Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SSgt Michael Stratten, United States Air Force

Michael Stratten was born October 11, 1981 at Pocatello, Idaho and passed away at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19, 2011, at the age of thirty.

Michael was on active duty with the United States Air Force at the time of his passing.

Michael's remains were flown to Austin, Texas on October 25. In attendance at the Austin-Bergstram Airport were the Patriot Guard Riders, who formed a honor line on the tarmac as the chartered aircraft arrived. The flag draped casket was removed from the aircraft by an Air Force Honor Guard and transferred to the waiting hearse. The Riders then escorted the hearse, in a motorcade, led by Austin Police Motor Officers to Killeen, Texas.

As the motorcade entered the city of Killeen, Killeen Officers halted all traffic on the highway at the Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home. At the funeral home were more Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags along the highway to honor SSgt Michael Stratten.

Six of the Riders, acting as pall bearers, removed the flag draped casket from the hearse and carried it into the funeral home.

On November 2, a funeral service was held for Michael. Present at the funeral home were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to welcome the arriving family and friends. At the conclusion of the service, the Riders led the funeral procession to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, located on a gently sloping hillside, just south of Killeen.

At the cemetery fifty American flags blowing briskly in the southerly wind, lined the roadway in front of the committal shelter. Also present was the Air Force Honor Guard and an Air Force Color Guard. After the casket was moved from the hearse to the shelter, the Patriot Guard Riders formed a line of flags around three sides of the shelter.

Full military honors were rendered by the Honor Guard. The detail of seven rifles fired three rounds of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country. The bugler played taps. The flag that draped the casket was folded into the traditional triangle. It, and a second folded flag, were simultaneously presented to Michael's mother, Velta, and his dear wife, Stephanie, who held their infant son, on behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force and a grateful nation as thanks for Michael's faithful and dedicated service.

The service concluded with the release of balloons by children of the Stratten family.

SSgt. Michael Stratten was then laid to rest, as the American flag flew at half-staff in his honor at the top of the hill.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, his son, his parents, a sister, his grand-parents, and numerous other dear family, friends and fellow airmen.

With thanks to the Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home for biographical information.

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