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Senior Airman Ashton Goodman and Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton
Senior Airman Ashton Goodman and Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton atop "Lion Hill" behind their Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan May 24, 2009. Colonel Stratton served as the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's commander while Airman Goodman spent the majority of her deployment as the Panjshir PRT's primary tactical driver and usually served as the commander's driver. Both Airmen lost their lives May 26 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. The road rededication in honor of Colonel Stratton will be March 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran)
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Fallen warrior still paving the way

Posted 3/21/2011   Updated 3/21/2011 Email story   Print story


by David R. Hopper
55th Wing Public Affairs

3/21/2011 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb.  -- In a ceremony here March 24 at 2 p.m., Offutt Airmen will rededicate a road to honor and remember Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton, who was killed when a suicide car bomber detonated an improvised explosive device alongside a convoy north of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2009.

The ceremony will take place on the corner of SAC Boulevard and what is currently known as Looking Glass Avenue. The main speaker for the event will be Lt. Col. Brian A. Humphrey, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron commander.

"The dedication of an Offutt road and a heritage room in honor of Lt. Col. Mark Stratton is the least we can do to honor a fallen warrior and friend," said Colonel Humphrey. "Mark was an inspiration to all who knew him."

Colonel Stratton held a variety of positions within the 55th Wing while assigned from 1996 to 2002. As a senior navigator, instructor and evaluator on RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft for the 45th RS, he amassed more than 1,400 flying hours during his career, including 26 combat hours. Colonel Stratton served as the 55th Wing executive officer and eventually served as aide-de-camp to the deputy commander of United States Strategic Command during its major post 9-11 mission transition.

Maj. Jason C. Scott, chief of training for the 451st Flying Training Squadron, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., was a close personal friend of Colonel Stratton.

"It's great to see Offutt recognizing Mark this way" said Major Scott. "It is evident that the 55th cares for its own, and I am glad to see the 55th Wing dedicate a street in honor of a great father, husband and friend."

"This is our own humble way of letting others know what he sacrificed in defense of our freedom and how important he was to all of us," said Colonel Humphrey.

Colonel Stratton is survived by his wife, Jennifer, their three children, and his mother, stepfather and brother.

"Those who knew Mark know how much he loved his family, God, serving his country, Texas A&M, being a member of the 55th Wing and flying with the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron," said Major Scott. "I think it says a lot about Mark that those who served with him loved him enough to honor him this way."

Colonel Stratton's spirit was evident in the last email he sent to his mother, when he described his job leading reconstruction efforts - helping people, rebuilding roads and schools - as the best thing he'd ever done.

Colonel Stratton was honored in a memorial service and laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., on June 9, 2009, with full military honors.

All Department of Defense ID cardholders are welcome to come to this event and pay tribute to an Airman who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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