Books by John R. Bruning


That’s me handing out goodies to some kids in an Afghan village near FOB Shank in the fall of 2010. Photo by the most awesome SSG Scott Tant, TF Brawler’s legendary Public Affairs NCO.

In 1996, I left the computer game industry to begin writing a biography of Colonel Gerald R. Johnson, one of the great fighter leaders the USAAF produced during WWII. My first book, written for Brassey’s (now Potomac), ended up not being the bio of Johnson, but rather a history of the Korean Air War called Crimson Sky. Between consulting for the computer flight simulation industry, working as a sports stringer, and writing documentary scripts for a firm called Entertainment Distributing Inc., I wrote four more books.

In 2005, I began researching The Devil’s Sandbox and grew very close to the Oregon National Guardsmen whose deployment to Iraq the previous year was the subject of the book. I embedded with them when they were deployed to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, then formed a non-profit organization that helped provide training support for them.


New Orleans, September 2005. With 2-162 Infantry’s Charlie Company. The troops were sweeping an indoor arts & crafts warehouse for looters.



At FOB Gahzni, September 2010. CH-47 refueling stop, Afghan Air Corps MI-17 behind me.

After the Sandbox came out, I wrote a number of collaborations with veterans of both Iraq and Afghanistan. I also wrote several books on my own for MBI/Zenith Press.

Currently, I’m working on a biography of aviation legend Paul “Pappy” Gunn. This will be my eighteenth book, and my first for Hachette.

At right are some details of each book and the back stories behind them.



This is Volunteers, aka “Vol” or “Volley,” one of three animals adopted out of Hurricane Katrina by myself and members of 2-162 Infantry. Vol was found in a flooded, looted motel where he’d been trapped in a room without food and water for almost two weeks.







9 thoughts on “Books by John R. Bruning

  1. Is Volley your at?

    • A Gray,

      Yeah. He was. Pulled him out of New Orleans during the post-Katrina mess. He went everywhere with me for 5 years. Loved the car. Loved to hike with me. We spent a lot of time wandering around ghost towns together. He died of heart failure in my office here in Oregon while I was off in a minefield in Helmand Province. 2010. Still miss the little guy.

      • I once had a little “gentleman from New Orleans”, a small gray boy, who wandered up to me near St. Charles Avenue and became a friend. Later, he travelled with me to Washington state, but that was long before Katrina.

      • A Gray,

        That’s awesome! How long did you have him?

  2. From 1985 through 1992. He was a good boy and a good companion. He used to enjoy lying in front of the fireplace soaking up the heat.

  3. joe

    Mr Bruning. Just happened on this site by accident. I read Jungle Ace close to ten years ago and it has always stuck with me Outstanding book.Your story about how you became a writer was just gravy. Thank you sir, I’ll have to read your other books.

    • Thank you Joe! Jungle Ace was a very, very special project for me. I just saw Bill Runey, by the way. Spent a few hours with him yesterday. He’s 94 now, but his mind is still as sharp as ever. Great human being. 🙂

      Best to you,


  4. Tammy Waller

    Just got done reading “Outlaw Platoon.” What a great piece of writing, and such amazing men for the storyline. I have been reading as many nonfiction books as possible at an alarming rate. Great writers and stories make it easy to breeze through them. Thanks for all your hard work, effort and heart!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: