Larry Buendorf

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Larry Buendorf
Ford at McClellan 5 Sept 1975 A6311-09.jpg
Buendorf in foreground with sunglasses protecting Ford 5 September 1975
Born (1937-11-18) November 18, 1937 (age 80)
Wells, Minnesota, U.S.
Alma mater Minnesota State University, Mankato, B.S. 1959
Occupation Chief Security Officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, former Secret Service special agent

Larry Buendorf (born November 18, 1937) is the Chief Security Officer of the United States Olympic Committee. He is a former United States Navy aviator and Secret Service agent. He is best known for his successful intervention during an assassination attempt on then United States President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Early life and Navy service[edit]

Buendorf was born November 18, 1937, in Wells, Minnesota, son of Ruby and Merle Buendorf. Buendorf graduated from Wells High School in Minnesota in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Science[1] degree in Business from Mankato State University in 1959. After service in the United States Navy as a Naval Aviator, he joined the Secret Service in 1970, where he was employed for 22 years.[2]

Secret Service career[edit]

Buendorf was assigned to the Secret Service's Chicago Field Office (1970–1972), Presidential Protective Division (1972–1977) and Denver Field Office (1977–1982). He was Special Agent in Charge, Omaha Field Office (1982–1983). Later, from 1983–1993, he was Special Agent in Charge of the Protective Division and, once again, assigned to protect President Gerald Ford and Mrs. Ford.[1]

Assassination attempt on U.S. President Gerald Ford[edit]

On September 5, 1975, President Gerald Ford, who had just given a speech at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, walked across a park where a crowd had gathered.[3] A woman in a red dress, who later was identified as Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, was seen following Ford while he was shaking hands.[3][4] Upon seeing a Colt M1911 pistol, Secret Service Special Agent Larry Buendorf stepped in front of Ford. Buendorf yelled "Gun!", alerting the other agents who evacuated Ford. He pulled the gun away and wrestled the woman to the ground,[3] in the process slightly injuring his thumb and hand while placing the webbing of his thumb between the gun's cocked hammer and the slide of the pistol.[citation needed]

For his role in preventing the assassination attempt on President Ford, Buendorf was awarded the U.S. Treasury Meritorious Service Award and the United States Secret Service Valor Award.[1]

During the years after the assassination attempt, Buendorf and President Ford maintained telephone contact every year on the September 5th anniversary of the attack. He also visited the former President and skied with him on occasion.[2][5]

U.S. Olympic Committee[edit]

Buendorf later became Chief Security Officer of the United States Olympic Committee in 1993 after retirement from the Secret Service.[6] From the Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs, his office is able to monitor security images from other Olympic training sites in Lake Placid, New York, and Chula Vista, California, a suburb of San Diego.[6] The grounds of the Olympic Committee is open to the public and has a visitor's center and gift shop. As Chief Security Officer, Buendorf is responsible for security of the U.S. Olympic Committee. However, he was not directly responsible for security at the Olympic Games when they were held in the United States in 1996 and 2002, as such tasks were performed by local, state, and federal government personnel, as well as contracted private security.

His philosophy for the Olympic Committee grounds security is "We don't want to create the environment of armed guards on the fence line." "That's not the kind of image we want for the Olympic movement. But we want it to be known there's a presence."[6]

Other achievements[edit]

Buendorf has been inducted into the Minnesota Athletic Hall of Fame.[1]

Acting credits[edit]

Buendorf appeared on the television documentary Inside the U.S. Secret Service in 2004.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Larry Buendorf" (PDF). Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2017-05-11. .
  2. ^ a b Alum Larry Buendorf saved President Ford's life in 1975. Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU) (2007-01-02). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  3. ^ a b c Election Is Crunch Time for U.S. Secret Service. (2010-10-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  4. ^ Experience on security's front lines. Usatoday.Com (2004-05-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  5. ^ The Free Press, Mankato, MN – Wells native once saved Ford's life. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  6. ^ a b c Borzilleri, Meri-Jo (2003-12-21) "Keeping an eye on things. Olympic security means much more today". Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-06. .
  7. ^ Larry Buendorf.
  8. ^ Inside the U.S. Secret Service (2004) (TV).