Monday, March 2, 2009
His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold
WASHINGTON (Feb. 27, 2009) -- Capt. Brian M. Bunting of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was "something special," his friends and family say.
The captain, a 1998 graduate of Bullis High School in Potomac, excelled academically and athletically in football, lacrosse and wrestling. He was a 2002 West Point graduate in civil engineering.
"Just sitting here thinking about how you measure the true value of a man or a woman -- with Brian you didn't measure it with money or things -- you measured it with heart," said his father, Robert Bunting. "He was something special."
Capt. Bunting, 29, of Potomac died Tuesday, Feb. 24, with three other soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when an explosive device detonated near their vehicle, the Defense Department said Thursday.
The officer was part of the Individual Ready Reserve. In May of 2007 he retired from active duty service, then welcomed the birth of his son in July.
"He loved his wife dearly and his son, Connor, meant everything to him," said his father.
In March 2008, Capt. Bunting received mobilization orders and moved back to Maryland so his wife and son would be close to family during his deployment.
"He was proud to have the job that he did. He always went into it with no reservations," said his older sister, Stephanie Graver.
The captain had been serving in Afghanistan since June, the commander of a 15-man team responsible for mentoring the Afghan National Police. He had just returned to the field, after two weeks of "R and R" with his family in Potomac.
Survivors include his wife, Nicki, and his son, as well as his father, two grandparents and five siblings.
"Family was the most important part of Bubba's life. He had an extremely tight-knit family whose love for one another was truly an inspiration," said his sister-in-law Sue Bunting.
He was popular among both staff and students at Bullis High School.
"Bubba was a true icon in our little Bullis community and grew up to be an All-American hero," said past schoolmate Katie Sugar Scheiner, posting her sentiments on a legacy.com Web page set up in-memorium.
Graver described him as a man of enormous potential, and cited his graduation from West Point in 2002.
"I feel his graduation was one of my parents' proudest moments," she said.
Bunting received three Army Achievement medals, an Army commendation Medal and six additional service medals. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal posthumously.
Richard Varney, a past teacher, adviser and friend during his years at Bullis, posted his thoughts on this loss, hearing echoes of a West Point farewell speech in the struggle.
"It is not possible to rationalize Brian's death and the depth of our sorrow," Varney said. "The words of General McArthur seem most fitting. 'In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.'"
Capital News Service contributed to this report.
By: MAREN WRIGHT