Learn about our Team

We are a team of experienced professionals, dedicated to restoring historic vehicles and aircraft. We would like to share our experiences with you!

Tim Brune

Tim Brune

Director of Maintenance

Tim Brune is not new to aviation. In fact, his father was an Air Force pilot who later went to work for Aerojet and ultimately ran the bombing range at NAS Fallon. As a kid, Brune spent countless hours with his father observing Navy air craft at the ranges in and around NAS Fallon. Brune looks back kindly on these memories. This was a special time for him.

Proud of his father’s accomplishments, Brune decided to serve in the US Marine Corp. He joined for six years, where he received extensive training in aviation fundamentals, ordnance and countless weaponry systems. He started in Air Traffic Control, ultimately becoming an aviation ordnance/special weapons technician. Tim Brune has continued his aviation maintenance training through the Aviation Electronic Schools of America, where he was licensed in Airframes and Power Plants in 2003, as well as H-60 Airframe School (2007) and US Navy Maintenance Control School (2009).

Brune spent time working with Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, VFA-127 and later Pacific Fleet Adversary working for Lockheed running ordnance special projects. He then went on to NASA working on the T-38N in El Paso, Texas. He returned to Fallon in 1998 working as a Navy Quality Assurance Representative at NAS Fallon Search and Rescue, where he gained extensive experience with helicopter maintenance and repair. During this time, he worked with the FAA in joint efforts. His hard work and extensive knowledge of various aircraft including past helicopter repair/maintenance experience received him accolades by the FAA, who recommended him Cactus Air Force (CAF) to work on their challenging AH-1 Cobra restoration project. Deciding that CAF was an excellent opportunity to continue his passion of aviation repair, Brune became the Director of Maintenance for CAF in 2011. Brune still carries on his duties for Washoe County Sheriff Department RAVEN Unit.

Tim Brune brings over 29 years of aviation experience to Cactus Air Force. Most recently, Brune has focused his aviation maintenance skills on helicopter mechanics. He currently maintains the HH-1H Huey and multiple OH-58 Kiowa helicopters for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department RAVEN unit. In addition to the traditional avionic repairs, Brune is responsible for special system repairs including: firefighting, video surveillance, technical rescue and airborne SWAT applications.

Brune is dedicated to the restoration and flying maintenance of all aircraft owned by Cactus Air Force, enabling it to be truly a “Flying Museum.” Brune envisions a perfect day for CAF when all aircraft fly in a massive alpha-strike formation and land at an airfield for visitors to view up close and personal. Brune relishes watching an aircraft fly after all of the hours he has spent working on it, knowing that all systems are functioning properly and that the safety of the pilots and passengers is ensured.

Doug Russell

Doug Russell


Doug Russell, the son of a career naval officer, graduated from Oregon State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Journalism. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon his commissioning, he was assigned to Naval Aviation Schools Command, where he completed primary and helicopter flight training in the T-34 and TH-57 at NAS Whiting Field, FL. Deputy Russell was winged as a Naval Aviator on 22 April 1988.

Following completion of flight school, Doug reported to HSL-40, NAS Mayport, FL for training in the SH-60B Seahawk. Subsequently, Doug’s initial fleet assignment was with HSL-44 from 1989-1992 where he made deployments to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS KAUFFMAN (FFG 59) and Persian Gulf aboard the USS HALYBURTON (FFG 40) in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During his three-year tour he served as Detachment Administrative Officer, Detachment Operations Officer and Squadron Assistant Operations Officer. In 1991, he was selected as HSL-44’s Officer of the Year.

In 1992, Doug reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, where he was awarded a Master of Science in Information Technology Management. Following graduation from postgraduate school in 1994, Doug reported to Destroyer Squadron TWENTY ONE as the Air Operations Officer. During this tour, Doug fleeted up to Operations Officer, deploying to the Persian Gulf aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72).

In 1996, Doug reported to the staff of Commander Helicopter Antisubmarine Light Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet as the Training and Tactics Officer. While at the wing, Doug also flew as a Fleet Replacement Instructor Pilot at HSL-41 in San Diego, CA.

In 1998 Doug transferred to HSL-51 in Atsugi, Japan. While with the Warlords, Doug deployed aboard USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53), USS THACH (FFG 43), USS CUSHING (DD 985), USS OBRIEN (DD 975), and USS VANDEGRIFT (FFG 48) for numerous deployments to the Western Pacific, including operations off the coast of Korea and East Timor. As a detachment Officer In Charge, Doug deployed the squadron‘s first Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capable detachment, and was the squadron’s first NVG instructor pilot. Both HELLFIRE and PENGUIN missile qualified, he completed his tour at HSL-51 as the Squadron Operations Officer.

In June 2001 Doug reported to Commander U. S. Naval Forces Europe in London, England, where he was the NAVEUR Exercise Director, responsible for the planning and execution of over 200 multi-lateral exercises a year in the European Theater.

In August 2004, Doug reported to Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, as the Executive Officer and Search and Rescue Squadron Commander. While flying search and rescue with the Navy, he performed 53 life saving rescues.

In October 2008, Doug retired from the Navy as a Commander, and was hired by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office as the Chief Pilot for the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit (RAVEN). In February 2009, following a 3 month long police academy, Doug was commissioned as a Deputy.

Doug has accumulated over 5800 flight hours, 150 rescues and 1000 small deck landings. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medal (one strike flight and one individual action), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards) and various unit awards and citations.

Lee Griffin

Lee Griffin


Lee Griffin, call sign “Thumper”, brings a wealth of operational experience and technical knowhow to the complex and challenging world of aviation. Mr. Griffin started his flying career as an instructor, crop duster, and corporate pilot flying a DC-3 for a politician. He joined the U.S. Navy and after graduating at the top of his class was selected to fly fighters. Joining Fighter Squadron 114 onboard USS Kitty Hawk on Yankee station in Southeast Asia, Lee Logged multiple combat missions over North Vietnam. During his 21 years of service with the Navy, Lee flew five different Navy tactical jet aircraft while assigned to seven different Fighter Squadrons and a Missile Test Squadron. He served as an instructor in both the F-4 Phantom and the A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. He was awarded multiple decorations for valor including the Navy Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, multiple Air Medals, Sea Service Ribbon, Expert Pistol, Expert Rifle, and many other citations. During, his Navy career Mr. Griffin amassed over 800 carrier arrested landings, and numerous awards and Letters of Commendation and Appreciation for missile testing and evaluation while stationed at the Pacific Missile Test Center, Pt Magu Ca.

After the military, Lee resumed corporate flying and soon was hired by Federal Express Airlines, where he flies today as a Captain. While working at the Cactus Air Force, Lee has had the opportunity to participate in many air shows throughout the United States. During this time he has also flown various museum aircraft in movies as well as multiple air to air commercials. Lee flew the Specline Special, a highly modified T-33 jet aircraft at the 2007 National Championship Air Races at Reno Nv., and set an all-class record for the fastest qualifying lap in the history of the air races at over 525MPH. A published author, Lee is also qualified to fly and instruct in all of the museums fixed-winged aircraft including the T-33 Silver Star, OV-10A Bronco, T-6G Texan, T-41 Mescalero, T-34 Mentor, T-28 Trojan and the F-86 Sabre. With over 15,000 hours of flight time and his experience as a Naval Air to Air combat instructor, Mr. Griffin has the unique ability of allowing inexperienced pilot to safely experience what it’s like to dogfight against another aircraft.

The Museum

Cactus Air Force received approval from the Carson City Airport Authority to build a military aircraft and vehicle museum at the Carson City Airport. Cactus Air Force’s “Wings and Wheels Museum” will be a nonprofit, public museum dedicated to celebrating aviation and military history through preserving, restoring, displaying and use of US military aircraft and vehicles from WWII to present. The museum facility will be comprised of an enclosed 12,000 Square Foot exhibit/event space and museum store. Also, there will be several outside, covered static display areas as well as a large, outdoor tarmac area with static aircraft and vehicle displays. The facility will be constructed at the Carson City Airport with public access from College Parkway and provide runway access for aircraft. Building is scheduled to commence in Fall 2013.