Afghanistan war claims Alabamian
Published 4:13 pm Monday, June 1, 2009
Early last week, we received the tragic news that one of south Alabama’s own – U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Stratton – was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated as his convoy was passing.
Mark grew up in Foley and graduated from Foley High School. He received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps a year after his graduation from Texas A & M University.
His wife, Jennifer, and three young children are currently living in Washington, D.C. where he was assigned to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon before he was deployed to Afghanistan in November.
Mark was the commander of the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team, which was building a road to provide access to an isolated mountain region northeast of Kabul.
In conversations with his friends and family, it was mentioned time and again that Mark was someone who loved God, loved his family, and loved the Air Force, and he was someone who certainly loved the country he served until the very end.
A fellow Air Force officer and close friend described him as a superb but humble leader. Mark’s commendations include a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark’s family and friends during the coming days, weeks, and months as they grieve over the loss of their beloved Mark.
The loss of Lt. Col. Stratton – especially on Memorial Day – is a reminder that our men and women in combat are in constant danger, and we should keep them and all of our armed forces in our thoughts and prayers every day of the year.
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Jo Bonner serves as a member of the house of representatives.