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Army Pfc. Damian S. Bushart

Died November 22, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Waterford, Mich.; assigned to A Troop, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, based in Armstrong Barracks, Germany; killed Nov. 22 when a tank collided with his vehicle in Baghdad.

Family of soldier killed in Iraq recalls loving man

Associated Press

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Friends and family remembered Army Pfc. Damian S. Bushart as a loyal friend, loving husband and caring son and brother.

At Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, Bushart, who died Nov. 22 after a tank collided with his vehicle in Baghdad, was laid to rest Dec. 2.

“We have come here to bid farewell, and farewells are never easy,” the Rev. Lawrence J. Delonnay said. “And saying farewell to one who has died so young and so far away makes it that much more difficult.”

Bushart was assigned to A Troop, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division. He was given a full military burial.

Bushart was the 18th soldier with known Michigan ties, and the second from Oakland County, to die in Iraq.

He “was an outstanding person,” said longtime friend Chip Taylor. “I loved this guy. I’d do anything for him, and he’d do anything for me.”

His family’s military ties run deep. His father, John “Skip” Bushart, spent 33 years in the Air Force, including four years on active duty. His grandfather and great-uncle are World War II and Korean War veterans.

Bushart’s other survivors include his wife, Megan, son, Joshua, and mother, Pat McClatcher. He is also survived by an 18-year-old brother, Eric.

Delonnay said he believes Bushart was present with them at the funeral. While the honor guard tried to fold the flag, the flag kept unfolding itself.

“I think Damian ... had his hands in that,” Delonnay said. “You are grieving because you love. But Damian lives. He lives in our memories.”

Michigan soldier from Oakland County dies in crash in Iraq

A 22-year-old soldier from a Michigan military family was killed when a tank collided with his vehicle in Baghdad, the Department of Defense announced.

Army Pfc. Damian S. Bushart, of Oakland County’s Waterford Township, died Nov. 22. He was the 18th soldier with known Michigan ties killed in military operations in Iraq.

Bushart was assigned to A Troop, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.

John “Skip” Bushart said his son had been in Iraq for eight months after enlisting in the Army in August 2002. He learned of his death Sunday morning.

“We are a military family,” said Bushart, a recently retired Chief Master sergeant in the Air Force Reserves who lives in Waterford Township.

“Everybody has served in the military at some time.”

His son’s body was expected to arrive in the United States on Nov. 24, Bushart said.

Skip Bushart said his father and uncle served in World War II, and he served in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm.

Damian Bushart graduated from Our Lady of the Lakes high school in Waterford Township, where he played football. He also participated in the Civil Air Patrol.

“He was just a terrific kid, a wonderful son,” Bushart said. “I don’t know what else to say.”

His grandmother, Vivian Bushart, described him as a “very personable young man.”

Damian Bushart also is survived by an 18-year-old brother. His father said the brother likely would not be allowed to enlist as the lone remaining child in the Bushart family.

“I won’t go into the politics,” Bushart said. “We are warriors, we took an oath to follow our orders from the Commander and Chief and that’s what we do.”

— Associated Press

Memorial honors fallen Michigan soldier

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A memorial honoring a soldier killed in Iraq was dedicated on what would have been his 24th birthday.

The bronzed helmet and M-16 rifle atop a cement column unveiled Friday were part of the Lest They Be Forgotten project, which was started by a Florida man whose son was killed in Iraq in 2003. It aims to build memorials in every community that has lost a soldier.

“We weren’t going to sit around waiting for the government to build a memorial,” said Skip Bushart, the father of Pfc. Damian Bushart. “They had to wait 25 years for the Vietnam memorial. They had to wait more than 50 years for the World War II memorial.”

Damian Bushart was killed on Nov. 22, 2003, in Baghdad. His family held car washes and bowl-a-thons to help raise money for the memorial.

Family members sought help from business owners including Tom Taylor, who donated time, labor and food for spaghetti fundraising dinners held once a month for the past seven months.

“When he came into the restaurant, my heart just poured out to him,” Taylor said. “I started crying.”

— Associated Press

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