SALEM, Ore. – Marine Cpl. Adam J. Buyes of Salem died during combat in Afghanistan on Saturday, according to a news release by the U.S.Marine Corps.
The Department of Defense announced on Monday afternoon that he had been killed. Buyes, a field radio operator, joined the Marine Corps Jan. 12, 2009. He arrived on Okinawa Sept. 10, 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in May.
An initial news release only said he died during combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The military says the incident is under investigation.
His service awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Korean Defense Service Medal.
"Cpl. Adam Buyes was a truly dedicated professional who cared for his Marines as if they were brothers from the beginning," said 1st Sgt. Daniel J. Wilson, the battalion first sergeant. "He was often emulated and adored by many of the Marines he came in contact with. Cpl. Buyes was just one of those Marines that made being in Okinawa, Japan or deployed to Afghanistan better and more enjoyable for everyone."
KATU News talked with McKay High School head football coach Jay Minyard about his former student, who had visited the school recently while on leave from his tour of duty.
“He was an outstanding young man, great character, great work ethic, great attitude, very personable, well-liked by all his peers and his teachers and coaches,” Coach Minyard said of Buyes.
Minyard said he was very involved in high school sports, playing lineman both ways on the football team and running track. He was even a member of the bowling team.
“Any time you lose … a young man like that, it’s kind of rough,” Minyard said. “I know that we all know what’s going on over in the Middle East but it’s still devastating news that you lose someone that you are close to. So it’s been tough on everyone here at the McKay community.”
Coach Minyard said Buyes, who graduated in 2008, still has his name listed on weight room records plaques for efforts at the bench press and incline press.
“He was a die-hard Royal Scot,” Minyard said, referring to the school's mascot. “He came back just recently and spent a full day with us in the weight room and kind of worked out with some of the kids and showed them some of the training he received in the military and seemed to be very proud of what he was doing."
The world lost a “great young man,” Minyard said. “It’s a really sad deal.”
Minyard said he wasn’t surprised when Buyes announced he was going into the Marines. “He liked to be in the trenches and battle with other guys,” Minyard recalled of Buyes’ time on the football team where he played both offense and defense. “He liked mixing it up with guys a little bit.”
Minyard also called him a inspirational leader and said that he will miss him. He said Buyes was the first student that he knew that was killed while serving overseas.
The school was informed Monday of Buyes' death.
The 21-year-old Marine was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan.
Buyes' unit has planned a memorial service at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan Dec. 4, according to a press release.