Fallen Air Force weather officer's memory honored by run

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Memorial Day is an annual event where all Americans take time to remember those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

One Airman who took it even further this year was Maj. Ken Burton, 19th Expeditionary Weather Squadron director of operations.

Major Burton ran a 10-kilometer road race here May 30, in-conjunction with the Bolder Boulder, a road race held annually on Memorial Day in Boulder, Colo., to honor the memory of Capt. Nathan Nylander, a fellow Air Force weather officer who was killed in an attack at the Kabul International Airport on April 27.

"This year's Memorial Day had a significant meaning to me unlike those before," Maj. Burton said. "I wanted to honor Nate by running the Bolder Boulder here in Afghanistan."

Captain Nylander replaced Major Burton at his previous assignment with the 25th Operational Weather Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Az.

"In prepping Nate for the assignment I came to know him as a true professional, extremely prepared and most of all caring for the men and women under his supervision," Major Burton said. "Less than two years into his assignment he was asked to assist in establishing a military weather service for the rebuilding Afghanistan National Air Force. Nate proudly accepted this duty and served with privilege and honor."

It was serving in this capacity that Captain Nylander was killed. However, his impact continues to be felt throughout the Air Force weather community and the entire military.

"His loss was felt immediately across the globe," Major Burton said. "As a son, husband, father of three, friend and fellow Airman, his impact was realized even more."

As the days and weeks passed since Captain Nylander's passing, Major Burton continued to think about him and how he could properly honor his memory.

As the Bolder Boulder race approached, it seemed only natural.

"I (ran it) as Nate would have appreciated, in my combat uniform, boots and carrying my 40 pound ruck sack," Major Burton said.

While the healing continues for everyone who knew Captain Nylander, there's no doubt his memory will never fade.

"I have spent countless hours trying to rationalize Nate's untimely departure," Major Burton said. "In the end I am proud he served, honored to serve with him and will continue to fight for him."