Lieutenant Colonel Grunke is a 2001 graduate of the College of Idaho with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. In 1999 he was accepted into the Platoon Leaders Course and following graduation in 2001 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 2001.
Upon graduation from The Basic School in 2002, he reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training. After earning his Naval Aviator Wings in 2004 at NAS Meridian, MS, he reported to VMAT-203, MCAS Cherry Point for initial training in the AV-8B Harrier.
Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to VMA-211, MAG-13, MCAS Yuma, AZ in the fall of 2005. During this tour he served as the administrative officer, legal officer, scheduled writer, and graduated from the Aviation Safety Officer’s course and Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) school. He deployed to Al Asad air base, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2006.
In 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to 3d Battalion 5th Marines aboard MCB Camp Pendleton, CA where he served as the Battalion Air Officer. During this tour he graduated from the MAWTS-1 Air Officer course and deployed with the battalion to Okinawa Japan in support of the 31st MEU.
In 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to VMA-542, MAG-14, MCAS Cherry Point, NC. During this tour he served as the Assistant Operations Officer, Pilot Training Officer, and Aviation Maintenance Officer. In 2010 he graduated from the MAWTS-1 WTI Course. He deployed with VMA-542’s Detachment A attached to VMM-266 on the 26th MEU where he supported Operation ODYSSEY DAWN and UNIFIED PROTECTOR flying combat missions in Libya.
In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to MAWTS-1, MCAS Yuma, AZ as an AV-8B Instructor Pilot and Air Officer Department instructor. During this tour, he conducted combat missions with VMA-231 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and conducted a bi-lateral mobile training team in Sweden where he taught Swedish Gripen pilots the Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission skill.
In 2015, Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to VMA-231, MAG-14, MCAS Cherry Point, NC. During this tour he served as the Executive Officer and Operations Officer. The squadron deployed to the CENTCOM AOR where he flew in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
In 2017, Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to MWHS-2, 2d MAW to serve as the MATSS Cherry Point Officer in Charge. Lieutenant Colonel Grunke reported to HQ MAG-14, 2d MAW in June 2018.
Lieutenant Colonel Grunke’s personal decorations include being winner of the Marine Corps Aviation Association Cunningham award as the Marine Aviator of the Year 2012, the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal-Individual Action with Numeral 2 and Combat Distinguishing Device, Air Medal-Strike/Flight with Numeral 10, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 1 star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.