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Capt. Dave Sjuggerud  
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In his memory:

Capt. David M. Sjuggerud USN- VFP-62 1966-1968

Updated: November 28, 2017

    Dave Sjuggerud was in a bicycle accident in Orlando on Sunday and passed away [Nov. 26, 2008]. He never regained consciousness. There will be a memorial service in Orlando and burial in Arlington Cemetery.

    We've lost one of the best. Dave graduated from the Naval Academy in 1964 and was with VFP-62 66-68; VFP-63 68-69 flying F-8 Crusaders and F-14 Tomcats. He was in on the engineering development of new Naval Aviation systems from the F-14 and F/A 18 airplanes and the Navy/AF Joint AMRAAM Missile, while also flying AF F-4 Phantoms. He also graduated from the Navy Test Pilot School and upon promotion to Captain, served as Engineering Director at the Naval Aviation Supply Office. His final tour was as a Naval Air Systems Command Division Head where he retired in 1986.

    Upon retirement, he and his wife, Jean, moved to Orlando where he remained in defense contracting, specializing in Simulation and Training Systems. Except for three years in the early 1990s as a General Manager of a McDonnell Douglas company, they have remained in Orlando, where he managed an L3 Communications facility. He is survived by his wife Jean and their two sons and two grandsons.

    Contributed by: John Fitzgerald via Walt Quist F8 Community website.

  • Updated March 25: An Arlington service will be held for Dave Sjuggerud on May 15, 2009 at 9am at the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel. After the buriel a reception will be held at the Fort Myer Officers Club.

I served with him while with VF-32 during the transition from F-4s to Tomcats. Very likable and a gentle giant, I'm sure he will be missed by all who knew him. - Ken Walling

    Published in the Orlando Sentinel on 11/30/2008

    SJUGGERUD, DAVID M., died on November 26th from injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. He was 66. Dave grew up in Menomonie, WI, the youngest of five children. He attended the Naval Academy, and played football in the 1964 National Championship game. As part of his 20+ year career as a Navy pilot, he flew in Vietnam. Dave was an exceptional man with a long list of life accomplishments. In school, he was a great student and all-state athlete in basketball. His high school classmates voted him the most outstanding graduate of his graduating class. In college football, he started on offense and defense. In the National Championship game, he caught the second most passes that day from Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach.

    In his career as a Navy pilot, Dave achieved over 350 carrier landings in deployments in support of the North Korean expedition and the Vietnam campaign. He then went to test pilot school. His test pilot skills landed him a trip to NASA, where Dave became a semifinalist to be an astronaut in 1978. Dave was selected for the rank of Captain in the Navy in 1985, and Dave retired from the Navy in 1986 with many service medals. Fittingly, after the Navy he spent his civilian career in the aerospace industry.

    For all his accomplishments, Dave didn't talk too much about the past. Instead, he preferred to brighten everyone else's day around him - particularly his extended family here in Central Florida and back in Wisconsin. He especially loved to do things with his grandkids, Zack and Delaney. Dave is survived by Jean Mellow Sjuggerud, his wife of 41 years, and his two sons Steve (Kassy) and Mike. He's also survived by his sisters Sandy Firestone (Jim) and his twin Diane Christensen (Vern).

    A "Celebration of Life" ceremony will be held at the Country Club of Orlando at 10AM on December 6th. All friends, family, and neighbors are welcome. Dave will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, P.O. Box 64740, Baltimore, MD 21298.

    [Webmaster's Note: To read this obituary and its associated Guest Book entries, Click on: Orlando Sentinel]

    EXTERNAL Adobe (.pdf) file: Dave's Life Story

    To honor my dad, I've set up a scholarship fund. My dad was a great student, a great athlete, and great person. But as a kid, he didn't have the money for college. So the Dave Sjuggerud Memorial Fund will help the best student athletes in the Menomonie area pay for college.

    Linda McIntyre is the director of the Greater Menomonie Area Community Foundation (GMACF), which is administering the scholarship fund. She knew my dad back in high school. You can give Linda a call for the details on how to contribute. Her phone number is 715-232-8019.

    Or you can make a check payable to GMACF, P.O. Box 53, Menomonie, WI 54751. Note "Sjuggerud Memorial Fund" in the memo portion of the check.

    Steve Sjuggerud (son)

    [Updated: Jan. 9, 2009: Webmaster's Note: Dave submitted this account of a malfunction during flight in August 2008. I picked this up on the F8 Community blog. The damage he descibes is a serious problem and illustrates his skill as a pilot.]

    My wing down landing occurred in an RF-8G of VFP-63 at NAS Miramar in the Fall of 1969 on a late Friday afternoon Post-Maintenance Check Flight which was going to interfere with my going to Happy Hour at the Miramar O'Club. I was at 20K ft about halfway between San Diego and San Clemente Island.

    During a PMCF flight, a timed acceleration from 250 kts to Vmax was part of the checklist. After I stroked afterburner, it seemed forever for the bird to accelerate. Bam! Next thing I know, I'm upside down with all the cockpit warning lights blinking. I right the airplane and check my mirrors and discover that both sets of leading edge droops had blown off. Another photobird in the vicinity came by and confirmed that all the droops were gone - and worse yet, that one of them had torn a deep gash in the left side fuselage, had ripped the main fuel tank, and I was streaming fuel quickly. He alerted Miramar tower to launch the SAR with the words "I don't think he's going to make it."

    I'm thinking "Hey, my Sader is still flying and I'm on my way home. I'm ok so far and not about to leave a flying aircraft with an engine still running." Long story short. I landed over La Jolla heading east on the Miramar long runway. I never did try to raise the wing once the landing gear came down ok. I estimate that I landed at about 205 kts and picked up the field arresting gear. No sweat!

    The damn paperwork interfered with Happy Hour. The airplane was deeply gashed and all hydraulics lines and fittings associated with the droops were gone. Later, maintenance determined that the pitot-static system had a failure. I had literally blown the droops right off the airplane trying to get up to speed.

    Because of the delays caused by accident report write-ups and a beer on the way home, I got my butt chewed out by my wife that night for being home late to take her to dinner. We both got over it.

    Dave Sjuggerud "Sugar"

    October 1965 Newsletter

    [Webmaster's Note: The title of the picture indicates "VFP-63." That is due to the fact that VFP-62 was disestablished in January 1968 and VFP-63 absorbed VFP-62]

    [Updated: October 5, 2011:A great tribute to the honor of Capt. Dave Sjuggerud, God I wish I could have saluted him when he made Captain. Y'all on the detachment remember the "atta boy" awards he gave to the guys when they did a great job getting those old RF-8's off the catapults as scheduled. He's the guy that made you proud to be in the Navy & especially in VFP-62. His memorium actually made me cry to think that he was living so close to me when he died & I never had the chance to see him again. Had a great conversation with his wife not too long ago. She is fine, has a great family with very succussful sons. Mr. Sjuggerud introduced her to me in Italy when she came to the Med to meet up with him & get married in France.

    Ah the memories..... A special tip of the hat to him for the experience he had on a landing on the FDR when his tailhook snapped after grabbing the #3 wire and went over the angle deck. He recovered by hitting the afterburner and barely skimmed over the water, and ultimately flew into Sigonella to await the airframes crew to install a new hook. Standing Ovation when he arrived back at the ready room.

    Jimmy Horgan PH3 USS Franklin D. Roosevelt detachment circa 66-67.

    (11/28/17): Today, I'm remembering my friend, Dave "Sugar" Sjuggerud, CAPT (Ret), one of Dad's pilots on DET-14 (1969), and a Crusader shipmate. He passed away in 2008.

    Thirty years ago, I handed Mr. Sugar my resume and he called his buddy, Fred, at Grumman in Titusville and set up a meeting for me. When I went for the interview, I was shocked to find out that it was astronaut Fred Haise of Apollo 13! (Yes, I got the job!).

    Over the next 20+ years, I crossed paths with Mr. Sugar in various airports around the country and on the streets of Winter Park. He always took the time to have coffee and tell me stories of learning experiences with my Dad and called him the best CPO that he ever knew.

    Some of you may have crossed paths with him as well:

    At the Naval Academy from 1961-64, he was an Iron Man footballer, Defensive End / Tight End #81, with Roger Staubach. After flight school, he flew the F-8, RF-8A/G, F-4, F-14, F-18, some Air Force aircraft, and was in VF-174, VFP-62, VFP-63, Naval Test Pilot School (one of the F-14 Project Test Pilots), VF-32, NASA Space Flight Center for Astronaut training, Eglin AFB for AMRAAM Project, and NAVAIR. After retirement, McDonnell-Douglas Training Simulation.

    Rest In Peace, "Mr Sugar"

    George L. Barg (via Facebook)


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    Updated 3/9/18



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