Colonel Thomas Vagn Borlund, Jr., age 83, of Clarksville, has joined his band of brothers who have departed this life. He passed peacefully, surrounded by his wife and four children, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on April 29, 2021 of complications from Parkinson’s disease.Tom was born in New York City on December 15, 1937 to Danish immigrants Thomas Vagn Borlund, Sr. and Ella Tybjerg Borlund. He grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey and graduated from Teaneck High School. Tom was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
At the age of 17, Tom received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and he graduated in 1959. Their motto was “None so fine as ‘59”. As companies were grouped at the time by height, he, being one of the tallest cadets, was a member of Company A-1. They marched out front in parades. The A-1 motto was "Above The Rest". He subsequently attended Ranger and Airborne schools and then chose to serve with the 187 Infantry at Fort Campbell – the Rakkasans – as he wanted to be with others who shared his desire to jump out of airplanes. A highlight was winning the competition for Best Weapons Platoon in the Division which was presented to him by Major General William Westmoreland. He then returned to the Ranger Department’s Mountain Ranger Camp in Fort Benning, Georgia as a lane grader, followed by a tour in Panama in the Canal Zone and then his first tour in Vietnam. He returned to Fort Benning to become Chief of the Pathfinder Committee and then moved over to the Airborne Department Headquarters. He then met his wife, Freida, and they married on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii while Tom took an R&R during his second tour in Vietnam. Tom then obtained a Masters Degree in International Affairs from American University and while on assignment at the Pentagon, he initiated and sold the concept for a political/military simulation on international terrorism and nuclear blackmail, which he ran as Project Officer and which resulted in multiple policy changes for the United States – an achievement of which Tom was appropriately proud. Two assignments in Germany then followed, including a position in Stuttgart in which he was often sent on troubleshooting missions to countries in the Middle East and Africa. His final assignment in the military was in SHAPE, Belgium as a Psychological Warfare Officer.
After retiring from the Army in 1989 in a 187 Rakkasan ceremony, Tom settled in Clarksville and made his final career decision by becoming a licensed private investigator with his own company, TVB Investigations. He was motivated by the desire to help people and the challenge of solving cases – a few were high profile, most were routine, all were interesting. Tom also served 3 years as State Chairman of the Tennessee Association of Investigators. After retiring from his investigations company, Tom later became involved with MOAA (the Military Officers Association of American), including serving as its President.
Tom is survived by his wife of 50 years, Freida Walker Borlund; son Thomas V. Borlund, III (Della); daughter Audrey Newmont (Nicholas); daughter Amy Border (Chris); daughter Erika Frey (Ben); eight beautiful grandchildren (John, Ayla, Jake, Erik, Serena, Malana, Hudson and Ella); one great-grandchild (Dakota); his nephew Scott Florcsk and niece Traci Otte (Aaron). He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Lillian Florcsk (and brother-in-law Don), and ex-wife Rita Bogner.
Throughout his life in the military and in retirement, Tom regularly served as an emcee of events and never met a microphone he didn’t like. His family believes he is currently entertaining his family and friends who passed before him.
There will be no local service. His ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. He loved the Army. It was a good ride. Well done. Be thou at peace.