SSG Daniel D. Busch–known as “Rambusch” to his high school buddies from Portage Senior High School–took leave to visit his mother in Barabou, Wisconsin. He had a heart-to-heart talk with her to explain that his unit, Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., was being deployed on a mission.
“He told me his unit was going someplace later that summer, but he couldn’t say where,” his mother, Virginia Johnson, says. “He just told me not to worry. He said, `I know this job is dangerous, but remember that it keeps me close to God. A Christian soldier is just a click away from heaven in this type of work.” Virginia Johnson says she understood. “He was always trying to reassure us, because he could never tell us exactly what he did,” she says. After that talk, they went fishing, something Busch always looked forward to. That visit was the last time Virginia Johnson saw her son. The 25-year-old light weapons infantry specialist was killed Oct. 3 in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the bloodiest single battle for American troops since Vietnam.
The Army posthumously awarded Daniel Busch the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. A combat veteran of Operation Just Cause in Panama, he received other awards during his seven-year Army career, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and National Defense Medal. But family members and close friends all say Daniel Busch got his real reward when he took his last breath: The opportunity finally to meet God, someone Busch spent a lot of time talking to.
Daniel Busch joined the Army right out of high school in 1986. Something about serving God, country and fellow man appealed to him, his mother says. But he was still planning on getting out in September 1995. His wife, Traci Busch, 23, says that her husband wanted their 14-month-old son, Mitchell, “to grow up in an atmosphere that had nothing to do with the Army and the constant deployments and moving around.”
In a letter to his son, dated Sept. 29, Daniel Busch talked of his desire that is son grow up to be a man of morals and values. “It’s very important for you to grow up to be a Christian,” he wrote. “Listen to your mother.”
The family has established a scholarship fund for students who want to pursue a career in conservation. For information, write Virginia Johnson, 707 7th Street, Barabou, WI 53913.