Survivors recall soldier killed by Afghan bomb

March 01, 2009|By The Washington Post

Capt. Brian M. Bunting was a star athlete from Potomac, a West Point graduate, a man who could be serious and disciplined. But the first thing that hits you when looking through his pictures is the smile: A huge, toothy, goofy grin.

Bunting, 29, a member of the Individual Ready Reserve assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Syracuse, N.Y., was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday when a bomb exploded near his vehicle. Three other soldiers also died in the attack.

It was Bunting's first combat tour as a ready reservist, one of a pool of soldiers who have completed their service but remain available for call-up when needed. Since June, he had led a 15-man team training and advising the Afghan National Police.

"He's just a great guy," said his sister-in-law, Sue Bunting. "He just made everyone feel welcome and at ease."

In photographs, the stern expression of his official West Point portrait melts away, particularly in pictures he shares with his son, Connor, and wife, Nicole Pascal Bunting, whom he married in 2006. He last saw them in January, when he was on two-week leave.

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