More detail on this person: Soldiers and airmen from Fort Rucker were on hand to help Wiregrass resident Linda Burch say a final goodbye to her husband of 56 years, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen A. Burch, a Vietnam veteran and former Army UH-1 "Huey" helicopter pilot, in a small ceremony near Samson on Nov. 21. Burch served in the Army from 1965 to 1969. His last work location while on active duty was at Fort Rucker. During the Vietnam era, the site where Burch worked was used to conduct tactical instrument training, tactical field training and landing zone operations, according to Bob Mitchell, U.S. Army Aviation Museum director. Today the site is part of the U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) School, which aviators must complete. Linda felt it was fitting to spread her husband's ashes there. After separating from the Army, Burch completed a career in civil service. He died in 2021. Burch's ashes, along with a folded American flag, arrived via a Huey flown by the 23rd Flying Training Squadron, U.S. Air Force, which is based at Cairns Army Airfield, for a formal handoff to Army SERE School personnel to conduct a brief memorial ceremony. Capt. Deron R. McDaniel, chaplain for 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, provided remarks, a prayer and Scripture reading, and Taps was played. "His life was characterized by love for his country," McDaniel said during the eulogy. "This place was very special to him. Today we honor his life." Linda contacted the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence earlier in the year with a request to spread her husband's ashes at the last place he had served as a soldier and Army aviator. When Maj. Nick Barwikowski, commander of the U.S. Army SERE School at Fort Rucker, learned of the request, he coordinated the small ceremony and reached out to the Air Force about the requested final flight for Burch in a Huey. "We just feel honored that we could honor a service member," said Barwikowski. As Linda looked out over the field where her late husband had worked, she said it gave her goosebumps. "It was kind of hard leaving him out there, but I think he's where he needs to be. I'm elated because it's not just chaos out here, and I think he needed that in his life and his death," Linda said. "It's wonderful," she said. "I thank all of you."
This information was last updated 12/14/2022
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Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023
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