Alva Bartlett 'Al' 'Bundy' Bundren Jr., the son of Alva and Sue Bundren, was born on July 10, 1932 in Knoxville, TN. While in Knoxville he attended Central High School, where, graduating with honors, he excelled both in the classroom and on the playing field. Seeking a higher education, he attended the University of Tennessee, and while there he became interested in West Point and service to our nation. After receiving an appointment from his congressman, he applied for admission and, after acceptance, travelled to West Point early in July 1951 and was sworn in with the West Point Class of 1955 on July 3, 1951.
As with all new cadets, Al began his West Point career in New Cadet Barracks, better known as Beast Barracks. Here, with his 700 classmates, he became acquainted with the plebe system, one of servitude. Surviving Beast, he was assigned to his regular lettered cadet company, D-2, where he would live for the next four years.
Academic proved to be a 'hurdle' for Al. For three of the next four years he would spend his class time in the lower or 'goat' sections of the class. His dry wit and keen sense of humor were his trademark and proved to be a diversion from the rigors of the academic system. His companymates said Bundy was 'torn ruthlessly and unsuspectingly from a happy college life. Beside his academic struggles, he was dealt a crushing blow by wrestling injuries; however, his spirit was unbent, and he infected all unforgettably with his wit and an incessant quest for good times.' Bundy did find time to expend his unused energy with the Boxing and Wrestling teams and as a member of the Ordnance Club. At branch drawing Bundy proudly stood and selected Infantry as his branch of choice.
It was not all academics that ruled Al's life. In July 1955, after a courtship that began soon into his last, or firstie, year, he married the girl of his dreams, Valerie Anne Ninnis, and from that union came four children: Bill, Nancy, Sally, and David; and 11 grandchildren. This is the family that endured the many joys of Army life and the comradery of the Army family.
After attendance at the Infantry basic course at Fort Benning, GA and earning the Ranger Tab at the Ranger School, he began his active duty career that took him to duty stations in Georgia, Colorado, Kansas, and Massachusetts. Al had two tours to Vietnam in the mid-60s, one as an advisor and one as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division. It was here that he, along with many other soldiers, was exposed to Agent Orange, which would impact his health and well being a few years later. Al has served two tours in the Pentagon with the Joint Staff.
In 1979, after his second tour with the Joint Staff, Al decided to transition to civilian life. He joined BDM as an analyst, then with the Mitre Corporation as an analyst, and as a system engineer with Titan, Inc.
Al's last 10 years was spent as a volunteer with the Oakton Elementary School, where he tutored remedial reading to first graders. Al also become involved with the local homeowners' association, where he served as vice president of the Towlston Meadows Civic Association. He was a Mason, a Shriner, and a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Al also was inducted in the Central High School Hall of Fame, where his induction plaque reads, 'As a distinguished graduate, outstanding citizen, and a role model for future generations."
Three years exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam led to type 2 diabetes and to the liver disease that was the cause of his passing. He leaves a huge empty space in the lives of his family and friends. Rest in peace dear brother and get in step with the Long Gray Line.
- Family and Friends
TAPS Memorial Article
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