Henry “Hank” T. Bruggeman


Lost his courageous battle with Pancreatic cancer on February 23, 2013. He was born on Nov 11, 1947 to Theresa (Wier) & George Bruggeman and grew up on Long Island, NY. Hank entered the Air Force on Jun 28, 1966 and soon developed a love for airplanes and carpentry. Hank proudly served in Viet Nam and upon his return he was selected to join the USAF “Thunderbirds”. After completing his tour with the Thunderbirds, he was chosen to be a member of the F-15 DT&E program at Edwards AFB, CA where he later brought the Eagles to Luke AFB. His final assignment was the Development and Testing of the F-117 Stealth Fighter Program when he retired in 1986 as a SMSGT (CMSGT sel). Upon retirement from the AF he hired on as an Engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works in Burbank CA and retired in Nov 2008. Hank was also a dedicated AYSO soccer coach for many years coaching many children including two of his sons James and Aaron. He is survived by his wife Kay of Waddell AZ, three sons Christopher of Las Vegas NV, James of Waddell AZ and Aaron of Santa Clarita CA, daughter in law Luanne, his grandchildren Ethan and Kaitlyn Bruggeman, his mother Theresa Barlie of Surprise, AZ, sister Pam Wells of Surprise AZ , brother in law Dave Wells and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, Mar 8, 2013 at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church, 17111 W. Bell Rd., Surprise, AZ. Interment to follow at 12:30 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Palliative Care unit of Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phx., AZ 85014.

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Condolence Messages

  1. gale waterman

    my prayers and thought are with you Kay and your family my the Lord wrap his loving arm around each of you, and give each of you the strength you need to get threw each day . my love too you Rick and Gale

  2. Michael 'Jake' Jacobssen

    He was a great friend, a wonderful Teammate and we will surely miss him. His Thunderbird F-4E was the first military jet I ever rode in. On June 14, 1972 at just turned age 22, I climbed into his back seat, but not before his kind words before I climbed the ladder…”don’t you even think about barfing in my jet”. I didn’t, and I won’t forget that day or you, good friend. We had some great times together. God bless you. jake My sincere condolences to your family and your friends.

  3. James Bash

    Hank was a true Thunderbird in every sense of the word, Besides that, Hank was a good person. His presence on the team served to guide me in my early days as Maintenance Officer. All I can remember is that he was a cool, calm and collected professional. He could always be depended on. He was also very personable to me and to all with whom he touched. He was a guidepost or baseline for me and his council served me well. He was also a benchmark for team performance. He made his work look easy and many others looked to him for quiet guidance. Hank’s dedicated and confident performance always proceeded him. He was one of those rare individuals that set a lofty American standard without fanfare. Hank, I’m so sorry to see you leave this life because of that that nasty disease. You deserved much better. I’ll always remember you as a building block of my life. You won’t be forgotten as an example for everyone to emulate.


    KAY AND FAMILY–Saddened by the loss of Hank! He will be missed and remembered as a dedicated professional in all he accomplished. He was a leader in setting the standards for OUR Thunderbird Team in the “70’s!!
    God Bless you and your family. Respectfully, Tim

  5. Scott Krantz

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Hank’s family. Hank was a wonderful friend and brother Thunderbird. I will miss him. God speed Hank!!!

    Scott Krantz

  6. Bob & Patti Jackson

    Hank and I shared many exciting Air Force adventures. He was a talented, dedicated, hard worker, who will definitely be missed. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  7. Doug Parker

    I will always remember Hank. During the early years of his Air Force career, Tech School and his first duty station. I always thought of and remembered him more as a brother than a friend. That friendship lasted almost 50 years. We were room mates and shared many good times. I will always cherish those times. Hank and his sister Bonnie, will always have a special place in my heart. My you rest in peace Brother.

  8. John Zachem

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kay and family. Hank was a true professional and a great guy. It was a pleasure to work with him in our Thunderbird days. God speed Hank.

  9. Jay & Debi Johnson

    It was more than a coincidence that we moved in across the street … Jay and Hank shared the Air Force life as crew chiefs.
    Our prayers go out to you Kay ~ and your family during this difficult time.

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