Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dominican Patriot, War Veteran and Civic Hero

The news this morning of the death of my friend and former employer Allan Buntin comes as a shock. Of interest was a remark yesterday by Karol Phillip that there may be a military funeral on Dominica soon. He had made that remark to me when I referred to Alan in a conversation when I asked where we could get acid for batteries and Karol said - maybe Martinique. That was strange that we would have to go to Martinique now for acid, as we used to make battery acid at Alan's firm, Smith & Lord, back in 1976. Now this news.

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At February 24, 2008 9:32 AM , Anonymous Colonel Eddy Charles said...

At this sad time of loss, I extend my condolences and that of my family to his wife and family and those in the Rotary Club of Dominica who worked with him on so many projects.

Gabriel, I was just trying to reach you by cell from Afghanistan. This news means a lot to me. My sincere condolences to the Buntin family on the passing of Allan. Here goes one of my most inspiring personalities for this extensive military career I enjoy today. Small world!!!

As a young cadet, one of my closest buddies was Allan's youngest brother, John Buntin. Yes indeed, they lived in Emshall, what is now Bath Estate Village, in only one of a couple houses I knew in that area back then, having left Dominica in July 1970 from Sixth Form in DGS.

John and I were in the Royal Army Cadets of the SMA, then led by another Cadet Lieutenant Buntin. I remember when Allan left Dominica, headed to the U.S. Army Draft. John and I discussed that issue at the time over home work.....yes, I'd meet John at Emshall to study and do homework together.

I also remember a sister then. John and I always talked about military service and the War in Vietnam. Volunteering to the U.S. Army Draft in Oct 1971, I just barely missed the Vietnam orders because of French linguistic skills which landed me instead at NATO HQs in Belgium and eventually on to Germany.

Allan's departure for the U.S. Army was supposedly to maintain his U.S. Citizenship. Up to now, I had no idea he was actually born on Dominica. I hope I am not confusing the older brothers. Always thought he was born stateside. I guess he was entitled to citizenship since, like my own son, he was born of American parents while overseas. Anytime I've talked about ever being shot at, I recall Allan, with that rifle there in Emshall, whether practicing his marksmanship skills for Vietnam, shooting at John and I in the lime fields of Emshall.

Hell, as young cadets, we'd duck and low crawl for more than 25 meters in the underbrush, trying to get out of range. We always low crawled away from him and then across, as we heard the bullets ripping through the leaves and brush above our heads. Oh yes, indeed, just the thought of being shot created heat around me, and John and I low crawled for our lives.

Allan's deep blue eyes would spell death to me, when I looked into them. I never knew when the guy was joking. He surely gave us a feel about being in the actual jungle combat environment. That definitely prepared me for Basic Training.

Ironically, John and I would double back to the house, tired and hungry, clothing stained green with vegetation after having crawled around, and settle for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We did that for many late afternoons or evenings as I can remember, then hurried to make it back to SMA in time for Study Hall at 7:00 PM.

Since leaving Dominica, I've heard nothing of any of the Buntins until this message. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of John Buntin, please offer him this email address so that we can recapture youthful days as Cadets. Again, my sincere condolences to Allan's family.

At March 27, 2008 4:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is to Colonel Eddy Charles. My name is SFC (ret) john Bunting. I have been reading about you on this web site. I had no idea that you knew my family so well. Please accept my apology, but it has been at least thirty years since i have been to Dominica. I spent 20 years in the Army and was tied up in my career. still that is no excuse for not going back to the place of my birth.I remember a lot of growing up in Dominica and how beautiful it is.Small world!!! you can say that again.I know that there are Dominicans serving in the US Army and did not know there was a Colonel.I think there is a 1SGT out there some where.I would like to hear from you to share our thoughts. If you happen to get on this site my mail is [email protected]


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