Retired Air Force Maj. Brian Shul leaves legacy of survival with his passing

“Leaving your jet in the jungle is not heroic. I’m a survivor.”

That sentiment is one that Retired Air Force Maj. Brian Shul expressed often in the years after being shot down during the Vietnam War. Sustaining devastating burn injuries in the crash, he recovered and continued to serve his country, piloting secret missions in the Cold War while flying the SR-71, the world’s fastest aircraft.

He told his story often as part of his encore career in which he continued to inspire. Telling his story was among the last things he did. He died of a cardiac arrest in a hospital in Reno, Nev. On May 20, 2023. He had collapsed while speaking at the Nevada Military Support Alliance’s annual event, according to news outlets. He was 75.

Back in 2015, the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition was honored to host Shul for an Evening Lecture. You can watch his talk here.

He also was a guest on IHMC’s podcast SEM-Talk in episode 15. Listen to that conversation here.