Fallen Hero LTCL Kenneth D. Bourland, US Air Force

LTCL Kenneth D. Bourland

July 14, 1972 - January 12, 2010
US Air Force

Kenneth Dennis Bourland was born on July 14, 1972 in Birmingham, Alabama to Dennis and Adrienne Bourland. Ken was a 1987 Eagle Scout and later an Assistant Scout Master for Troop 14. He was the Cadet Commander one semester for his JROTC high school unit. By all accounts he was a very popular young man in high school with many achievements. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program at Samford University in Birmingham where he served as Cadet Commander.

His first assignment was as an Aviation Maintenance Officer at Eglin AFB. His squadron was deployed to Saudi Arabia during that time. He applied to pilot training and was accepted. He chose to fly Huey helicopters but held fixed wing, rotary and jet accreditations also. After flight training in Mississippi, Alabama and New Mexico, he was stationed in Minot, N.D. While serving with the 54th Helicopter Squadron in Minot his team won Best Helicopter TRF Response Crew in the Global Strike Challenge. He was selected as an exchange officer with the Marine Corps and was stationed at New River Air Station, Camp Le June, N.C. While there, he was deployed in 2004 with HMLA 157 to Iraq where he flew UH-1 Huey helicopters as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was notified of his promotion to Major while in Iraq.

Upon returning to the states he married Peggy Greer and they moved to F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His work there on helicopter tactics has been implemented into USAF training programs. He was selected to study for his second master’s degree at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA in 2008 where he was a distinguished graduate. After his graduation the family moved to Weston, FL where Ken served as a Caribbean desk officer with the U.S. Southern Command Headquarters in Miami, FL. He was on assignment to visit the Dominican Republic and Haiti where he was to have meetings with NGO and government officials. Kenneth was killed as a result of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake.Several military personnel were injured and Ken was the only American service member to die in that disaster. Teams searched for 28 days before his body was recovered.

Ken was notified of this promotion to Lt. Colonel the previous September and was to pin on the new rank the week after he returned from Haiti. His wife pinned on the rank of Lt. Colonel posthumously in a ceremony the evening before his memorial service.

In 2011, the trophy for Best Helicopter TRF Response Crew was named the Bourland Trophy in Ken’s honor and was won by his old squadron, the 54thfrom Minot in the Global Strike Challenge.

Citations for his many medals include: “His superb airmanship…….his decision making skills……his dedication ……helped to ensure Coalition Forces overwhelming victory……”

We are forever grateful to Kenneth and his beautiful family for their supreme sacrifice. (I have spoken to his mother a few times on the phone……What a lovely person!) Ken is dearly missed by his wife: Peggy; sons: Charley and Andrew; stepson: Chance; sister: Kellie; parents: Dennis and Adrienne; and many other relatives and friends. It was definitely my honor to do this painting of Kenneth.

Portrait sponsored by:
Mrs. Marlene Ploetz, St. Charles, MN, and Mrs. Isabelle Timm, Utica, MN