984 with the PLSS program. He continued
his work on the PLSS Protected Underground Facility until completion and accepted a one year assignment in Las
Vegas in August 1986 as manager of Operations and Maintenance Support during PLSS flight testing. Upon
returning to Austin, Elmer performed various assignments until retiring from Lockheed
in January 1992 with 12 years service.
5 years of playing golf and traveling, Elmer returned to the work force as a part time temporary consultant to a small high
tech firm in Austin. His duties included initial marketing research, proposal
writing and system requirements for a 2gigabit/second solid state data recorder. After
almost 6 years,
job ended with the recorder successfully flying and recording data on USAF aircraft.
and Marilyn Ann Freitag were married in August 1952 and recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. They have three sons, Michael, Steven and Mark, four grandsons and two granddaughters.