COL Allan L. Gruer USAF (Ret.), 83, of Alexandria, VA passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Allan was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Allan P. Gruer and Margaret Smith Gruer. His family relocated to San Antonio, Texas, when Allan was in grade school. He often told the story about his first day of school in Texas, when he showed up in Montreal-style knickers with a Canadian accent. While he got off to a rough start, he soon fit right in, and thus began his love affair with the American Southwest. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Biology as an Air Force ROTC 2nd Lieutenant. Allan embraced military life with gusto, enrolling in flight school and becoming a flight instructor in Laredo, Texas, where he met and married a beautiful Air Force nurse, Captain Rose Gallo. Soon he and Rose were traveling the world in service to their country. They spent several years in Japan, where Allan developed a deep appreciation for Japanese culture and language. Allan was perhaps most proud of his service during the Viet Nam War as the Commander of a Helicopter Air Rescue Detachment. He liked flying helicopters best of all because they were “friendly machines” that allowed him to rescue many American servicemen and Vietnamese civilians at great personal risk. Allan returned to the States and to Rose, where he held Officer positions at the Pentagon, eventually attaining the rank of Colonel. He earned the Legion of Merit and other service awards. Both he and Rose retired after standout military careers. Allan stayed busy during his retirement with his varied interests, which included traveling, volunteer work, and consulting assignments with his old Japanese contacts. He enjoyed the historical ambience of living in Old Town Alexandria, and was active with the Alexandria Seaport Foundation and the American Legion Post 24. Friendships made over his long military career were precious to him. Most of all, Allan was an honorable and fun-loving husband, son, brother, and uncle. His nieces and nephews still remember him generously teaching them to drive in his antique Mercedes. He is survived by his devoted wife, Rose, his brothers, Jack and Earl, and extended family and long-time friends. Colonel Allan Gruer has made his last flight, but his legacy flies high in all who knew him.
A Funeral Mass will be held at Ft. Myer Old Post Chapel on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 10:45 am, followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.