Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Kent Baer Burns, 75, of 101 Mourning Dove Lane, Goldsboro, died Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at Duke Hospital in Durham. Col. Burns was born in Pomona, Kan. on March 23, 1938, to the late Ernest Alexander and Fern Baer Burns. He graduated from Emporia State University with a B.S. in Business and the University of Arkansas with a M.S. in Management.
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Col. Burns joined the United States Air Force in 1962, retiring in 1989. As a Master Navigator, Instructor and Staff Officer, he logged 3,758 flying hours in the B-52 Bomber and F-111 Fighter planes, with 996 combat hours during the Vietnam Conflict. During his 27 years of service in the Air Force, he also served as an Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander, Chief of Safety at the Tactical Air Command Headquarters, Chief of Aircraft Maintenance Training, and Assistant Chief of Aircraft Maintenance. Throughout his career, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Combat Readiness Medal with two oak leaf clusters. Col. Burns was stationed at bases in many locations including North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Virginia, Nevada, Montana, California, Alabama, England, Okinawa, Guam, Korea, and Thailand.
After retiring from the Air Force, Col. Burns worked for the North Carolina Employment Security Commission in Greenville as a District Veterans Representative and Assistant Office Manager. He retired from the State after 20 years of service in 2010. He was a member of Adamsville Baptist Church where he served in various capacities. Col. Burns enjoyed wood working and gardening and spending time with his pets, friends and family. The apple of his eye was his granddaughter, Maureen.
Col. Burns is survived by his wife of 45 years, Bonnie Boyd Burns; daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Sean McWhorter; and granddaughter, Maureen McWhorter.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two brothers.
The family will receive friends at the Burns home following the graveside service to be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Wayne Memorial Park, 2925 US Hwy. 117 S, Goldsboro. Flowers are welcome as well as remembrances to the Wounded Warrior Project or the
Services entrusted to Howell Funeral Home & Crematory in Goldsboro.
Light a candle at www.howellfuneral.com.
Published in The Daily Reflector on Aug. 23, 2013