Commanding Officer
Colonel Aaron J. Brunk
Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21

Colonel Brunk graduated from Tulane University in 1997 accepting a commission in the United States Marine Corps.  Upon completion of The Basic School, he attended Naval Aviation training in Pensacola, FL.  Graduating on the Commodore’s List with Distinction, he was designated a Naval Aviator in December 1999 selecting AH-1W Cobra.

Col Brunk reported to HMLA-269 to complete training before deployment.  He joined HMM-263 (Reinforced) in 2002 and deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).  In April 2003, the squadron participated in combat operations in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  Upon return to HMLA-269, he attended the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron - One (MAWTS-1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course in Yuma, AZ. In 2005, he deployed with HMLA-269 to Iraq. After returning from Iraq, he reported to 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (2nd ANGLICO) where he deployed in 2006 to Iraq serving as a Supporting Arms Liaison Team (SALT) Leader and Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC). 

In 2007, Col Brunk reported to Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC).  While assigned to MARSOC, he served as the Command’s first JTAC Program Manager and Assistant Air/Fires Officer.  In 2008, he deployed with a joint task force to Afghanistan, serving as the Air/Fires Officer and JTAC.  He returned to HMLA-269 in 2009 where he served as the Maintenance Officer and deployed to Iraq for the fourth time.  Following the deployment, he served as the squadron’s Operations Officer and Executive Officer. 

From June 2011 to July 2013, Col Brunk returned to MARSOC and served as the Air/Fires Officer. Following MARSOC, Col Brunk served at the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). In July 2015, he reported to Training Wing Five in Milton, FL. to begin training as an Advanced Helicopter Instructor. 

Col Brunk served as the Executive Officer for Helicopter Training Squadron Eighteen (HT-18) until taking command in June 2017.  During his Command, HT-18 was recognized with two consecutive Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards for 2017 and 2018.  Additionally, HT-18 was awarded the 2018 Commander Theodore Ellyson Aviator Production Award for most productive and efficient advanced training squadron in Naval Aviation and the 2018 Admiral John H. Towers Award for achieving an outstanding record in mission-oriented flight safety.  Following command, he attended the College of Naval Warfare in New Port, RI, earning a Master in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Col Brunk’s last duty assignment was serving as the Fires and Effects Coordinator for III Marine Expeditionary Force. He has over 3000 flight hours and his personal decorations include: the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), Air Medal for individual action with Combat "V" device (2nd award), the Air Medal strike/flight with numeral 7, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3rd award), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon.