Friday, June 20, 2008

Navy Hospitalman Dustin K. Burnett

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Hospitalman Dustin K. Burnett, 19, of Fort Mohave, Ariz.

Hospitalman Burnett was assigned to First Marine Division Detachment, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 20, 2008 while conducting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan.

Bomb kills sailor from Arizona
By John Faherty
The Arizona Republic

Debbie Nuchols opened the door at 10:30 last Friday night and knew.

“Two guys in dress whites and a Navy chaplain,” she said. “You know what they are there for. No doubt.”

They were there to tell the Fort Mohave woman that her son, 19-year-old Dustin Burnett, was dead.

On Friday, June 20, Burnett, was a passenger in a vehicle in the Farah province of central-western Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded and killed him.

He graduated from Mohave High School in 2007, joined the Navy and went off to war in Afghanistan.

When young men and young women from this part of far-western Arizona join the military, people come together for a send-off rally at the American Legion Post in Bullhead City.

“It’s a tradition here,” said Jack Hakim, the mayor of Bullhead City. “I present our fighting men with a key to the city, and I tell them the city is with them all the way. Let’s them know we will remember them.”

Nuchols remembers her son’s speech like it was yesterday.

“He said he wanted to fight for our freedoms. But more than that, he wanted to give the people over there the same freedoms he had.”

Nuchols was so proud of her son after the send-off rally that she told anybody who would listen that her son “could grow up and be president someday.”

The send-off rally was March 23.

He was sent to Afghanistan on April 1.

Burnett was in the landlocked country because he was a hospitalman attached to a Marine division. A hospitalman is a medic.

“Everybody over there called him Doc,” Nuchols said. “He loved the idea that he would be taking care of people.”

Burnett played football for the Fort Mohave Thunderbirds for four years.

His cousin remembers him as a happy and energetic young man.

“He was always smiling,” said Rachel Nuchols. “I can’t really picture him any way except full of life.”

Rachel said her cousin wanted to go to college when he got home from the Navy.

He leaves behind his mother and stepfather. And a little brother, 13-year-old Devin.

In the past school year, Devin was given an assignment to write about his hero. He wrote about his older brother.

The flags in Bullhead City are flying at half-staff today.

Burnett’s death marks the 121st member of the military with Arizona ties to die in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Navy Hospitalman Dustin K. Burnett was killed in action on 6/20/08.

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