Senior Airman Alan Bufala, Tactical Air Control Party Airman with the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, died on Sunday, June 2 as a result of an off-duty vehicle mishap in Ewa, according to military officials.
The 25th ASOS is part of the 1st Air Operations Support Group under the leadership of the 354th Fighter Wing.
Senior Airman Bufala, 21, was stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield.
Bufala lived in Waipahu. Investigators say he lost control of his vehicle near the intersection of Iroquois Road and West Lock Drive. Witnesses saw his car roll several times. Police believe Bufala may have been speeding.
Bufala deployed in 2011 to Regional Command-East, Afghanistan, for a 6-month tour. While engaged in the most kinetic and violent period of his deployment, he volunteered to extend another six months.
Military officials say his combat performance during numerous firefights led to his selection as Pacific Air Forces' 2011 Radio Operator Maintainer and Driver of the Year and PACAF's nominee for the Losano Award for the USAF's most outstanding TACP member.
"I met Senior Airman 'Buffy' Bufala at Wheeler AAF in 2012, and as we set out with the 25th ASOS Bushmasters for a hike amongst the hills of Leeward, Oahu," said Brig. Gen. Mark D. Kelly, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing. "Although it was workout for me, Senior Airman Bufala was rucking with 50 pounds less gear and 5,000 feet less elevation than his Operation Enduring Freedom standard -- so it was a leisurely stroll for him and the other TACP members. He was immensely proud of his profession, his unit, his Air Force and his nation. At age 21, this AF combat veteran possessed natural leadership, talent and maturity beyond his years and rank."
Bufala will be honored at a 25th ASOS/Wheeler AAF memorial on June 10 and buried June 14 at Southern Nevada Veteran's Cemetery with full military honors.
Senior Airman Bufala grew up in an Air Force Family then joined the AF TACP family.