Wednesday, April 25, 2007

John Borbonus laid to rest

A 19-year-old Army paratrooper who died trying to save others as an explosives-laden truck raced toward him in Baghdad was hailed as a hero Monday at his funeral.

Maggie and Hans Borbonus, the parents of John Borbonus, wiped away tears as they accepted his Bronze Star for "heroic or meritorious achievement" during battle.

Nearly 1,000 people filled St. John's Cathedral for the funeral; several hundred followed to Cloverdale Memorial Park, where Borbonus was buried with full military honors.

According to military reports, Borbonus was working April 12 as a guard near a patrol base in south Baghdad and was manning a machine gun when a dump truck full of explosives sped toward the southern end of the base. Borbonus held his position and shot and killed the driver, saving many soldiers' lives, officials said. The bomb on the truck detonated and caused multiple buildings to collapse, according to Army reports. Another soldier also died when the truck bomb detonated, and seven paratroopers were injured.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter was among those in attendance Monday.

"I knew John since he was a little boy - he was a good person," Maria Lopez told the Idaho Statesman as she watched the crowd gather for the burial service. Her husband has worked with Borbonus' father for over a decade.

"I can't even imagine what it must be like for his parents," she said. "My son is 17, and he is going into the Navy when school is over. It's so difficult, because he really wants to serve his country and protect his family. But now, I am thinking, this could easily be my son."

Borbonus, a 2005 Boise High School graduate, had been in Iraq for about a year.

"Things have been rough here, but I should be able to make it out without too much difficulty," he wrote to his aunt, Heidi Borbonus, who read from the letter at the service.

From the Olympian

Related Link:
John Borbonus reported killed in Iraq