- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Spc. Justin L. Buxbaum
Died May 26, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
23, of South Portland, Maine; assigned to the 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood Texas; died May 26 in Kushamond, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related incident.
Maine soldier killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A 22-year-old soldier from Maine who completed two tours in Iraq has been killed by “non-combat” fire while serving in Afghanistan, his grandfather said Tuesday.
There was no official confirmation of the death of Spc. Justin Buxbaum, a 2004 graduate of South Portland High School.
Buxbaum’s grandfather, Donald Buxbaum of Chebeague Island, said Buxbaum’s mother, who moved to Georgia last summer, was told Monday that her son was killed by a gunshot to the abdomen in a “non-combat accident.”
Buxbaum’s death was first reported by South Portland High School Principal Jeanne Crocker, who got the news from a relative of Buxbaum who works for the school district.
Buxbaum joined the Army Reserve while in high school and was sent to Iraq for a nine-month tour soon after graduation, his grandfather said. He later enlisted in the regular Army, served another tour in Iraq and was deployed early last month to Afghanistan with the 62nd Engineer Battalion.
Two other South Portland graduates have died in fighting in Iraq. Marine Lance Cpl. Angel Rosa, 21, and Army Sgt. Jason Swiger, 24 were killed within two weeks of each other in March 2007.
Maine soldier laid to rest
The Associated Press
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A 22-year-old soldier who was killed last month in a non-combat accident in Afghanistan was laid to rest Tuesday with full military honors.
Gov. John Baldacci joined friends and family members at Holy Cross Church for the funeral of Army Spc. Justin Buxbaum, a 2004 graduate of South Portland High School.
Buxbaum, who was sent to Afghanistan in April after completing two tours in Iraq, was remembered as someone who put others first, was fond of children and hoped to go to college and become an elementary school teacher.
Buxbaum’s family learned of his death on Memorial Day.
Buxbaum’s mother, Julie Buxbaum, told WCSH-TV in Portland that the accident occurred when her son’s platoon returned from a three-day mission and his roommate entered the room after Buxbaum set a gun against the wall.
“The gun had been picked up,” she said. “I don’t know if it was Justin’s or his roommate’s. And when they went to put it down it was at an angle and hit the ground hard and discharged and went into my son’s lung. They said he was alive for a little while and talking to them and no more.”
Julie Buxbaum said she forgives the young soldier who caused the death and realizes that he must feel devastated.
She quoted her son as saying weeks before his death that conditions were worse than in Iraq and that food, water and other supplies were running low.
“It broke my heart,” she said, “because everything he’s doing over there, he shouldn’t have to worry about running out of things.”
Flags throughout Maine were lowered to half-staff to coincide with Buxbaum’s funeral.
Army Spc. Justin L. Buxbaum remembered
The Associated Press
Justin L. Buxbaum had talked about eventually becoming an elementary school teacher — and it showed.
“He was the kindest, most genuinely warm and loving young man,” said Laurie Wood, an aunt. “You’d have a family picnic, and he’d be the one playing catch with the little kids, and dragging three of them around on his shoulders.”
Buxbaum, 23, of South Portland, Maine, died May 26 in Kushamond in a non-combat-related incident. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
In high school, Buxbaum ran track, played football through his junior year and participated on the math team.
“Nothing would get him down. He’d be in here late in the afternoon working on something, and then be back early in the morning,” said Jeanne Crocker, his principal.
Buxbaum deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2005. He was driving a specialized armored vehicle called a Buffalo, searching for hidden bombs.
“It is a very rewarding feeling knowing that the job that we perform may save someone’s life so that they can go back home to their families,” Buxbaum said in an article then.
He is survived by his mother, Julie A. Buxbaum.