Gunn remembers grandfather’s legacy as first responder

  • Published
  • By Kali Bradford
  • AEDC Public Affairs

Each time Crew Chief Brandon Gunn walks through the doors for his shift with Arnold Air Force Base Fire and Emergency Services, he knows he is carrying on a legacy that is more than 70 years in the making.

Brandon is the son of Richard Gunn who served Arnold FES for 34 years, and the grandson of L.C. Gunn who served Arnold FES for 44 years. Among the three men, there has been a Gunn serving in the fire hall at Arnold AFB for more than 70 years.

L.C., the patriarch of the family of first responders, passed on Aug. 6 at the age of 93.

According to Brandon, L.C. lived a meaningful life while having an impact on each person he came across. 

“As a kid, I can remember coming to work with my dad and leaving with my grandfather” he said. “He, along with my dad, was ultimately what led me to get in the profession. He was a larger-than-life kind of a person. He was definitely a role model and someone who a lot of folks looked up to.”

In his 93 years of life, L.C. was a servant to his community and country.

A Korean War veteran, he served in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1952. There he was part of the crash rescue and firefighting service. He was a staff sergeant upon discharge.

In September 1952, L.C. was hired as an entry level member of Fire Protection Branch at Arnold AFB. Brandon said he can recall several stories told by his grandfather about how fast the base was growing at the time.

“I can remember him telling me that the road stopped right here at the fire department when he first started working here,” Brandon said. “Construction was underway, and it was a busy and bustling time. He would say that there were as many people on third shift as there was on first. It’s hard for me to imagine it.”

Also, during his tenure at Arnold, L.C. served as an assistant fire chief and center support contractor.

While he enjoyed a successful career in Fire Services, one of L.C.’s biggest accomplishments was having his son and grandson follow in his footsteps.

“I know he was proud of us for choosing the same career path,” Brandon said. “He loved what he did and always stood up for his men. He always did the right thing, and I hope that I can follow in his footsteps and do the same.”