As citizens of the United States of America, we are forever indebted to the men and women who so unselfishly protect our freedoms. A Soldier’s Child hopes to communicate to the children left behind that the memory of their parent will not fade away. We want them to know that there are many Americans that are forever grateful for their parent’s sacrifice.
Corporal Johnathon Tyler Burnette, United State Marine Corps, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, January 7, 2009, in the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Corporal Burnette was born August 10, 1988, in Cookville, Tennessee, to Melinda Hammons Norris and Steve Burnette. Tyler has one sister, Leslie Burnette, and a precious daughter, Jaden Rose Burnette. He has a step father, Terry Norris, and four stepbrothers and two sisters-in-law, Nathen and Kara Norris, Joshua and Melanie Norris, Joseph Norris, and Terry Stephen Norris. Tyler’s grandparents are Joe and Mattie Burnette, Barbara Hammons Means, and Elaine Norris. He was preceded in death by maternal great grandparents, Oscar and Ella Mae Hammons and Virgil and Lillie Cooper, and paternal great grandparents, Turnman and Dessie Burnette and James Lum and Mattie Cantrell. Tyler also left behind a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family members, and friends. Corporal Burnette gave his heart and life to the Lord in June, 1991 during a Vacation Bible School and has been a member of Eastwood Baptist Church in Cookville, Tennessee, since that time. While stationed at Camp Lejeune, he attended Salem Baptist Church in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, where he rededicated his life to the Lord on Sunday night, January 4, 2009. Corporal Burnette attended Northeast Elementary School, Avery Trace Middle School, and Cookville High School, where he graduated in May of 2002. He attended Tennessee Technological University Prior to enlisting in the Maries and was continuing his college education on case at Camp Lejeune. Corporal Burnette enjoyed riding motorcycles and was an avid motocross racer. He enjoyed spending time with his family, swimming, jet-skiing, boating, and fishing in his spare time. Corporal Burnette enlisted in the United States Marine Corp on June 7, 2005. He completed boot camp recriut training, Marine combat training, and the Basic Landing Support Marine Course in 2005. He was an expert marksman in rifle certification and completed the Sergeants non-resident program. He was certified in Scuba diving and para trooping. He was deployed on the USS Nashville with the 24th Marine Expeditionary from June, 2006 to december, 2006 and assisted in the Lebanon evacuations during that time. He completed the Arabic Emerson Language course on May 16, 2007, and the Reconnaissance Indoctrination program on July 27, 2007. Corporal Burnette’s personal decorations include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Humanitarian service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service medal, and the Meritorious Mast. He completed the First Class Marine Corps Combat Water Survival program. He received a gray belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal on January 1, 2007, and he was serving as a Landing Support Specialist at Camp Lejeune. Corporal Burnette was a very dedicated Marine and considered it a great honor to serve his country. Corporal Burnette adored his precious three year old daughter, Jaden Rose Burnette. Just prior to his home going, he spent a 12-day leave in Michigan visiting with her and other family members over the Christmas and New Year Holidays. You may visit Corporal Burnette’s website at www.mem.com and send a tribute to the family.
Written by Melinda A. Norris, Child Jaden Rose Burnette
Art Chaney was born on 27 June 1947. His Dad, Hugh Chaney, was a Colonel in the Air Force so the family lived in many places while Art grew up. Art went to high school in Vienna, Virginia and was a star on the baseball and basketball teams. His smile was one you never forgot. His dream was to be a pilot. He enlisted in the Army and was accepted to flight school. Art received his aviator wings and commission as a Warrant Officer in October 1967. He arrived in Vietnam in November 1967 and was assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Division. His unit was the highly decorated, frontline, and prestigious A Troop, 1st of the 9th Cavalry where it was decided that Art would be attached to the gunship platoon. Their missions would include covering quick-response troop insertions, flying high cover for scout helicopters trying to ferret out the enemy, and attack missions on enemy bunkers, vehicles, and machine gun positions. Art was an excellent pilot, and during the Tet Offensive (February-March, 1968) he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart (for wounds received in action), and three Air Medals for his accumulated combat flight hours. On 3 May 1968 Art was flying in the front seat of a Cobra Attack Helicopter near the Laotian border in far northwest South Vietnam. He bravely engaged an enemy anti-aircraft position that was firing on other helicopters. While diving and bringing devastating fire on the position, his aircraft was caught in a crossfire from a previously silent gun emplacement. Art’s aircraft was aflame and exploded just before making impact with the ground. Heavy enemy contact and the scattered wreckage prevented any rescue or recovery attempt. Art was initially declared Missing in Action, which was eventually changed to Killed in Action, but his body was never recovered. Finally, in the summer of 2008, his remains were found and returned. On 16 September 2008, 40 years later, Chief Warrant Officer Arthur Fletcher Chaney was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery, just a few short miles from the fields and courts where he once played baseball and basketball. Simply stated, Art Chaney was a true American hero.
Written by Art Jacobs – Pilot & Friend Who Served With Art Chaney In Vietnam
My husband, Jason Faley, was a proud member of Air Force Special Forces group at Fort Campbell, KY. He was not, however, as proud of that as he was of his child who shares his name. He was a dedicated soldier and a fantastic, devoted father. The day after we celebrated our son’s first birthday, Jason went TDY with members of his group for a training mission in Kuwait, to which he never returned. During the final section of the training mission something went terribly wrong. The outpost where my husbands, amongst other soldiers, were located was mistakenly targeted by a Navy fighter jet participating in the training event. We were told Jason was killed instantly. Unfortunately my son was very young, so he has absolutely no memory of the father that loved and adored him. As an adult, I’ve been able to cope with the loss of my husband as well as can be expected with the military providing many excellent resources, but what I did not anticipate is the extended grieving process experienced by my son. My son becomes more and more aware of this tremendous loss that it seems as though his grief grows more and more with time. At nine years old, he is receiving counseling for depression and longs for the father he only knows through photographs. As a mother, I am deeply concerned over his fragile emotional state. Thus, I am desperately searching for additional forms of support for children of fallen soldiers to hopefully obtain resources to help him through this difficult time. It would mean so much to him to receive even a letter expressing gratitude for his father’s sacrifice. To know that there are others who support him would undoubtedly provide some comfort. Receiving something in honor of his father’s sacrifice would be exceptionally special to him, especially since he has no recollection of receiving anything from his father. Thank you so much for providing such a thoughtful and special service for these grieving children! It’s wonderful to know that these children are not forgotten.
Written by Mrs. Shannon Faley, Child Jason Faley
SSG Justin Gallegos was KIA in Afghanistan when his combat outpost was overrun by insurgents. He and seven others were killed in this attack. This was his third combat tour but was his first time in Afghanistan. He attended training as a 19k tanker at Fort Knox, KY in 2003, the year our son was born. After his first deployment, he reclassified to become a 19D cavalry scout. He was a two time Purple Heart recipient for his deployments in Iraq. He received many other prestigious awards, along with the great extent of awards given after his death as a result of this monumental battle. He was a great father, strong man, and a disciplined non-commissioned officer. As I write this, today would have been his birthday.
Written by Mrs. Amanda Greenwood, Child MacAidan Gallegos
Joseph Hunt joined the TN National Guard in 2000. He never dreamed that he would end up in a place like Iraq. When he was called upon to do so, he went gladly. Joey spent his life trying to please others and always looking for that something that he was good at. He was a good soldier. The young divorced father of two boys lost his life on August 22, 2005 in Samarra, Iraq by an IED. He is sadly missed by his families and boys. We, his parents, look after the boy’s welfare. We have the boys spend just about every weekend with us, they have ever since they were born. We have slowly introduced them to events that honor their dad and they seem to be learning the honor, importance and respect that their daddy deserves. It’s hard to explain to a 7 year old that hardly knew his daddy and even harder to a 9 year old who does, why their dad is not coming home. He has promised to be home for their birthdays that year and that’s something Caleb has not forgotten. Their home life is difficult and it would truly be a blessing for them to have a birthday that was special. Most of the time we have a little family get together with their family, I don’t think they have had a party at home.
Written by Mr. and Mrs. Tim Hunt, Children Caleb and Joshua Hunt
SSG Paul Johnson was 29 years old when he was KIA on October 20, 2003. As a child, all he ever wanted to be was a soldier. He was in the ROTC at high school and signed up for the Delayed Entry program. He was 17 years old when he graduated, and left for Basic training one month later. He completed Basic Training and Jump School before he turned 18. He was extremely respected by all he served with. Not just respected, but loved as well.
He served in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo with General David Petreaus as his driver and interpreter from 2001 to 2002. He returned in 2002, and after being home for just two weeks, he was deployed to Afghanistan. He was in command of an eight man patrol. He returned in February 2003, and in August of 2003, he was deployed to Iraq. He was, again, in command of an 8-man patrol. He was awarded his first Bronze Star for his actions in a sniper attack. While investigating a suspicious Iraqi man, he insisted the 8 men stay at the vehicle. As he approached the Iraqi mans house, someone remote-control detonated an IED. He was killed instantly, but his 8 men were saved. They came home because of him. He was awarded his second Bronze Star and the Purple Heart posthumously. Over his 11 and a half-year career, he earned 34 medals, plus the two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. He also was awarded Jump wings from the British, the Belgians, the French, the Australians, and the Russian that he worked with in Bosnia.
Written by Mrs. Mary Johnson, Child Bryan Johnson
After graduating from boot camp, James went on to Marine combat training. His job was a 0411, maintenance manager specialist. After job school, he came down to orders at Camp Pendleton. Upon arrival to Camp Pendleton he was assigned to combat logistics. He did his first tour in Iraq from August 2006 to March 2007. After returning home in August 2007, he was told he was going back to Iraq in 2008. In October 2007 he started training as a humvee gunner and then deployed with CLB 1 security on February 13, 2008. On May 2, 2008, I was notified that James’ convoy collided with an IED that hit his humvee. The next day, on May 3, 2008, I was notified that he and three others were taken from us.
Written by Mrs. Amber Kimple, Children Malean and Drake Kimple
Bruce was successful in high school- valedictorian of his class, Varsity tennis player, Eagle Scout. He took this to college, and was named a Distinguished Graduate of his ROTC class, and selected as the Commanding Officer of his Squadron. He then took success to the Air Force, finishing at the top of his pilot training class- the only way to get an F-15 straight out of pilot training- finishing as Top Gun of his f-15 training class, and chosen as the one pilot from his wing in Japan to attend the prestigious Fighter Weapon’s School. After this newest graduation, Bruce again hit the ground running- he showed up at his new assignment, and tackled no only his new “Weapon Office” job, but flying and training as a part of a 5-man team who would represent he wing at the William Tell Competition, a workday that often saw the 20-hour mark, and left him eating dinner at his desk. The team won this competition; it was their second consecutive victory. Two years later, again with Bruce on the team, the team almost won a third time, a missile error being their only downfall. This fast-pace assignment earned Bruce an early promotion to Major, and much advice to go off and do a staff job. This would lead to another early promotion and a selection to be a squadron commander. Bruce was temped, since this was his dream job, but he turned it down. He wanted more time in the airplane, more knowledge to give to his squadron once he got command. He said, “I can’t imagine being a squadron commander knowing just what I know today about flying airplanes.” While he was probably more competent and knowledgeable than many squadron commanders ever get to be, he went off to learn more. He became an instructor if the F-15C Weapon School, the same school he was a student in just three years prior. The Fighter Weapon School gained a lot from Bruce- many of his colleagues asked for his expertise when writing, or rewriting, their course syllabus. Bruce knew so much, and was happy to stay late reviewing these books, his only goal to make the course more comprehensive for the new students. This extra effort led to him being selected as one of the initial cadre to learn how to fly the F-15E, and then come back to instruct at the Weapon School for this new aircraft. Again, the late nights started, with many new course books to be written. This aircraft, while similar to the F-15C, had many more roles, and new systems, that needed to be taught. This aircraft would take his life on August 10, 1992. On Bruce’s last flight, the aircraft went unstable. He thought he could recover the aircraft, like he had been taught, and worked feverishly to do this. He finally ejected, however it was too late to save his life. Bruce left behind a wife, two children, his parents, and a brother and sister.
Written by Mrs. Susan Hunter, Children Matthew and Amy Netardus
LCPL Tyler R. Overstreet was just 22 years old at the time of his death. He was killed on a fall day, in Iraq on October 23, 2006, just a month after his birthday, and three weeks after the birth of his son, Ashton Allen Overstreet. Tyler only got to see pictures of his son. He never got the experience of being a “daddy”; changing diapers, feeding him a bottle, rocking, or just knowing and playing with his child. He would have been a wonderful father because he loved children and often talked about having a son or daughter. That dream came true with Ashton, but he would never know Ashton, and Ashton would never know Tyler. We were told that upon hearing the news of Ashton’s birth, Tyler was so excited and so proud to be a father that he exclaimed “can you believe that?!”
Tyler was always meant to be a soldier. From the time he was three years old, he always talked about being in the armed forces. On his third birthday, his father, who was in the army, sent him a full army outfit. He wore it non-stop and played soldiers constantly. During grade school on into high school, his main goal was to graduate so he could join one of the branches of service. He graduated in May of 2004 from Gallatin High School and had already begun researching the possibilities for a future to serve his country. In 2005, Tyler was accepted into the Marine Corp, and went to Parris Island S.C. for his training. He graduated on September 23, 2006, his 21st birthday. He came home to work and join his Marine unit in Nashville, TN until his unit was asked to go to Iraq. Tyler volunteered! He wanted to serve his country. In June they all left for California for their training. He came home one last time for six days in August 2006 then left for Iraq. There just one month, his mother received the dreaded knock on the door with two Marines standing there. Now he would not be coming home.
Charles O. Palmer II was a great man; he loved any child as if his own, and was a good friend to anyone that knew him. He had been out of the USMC for four years while we were together. We miss his so much. It is coming up now to the three year mark of his death.
Written by Mrs. Tanya Palmer, Children Rebecca and Brenden Whitlow
I am a “GOLD STAR MOM” and I have a grand-daughter whose daddy passed away in 2005. Her name is Bridget Nicole Smith. Bridget’s birthday is May 24th, 2001. Every year Bridget has to spend yet another birthday without her father. Her daddy was Sgt. Donnie H. Smith Jr. and was stationed with the 267th National Guard military police company out of Dickson, TN. My son, Donnie, served 14 and a half months in Iraq. He came home and helped out on the Gulf with Hurricane Katrina and was home two days and was killed in a car wreck on September 25, 2005. My son was 33 years old – born June 29, 1978. Every year Bridget has a birthday without her daddy and I was hoping in some way you might consider adding her to The ASC Foundation.
Written by Mrs. Beverly A. Smith, Child Bridget Smith