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In Memoriam

1st Lieutenant Steve "Sunny" Sundstrom

1st Lieutenant Steve "Sunny" Sundstrom

18 December 1989

Visitor Comments

Tim, May 31, 2007 - 04:55 AM

As a Crew Chief at Hahn A.B. in 1989 I knew "Sunny"

He was not only well liked by us, he was loved. I knew the Crew Chief on the aircraft he was in at the time of this tragic accident.We both began to cry when we heard about the loss. Another(younger) Crew Chief said we can always get another aircraft. I told him we were'nt crying over the aircraft you fool.

Sunny was'nt just a great pilot, he was a great man that was loved by all he came in contact with. I know I will never forget him.

Mike, Jul 11, 2007 - 07:29 PM

I was in the same UPT class with Steve. He was an all around class act, I never saw him without a smile on his face. I don't think he went anywhere without his young son, I remember seeing him in his Toyota pick-up with his boy strapped in right next to him.

Almost 20 years later I still think about him a lot.

Erika, Aug 21, 2007 - 02:56 AM

I am the proud sister of Sunny. I attended an airshow this weekend, in which an F-16 from Hill flew. Watching it fly brought back the vivid memories of Sunny's love to proud he was, and the strong bond he had with the guys from the 496th...and it sounds with many others as well. It always amazed me what he did....but he was able to balance it so that all knew how important his family, friends, and making a difference were to him. Sunny was the most perfect name for him!!!

Spotter89, May 26, 2009 - 11:18 AM

There have been many F-16 accidents in the 1980s in Germany, but this one I remember very well. I was Christmas shopping with my parents when the news was broadcasted on the radio. I can remember that I could not get out of my mind that this happened only 4 days prior to Christmas... Nothing like that should happen around that time! I felt very sorry for the pilot and his family. The accident happened when 1stLt Sundstrom was on an intercept training mission with another F-16. Their "target" was an F-15 from Bitburg AB. 1stLt Sundstrom crashed into his leader in midair when he started to engage the F-15. His leader was able to eject and survived the crash which was caused by crew coordination problems between the two F-16s.

Bob, Sep 16, 2009 - 05:40 AM

I actually witnessed the midair while flying at (helicopter) Sembach AB, Seen the fireball and departed the field to the crash location. Expected the crash to be closer than it was. Ended up following emergency vehicles to the scene. The german first responders did everything they could but it was too late. I had removed the Lt's name tag to indentify who was killed to radio back to Ramstein. Yes it is tragic. Way to many F-16 crashes during my tour.

Anne Duncan, Sep 24, 2009 - 12:20 AM

I used to babysit for the Sundstrom family while in Germany. It has been so long ago, but I remember babysitting the kids during one of the services for Sunny. They had a beautiful house at the top of a hill and had a lot of candles lit throughout the house. I was only 11 at the time of the accident, but I still remember how I felt looking at the children knowing they would grow up without the luxury of thier father in their lives. I did not keep in contact with them when they left Germany, but I do hope they are doing well.

Aimee Sandlin, Sep 18, 2011 - 04:52 AM

I was among the unfortunate few that was rushed to the scene from Sembach AB. My job was to take pictures of the scene and was saddened beyond words for months. I saw the Lt. at the scene and heard the local accounts. When I later photographed his wallet with the picture of his family and his other personal effects, I felt as though I had lost a member of my own family. As you can see from the date of this post, the images and feelings of that night in the field still held close. Still, 20 years later, I take a second to think about him and the family he left behind.

joseph, Oct 09, 2011 - 07:28 AM

I got to know Steve and his wife at Luke AFB, AZ. He was a great guy to be around and loved his son very much. A real fun guy to be around. I remember reading about the accident and how sad i felt for them.

Rob, Mar 29, 2012 - 07:48 PM

Does anyone know how I can contact the family of Lt. Sundstrom? I'm retireing from the AF soon and I've thought about him every day. I would like to invite his family to my retirement.



Erika Sundstrom-Brines, Jun 28, 2012 - 06:17 PM


I am Steve's sister and have posted by e-mail address. His parents and kids are still living close to me in Californa and his wife is now now living in Georgie. Please feel free to email me!



Diana Sundstrom, Jun 29, 2012 - 04:35 AM

We are Steve's parents, Jim and Diana, grandparents of Daniel and Kristin and greatgrandparents of Steven, Kristin's 8 month old son. We welcome contact at Steve is buried near us in Fort Bragg CA.

Memorial Day 2014
Diana Sundstrom, May 26, 2014 - 04:31 PM

Steve, missing you today just as we've missed you every day. I pick up pennies hoping that they've been thrown down from heaven by you......gut yesterday it was a quarter and this year you've been gone 25 years! We're old now so will be joining you before too long. Our love.......Mom

25 years today
Kari Sundstrom, Dec 18, 2014 - 11:15 PM

Still missing you, every day.

Questions about my Uncle
Cody Brines, Jun 28, 2015 - 07:25 PM

Aimee Sandlin is there any way of contacting me? If you don't mind I have so many questions about that day. I am Steves nephew Cody, very very close to his children Daniel and Kristin. I think about him every day and am amazed by all the stories I get to hear. If there is anyway I could connect with you over email that would be amazing! My email address is Thank you! I am so proud to say you are my uncle Steve!!



A Super Guy
Dr. Frank R. Douglas, Jan 27, 2016 - 04:40 AM

I was just thinking of Steve the last few days. I do not know why his spirit entered my mind. I knew him in AFROTC in Sacramento. He was a fun easy going guy. I sometimes helped him in his written papers. I was better at that then being a pilot. I kept on until I finally earned a PhD. I was housesitting for another ROTC friend at Warner Robbins AFB in Georgia in 1989 when I heard there was an accident in Germany. I had a terrible feeling it would be someone I knew and it was. I am glad I got to know his happy face and joking around. It is interesting how in 2016 his aura reentered my consciousness. I am glad I knew him. Dr. FRANK R. Douglas

Remembering with love
Diana Sundstrom (mom), Jul 05, 2016 - 04:29 PM

The Independence Day Holiday has just passed; remembering Steve when he was a young man enjoying the festivities of a small town with his friends. Some of those friends still contact us with their loving thoughts of Steve and we are honored that they do. Kari, his widow, again lives in CA and may be contacted through Facebook. We are in touch with her frequently as well as Steve's children Kristin and Daniel, and great grandchildren Steven and Wyatt.

Remembering with a Smile
Laura Weikle, Dec 22, 2016 - 05:11 PM

Thinking of Steve and my sister Kari as I always do especially in December. Steve always made me laugh. Smart and talented man, and we were lucky to know him and witness his smile, enthusiasm, and love for his kids and family.

Dr. Frank R. Douglas, Sep 19, 2017 - 01:04 PM

Very strange I had a vision of Steve in January 2017 and was influence to see his parents soon but did not make it to Steve's grave until August 2017. I was communicated to see his parents as soon as I could. Unfortunately when I finally made it to Ft. Bragg, CA his parents were both dead by then. I think his communication did not indicate the urgency to see his parents.

Charlie Singstad, Jul 06, 2019 - 02:42 PM

Kari and Steve were our friends in UPT. He and I were 88-04 classmates. Another career and half a lifetime later I think of them often. We pass through Del Rio once in a while and live in San Antonio where the flying weather is still great. Our young families made a lot of great memories together at Laughlin AFB. My thoughts are with his family now 30 years later.

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