National Guardsmen honored in Newburgh

Two Air National Guardsmen who made the ultimate sacrifice were honored in Newburgh Saturday.



The families, friends and fellow airmen of Tech Sgt. Joseph Lemm and Staff Sgt. Louis Bonacasa gathered at the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base for a ceremony honoring the fallen defenders.



"Their children are still very young and we want to make sure they know their fathers were heroes," says Keith Givens, commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.



Lemm and Bonacasa were posthumously awarded various commendations, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals.



In December, they and four other airmen were killed in Afghanistan after a suicide bomber ambushed their patrol.



Lemm and Bonacasa shielded their team members and took the brunt of the blast.



"Their kids someday will look at those medals, read the citations and say, 'I am extraordinarily proud of my dad,'" says Brigadier Gen. Timothy LaBarge.



A plaque honoring Lemm, who lived in West Harrison, will be dedicated at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on Monday. Sgt. Bonacasa was from Long Island.


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