A Life of Service

December 22, 2008 2:12:08 PM PST
A prominent member of the Valley's military veterans has died.Retired Brigadier General Ed Munger lost his fight with cancer in the early evening of February 11th, 2008. He was at home surrounded by his family.

General Munger lived a life of service to his country and his community which included his avocation as ABC30's military analyst.

Ed Munger was born and raised in Fresno where his family settled in 1880. The 68 year old graduate of Fresno High School, Class of 1957, joined California's Army National Guard that same year. He served as a citizen and an active duty soldier for thirty four years including five at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Tamsen raised two children in Fresno where Munger enjoyed personal and business success here and abroad in the Middle East.

Following his retirement from the military in 1990 Munger began sharing his military expertise with ABC30 Action News. During the ramp up to the first Gulf War and its international aftermath General Munger explained to viewers why the valley's Air National Guard pilots were defending a no-fly zone over Iraq. As he put it: "We want to eliminate the threat to our own aircraft in that zone. The missile sites posed a threat. We've warned them repeatedly, we're very selective on targets. I think the message to Saddam is don't push it."

General Munger's insight into current events continued through the events of 9/11 and on to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In March of 2004 he traveled to Iraq with the 'Brotherhood of the Badge' helping to facilitate the delivery of donated police equipment to Iraqi police for that non-profit organization formed in Fresno. While there he also filed reports for Action News telling viewers on one occasion: "As we landed mortar rounds could be heard going off here around this base."

Ed Munger's life was filled with service to his community. He participated in numerous civic and philanthropic groups including the Board of Directors of Children's Hospital Central California and the Sequoia Council of the Boy Scouts. He routinely spoke to many more. His last public speech was on July 7th, 2007. He encouraged members of the North Fresno Rotary Club to support those in uniform wherever they are serving around the world telling them: "It is not a war against a nation state it is a war against individuals with an ideology."

The diagnosis of an incurable, rare form of liver cancer in 2005 did not end Munger's community work. He was a regular contributor to KMJ Radio and appeared often on Ray Appleton's Talk Radio broadcast. On the occasion of his return to that program follow cancer surgery and treatment he was greeted warmly my Appleton: "That's why he's the General a tough rugged man, a fighter you know."

General Munger talked openly about his cancer with ABC30 and with his friend Ray Appleton that day: "Gen., R'td Ed Munger - The two things I'm not cutting back on is broadcasting and supporting our men and women in uniform. " And he didn't.

On November 27, 2007, at the Legion of Valor he was honored for his life of public and military service by Congressman Jim Costa (D) Fresno who read it into the Congressional Record. General Munger chose to use the opportunity to urge young people to serve their country in whatever form they choose, in the military or in their lives as private citizens saying: "I think we have to keep reminding the younger people of their obligation to keep this country free and that can only come with service and it doesn't just come from military service.

Brigadier general Ed Munger helped guide his community through the complications, controversy and politics of international war while fighting his own personal battle without fear, regret or complaint. And he was prepared for that fight to end.

"Gen. Ed Munger (Ret), U.S. Army National Guard: I'm not afraid of it, I'm going to do what I can do to fix it and the good Lord will work miracles if that's his choice and if it's my time, it's my time."

His time came on February 11th, 2008.


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