Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Army Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj, 21, of Canton, Ohio

Pfc. Buryj was assigned to the 66th Military Police Company, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed May 5, 2004 when his military vehicle was struck by a dump truck whose driver had been shot while trying to run through a control point in Karbala, Iraq.

Associated Press

CANTON, Ohio — An Ohio soldier killed in Iraq died while heroically trying to stop an attack on an Army checkpoint, family members said.

Jesse Buryj, 21, of Canton, fired more than 400 rounds at a dump truck trying to crash the checkpoint near Karbala. He shot the driver of the truck, which then crashed into the Humvee in which he was riding, an Army sergeant told his mother, Peggy Buryj, on Wednesday morning.

“Everyone was fine, but Jesse’s stomach was hurting him,” she was told. “They took him to a hospital where they found he had massive internal injuries, and he died on the operating table.”

His mother said Army representatives were expected to tell her more Thursday.

Buryj was a soldier with the 66th MP Company at Fort Lewis, Wash., in October when he married his high school sweetheart, Amber Tichenor.

“They were just married a few months and he had to leave,” she said.

Buryj was a member of the Canton City Police Youth Corps before he joined the Army during his senior year.

“He told the Army, ‘If I can’t be an MP (military police officer) and a paratrooper, I’m not going,”’ she recalled. “He went to jump school and he got his wings.”

His mother said he wanted to be a military police officer so he could become a Canton police officer.

“That’s all he wanted — to be a Canton police officer. But he couldn’t be a Canton police officer until he was 21. So he joined the Army,” she said, adding that to her, “My son was a police officer — always.”

Ohio soldier remembered for his bravery, compassion

CANTON, Ohio — Pfc. Jesse Buryj was remembered at his funeral Saturday for his life-saving bravery and friendly, caring personality.

Buryj, 21, of Canton, died May 5. He was credited with saving at least three lives when he fired more than 400 rounds at a dump truck trying to crash a checkpoint near Karbala, the military and family members have said.

An Army sergeant said Buryj shot the driver of the truck, which then crashed into his Humvee, said Peggy Buryj, the soldier’s mother. He later died of injuries from the crash.

Buryj was with the 66th Military Police Company at Fort Lewis, Wash., and was one of 24 Ohioans who have been killed in Iraq.

“He is a soldier. He is too young to be gone,” Gen. Dennis Moran told about 250 mourners inside Eleventh Street Church of God.

“As a military police officer, his first job was to serve and protect” fellow soldiers, Moran said. “He trusted his life to those soldiers as they trusted theirs to him.”

Moran presented Buryj’s family with his medals — the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Matthew Beadoin, who was best man at Buryj’s wedding, gave the eulogy and said Buryj was “the bravest person, friend and soldier” he had ever known.

The Canton McKinley High School graduate enlisted in the Army out of high school because he was too young to be a Canton police officer, which remained his career goal. Buryj married his high school sweetheart, Amber Tichenor, in October.

Outside the church, people waited in the rain with flags and signs to show their support for Buryj’s family. Among them were family and friends of Cpl. Andrew Brownfield, of nearby Akron, who was killed in Iraq on March 18.

“We’re here to support this family,” said Brownfield’s mother, Melody Roop. “They’re going through what we went through, and we’re here for them.”

A few minutes later, she and her family burst into tears when the song “You Raise Me Up” blared from the church’s loudspeakers across the street. The same song was played at her son’s funeral.

— Associated Press

Army Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj was killed in action on 05/05/04.

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