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Air Force Capt. John J. Boria

Died September 6, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

29, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; assigned to the 911th Air Refueling Squadron, Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.; died Sept. 6 from injuries he received in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Doha, Qatar.

Air Force officer from Oklahoma killed in Iraq

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — An Air Force officer whose parents live in Broken Arrow has died in Iraq.

Capt. John J. Boria, 29, a graduate of Union High School in Tulsa, died Sunday. There have been conflicting reports on the cause and circumstances of his death.

John and Wanda Boria left for the Middle East shortly after learning of their son’s death, neighbors said. He also has a brother, Joe Boria, who is studying to become a minister at a Florida seminary, friends said.

Boria’s father works for American Airlines, and his mother is a nurse, said the Borias’ neighbor, Gayle Lewis.

John J. Boria was a loving son who “never gave his parents any problems,” Lewis said.

“He was a very nice young man — very intelligent. He was always there to help,” Lewis said.

Another neighbor, Lynne Caroon, said Boria was short and of slight build but still made the football team. A coach once said that he was the best player on the team “ounce for ounce. ... He had a great desire for the game,” said Caroon, whose son, Joe Caroon, also attended Union High School and was on the football team with Boria.

Boria graduated from Union High School in the early 1990s.

“I think his desire was always to go into the military,” Lynne Caroon said.

Boria was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

At least 20 people with direct ties to Oklahoma have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

— Associated Press

Oklahoma airman’s donated organs to help others

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — An Oklahoma airman is giving life to others in his death.

Capt. John J. Boria died Sunday from injuries he suffered Aug. 31 in a non-combat recreational vehicle accident in Doha, Qatar.

John X. and Wanda Boria, and their other son, Joey, were in Doha at the captain’s bedside when he died after having been kept alive on life support.

At the end of his life came the possibility that others’ lives might be extended: John J. Boria was an organ donor.

His kidneys were made available for other patients at the Hamad General Hospital in Doha.

Arrangements were made to fly his heart to Saudia Arabia, and plans were discussed on how to help others through his liver and other organs.

“We pray that his organs are functioning and giving life to others. Our son’s wish was to give life to other people,” Wanda Boria told the Tulsa World on Friday.

A memorial service has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Broken Arrow for the 1993 graduate of Tulsa Union High School.

“We are going to celebrate his life, not his death,” Wanda Boria said.

Following the service in Broken Arrow, Boria’s body will be taken to Colorado Springs, Colo., for burial Thursday in the cemetery at the Air Force Academy, where he graduated in 1998.

While at the academy, he and other classmates had a special inscription put inside their graduation rings.

“A friend that sticks closer than a brother,” it reads.

John J. Boria was a pilot and instructor for refueling missions flown in the Iraq war theater.

He was a member of the 911th Refueling Squadron from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., and was deployed to Qatar in June. He was scheduled to be home next week, his family said.

Boria was riding a recreational, all-terrain vehicle, accompanied by a friend on another vehicle, over sand dunes when the accident occurred.

The military is still investigating what happened, but it is believed that he suffered fatal wounds to an artery in his neck and to the head.

Wanda Boria, a registered nurse, said he received excellent care at the hospital, but his injuries and bleeding were severe.

Since his death, the family has received frequent letters, flowers, visits and prayer offerings, many from people they never knew before.

“We send them our heartfelt thanks,” she said. “We ask them to keep praying for the next few weeks, which will be very difficult.”

— Associated Press

Air Force officer killed in Iraq eulogized

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — The funeral of an Air Force captain, who put his loved ones, his country and the military before himself, had a fitting musical conclusion on Tuesday.

Family and friends of John J. Boria sang “God Bless America,” which relatives said mirrored his beliefs, after a service at the Broken Arrow Assembly of God.

Boria, 29, died Sept. 6 of injuries he suffered when a recreational all-terrain vehicle he was driving over sand dunes crashed near Doha, Qatar.

Boria will be buried in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy, from which he graduated in 1998.

“He never hesitated to put his life in harm’s way,” and he “was willing to lay down his life,” said Pastor Roger Nix.

The 1993 graduate of Union High School in Tulsa trained at Vance Air Force Base in Enid. He was an instructor and KC-135 pilot, and was a member of the 911th Refueling Squadron from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

Relatives planned to welcome Boria, who was deployed to Qatar in June, back home this week. Instead, they said goodbye.

Mementoes of Boria’s life flanked the flag-draped casket in the church.

Pictures showed him with his family and his Air Force buddies. His Air Force uniform, a cap with captain’s bars, flight boots and other personal items also were on display.

Boria’s life was “a light we are here to celebrate today,” the pastor said.

“God is the God of all comfort,” Nix told Boria’s parents, John X. and Wanda Boria, and his brother, Joe.

“God,” he said, “knows what it is like to lose a son.”

Boria was an organ donor and made it possible for people who were ill to live.

— Associated Press

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