Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr., 21, of Wichita, Kan.

Spc. Burnett was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 16, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin.

Spc Burnett graduated from Clearwater High School in 2009. He joined the Army Reserves between his junior and senior year of high school and went to full active duty shortly after graduation. He deployed to Afghanistan in April.

Family said Spc Burnett loved to hunt, play video games, play pranks and spend time with his large family. He loved his three dogs, Sundae, Angel and Cocoa and taking them on rabbit runs in the neighborhood.

Spc Burnett came home on his two-week leave in July, spending one week in Brownwood with his father and stepmother, and the other in Wichita with his mother and stepfather. He got engaged during that week in Kansas. He celebrated his 21st birthday in September.

He always went out of his way for everybody," his mother, Rebecca Metcalf. "When anyone needed anything he was there for them."

"Everybody that he met loved him," said father, James Burnett Sr. "We have heard from friends from everywhere. He will be missed."

"He was proud to serve in the army. We are all so proud of him," his father said.

"He loved it," said his stepmother, Cheri Burnett. "You could almost hear tears in his voice when he first went in, he loved it so much."

Family said the deployment was going well until couple months ago when he said “I’m in a bad place. Pray for me.”
James Sr. said the last time he spoke to his son was about a week before he was killed, "He said he was scared the fighting was getting bad. He said they were losing a lot of good men out there."

Cheri said Burnett was the oldest of seven sisters and a brother. It was a younger sibling who told her father, "Daddy, there are two men in suits here."

Cherie said when her husband heard those words, "He knew. He knew."

"They are going to miss him. The two littlest ones won't even know him. We'll just have to tell them stories and show them pictures and keep his memory alive."

Spc Burnett's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service RibbonOverseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Infantry Badge
Combat and Special Skill Badge
Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr. was killed in action on 11/15/11.

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