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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By Senior Airman Michael Charles

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Nellis Remembers Fallen Airman
(October 22, 2010)

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Senior Airman Michael BurasNELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (10/20/2010 - AFNS) -- For more than 200 years, individuals have volunteered to serve in the U.S. military. Since 2001 more than 1,200 servicemembers have lost their lives in service to their country.

These members took an oath to protect the ideals and freedoms allotted to citizens by the U.S. Constitution and to help extend these freedoms to people from around the world.

One of those 1,200 servicemembers was Senior Airman Michael Buras, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, who died Sept. 21 of wounds incurred during a roadside bomb detonation in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

More than 400 people attended a memorial service Oct. 15 here to pay their final respects to Airman Michael Buras, a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country.

"Michael, to me, is truly unforgettable," said Senior Airman Joel Bomgaars. "There was truly no quit in him. I know Mikey will always be watching his family and EOD brethren from above and can confidently say that we will be safer with him always watching our back."

During the ceremony, members of the EOD team gave their testimony of how Airman Buras affected their lives and how he exhibited all the traits necessary to be considered a hero.
 "I have a simple definition for hero: Senior Airman Michael Buras," said Lt. Col. Mark McCloud, the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "Airman Buras was a hero, not only because of his actions in both his first and second deployment, but also because he was a brother, friend, wingman, husband and father. He chose the calling of being in EOD, where the courageous run toward danger instead of running away from it. He will forever define the definition of hero."

Members of the EOD flight explained the impact Airman Buras had on each of their lives.

"No matter what you needed Mikey to do; he would do it," said Master Sgt. Kieran Flynn, the EOD section chief. "He had one thing that everyone wants but not everyone has and that is courage."

"Senior Airman Buras' energy and passion made a mark on me as (a) person," said
Hundreds of people gathered at the base chapel for a memorial service for Senior Airman Michael Buras Oct. 15, 2010, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Airman Buras was an explosive ordnance disposal journeyman assigned to the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron when he was killed in action while responding to a roadside bomb Sept. 21, 2010, in Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman
Hundreds of people gathered at the base chapel for a memorial service for Senior Airman Michael Buras Oct. 15, 2010, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Airman Buras was an explosive ordnance disposal journeyman assigned to the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron when he was killed in action while responding to a roadside bomb Sept. 21, 2010, in Afghanistan.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman
Capt. Lee Turcotte, the EOD flight commander. "He eagerly put his life on the line to protect Afghan citizens and coalition and U.S. servicemembers. Michael epitomized the pride, dedication and willingness to sacrifice that Airmen should aspire to have." 
During the ceremony, Airman Buras was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor medal, posthumously, as well as his second Purple Heart award.

Airman Buras was buried Oct. 6 at the national cemetery in Andersonville, Ga.

"The next time you hear somebody speak of service before self, having a warrior spirit or putting (the) mission first, think of Michael Buras," Captain Turcotte said. "Those concepts are not unachievable or abstract ideas; he lived and died by them. That is an American hero. We will do everything we can to live in the spirit he set for us." 

By Senior Airman Michael Charles
99 Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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