U.S. Air Force Airman Remington Lamar Burnette, a Morganton native, will stand proud on the legacy of generations of military service in his family when he graduates from officer training school on Friday, May 31, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, to become a second lieutenant.

Remington’s grandfather, Fritz Lamar Burnette, was born in Burke County in 1923 and served his country during World War II with the U.S. Navy.

“His ship, the U.S.S. Rockwall, went to Japan to drop off troops, but returned home before anything happened,” said Yadira Burnette, Remington’s wife. “He spent most of his time guarding the U.S. coastal borders.”

After his military service, Fritz returned home and worked in construction. When he died this January, Remington took to Facebook to share how his grandfather inspired his own military career.

“Some of us have moments that define why we serve this great country and defend the Constitution,” Yadira read from his post. “These final weeks of officer training school have been about self-reflection and character building. The moment captured in this photo (of Remington receiving an American flag at Fritz’s funeral) is one that will forever define why I wear this uniform, and wear it proudly. We are losing one of the strongest generations to ever walk this earth, and one that sacrificed everything to ensure the belief in freedom and to provide safety to everything we stand for.

“As I was thinking about receiving my first salute as a commissioned officer in just a few short days, this salute is one that will forever be imprinted in my memory as one of the proudest moments in my life. My grandfather was a man that I aspired to be like every day of my life, and getting to serve and carry on his legacy is one of the most rewarding opportunities. I miss him dearly, and when things get hard, his memory is something that constantly makes me want to be better and to serve those around me the way he would have wanted me to. One of the best things he taught was to make sure that you’re making those around you better, and always lend a helping hand. If you have the ability to make someone’s life better, you have an obligation to do so. Never forget where you come from, and love life.”

Remington also has two uncles, Kenneth and Dean Burnette, who served in the military and provided role models for him, Yadira said. Dean followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy from 1969-73 during the Vietnam War and served as a radioman, third class. When he left the military, he became a drywall installer. He died in 2013.

Kenneth served in the U.S. Army from 1964-67 during the Vietnam War as an SP E-5 with the 1st Special Force Airborne. He worked in construction with his father upon returning home and later started his own construction company with a partner. He is retired and still lives in Burke County.

Remington graduated from Freedom High School in 2003 and enlisted in the Air Force in 2008, according to Yadira. He serves as a communications specialist, “establishing tactical satellite links to provide secure internet and telephone capabilities.” He was deployed to South Africa in 2012 on a presidential support mission, and to Niger, Africa, in 2018 as part of a special operations forces support mission. He earned a bachelor’s degree in IT management from American Military University in 2018 and graduated summa cum laude.

Remington has earned several awards for his service, including:

» Two Air Force Accommodation Medals

» Two Air Force Achievement Medals

» Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

» Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

» Air Force Good Conduct Medal

» National Defense Medal

» Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal

Following his officer training, he plans to attend the 315th Training Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas to study to become an intelligence officer.

Yadira asked Remington what Memorial Day means to him.

“Making the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedoms is a debt that can never be repaid,” Remington said. “I am forever grateful to those brave men and women that stood in harm’s way and ensured our way of life has been preserved. Their sacrifice has provided me the opportunity to serve this great country.”

Staff writer Tammie Gercken can be reached at tgercken@morganton.com.

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