‘Every Member of the Air Force Feels It’: Air Force Commander ‘Mourns’ Death of Airman Who Self-Immolated

Aaron Bushnell
Aaron Bushnell/LinkedIn

The Air Force commander of a radical far-left airman who self-immolated while wearing his military uniform in front of the Israeli Embassy as part of a political statement to protest Israel’s war against Hamas released a statement on Monday saying his unit was mourning his death, calling it a “tragedy.”

She also said they were sending “thoughts and prayers” to his family.

Air Force Col. Celina Noyes, commander of the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, said in a sympathetic statement headlined “70th ISRW mourns loss of Airman”:

When a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the Air Force feels it. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senior Airman Bushnell. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.

The statement characterized his suicide as an “incident” and claimed that details surrounding his death are under investigation.

The statement said Bushnell was a senior airman and cyber defense operations specialist with the 531st Intelligence Support Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas, who had served on active duty since May 2020.

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday at a press conference, “It certainly is a tragic event, we do extend our condolences to the airman’s family.”

Before lighting himself on fire, Bushnell said in a live stream:

My name is Aaron Bushnell. I am an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all.

Since Bushnell self-immolated, more details have come out about his radical far-left background.

Bushnell, who reportedly posted on Reddit as “acebush1” and called himself a “Student of Anarchism,” had defended Hamas’s terrorist attack in southern Israel on October 7, which killed more than 1,200 people, many of them women, children, and the elderly.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Horror of the Hamas Terror Attack on Civilians at Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel

Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart News

He posted on Reddit, according to researcher Kyle Orton, “Israel is a white supremacist, ethnonationalist, settler-colonial apartheid state. It was created by the UK 75 years ago and is propped up by US support. It has no right to exist.”

He also defended Hamas’s murder of innocent civilians, including young women attending a music festival during the terrorist attack. He posted, “…those people’s fun at the music festival was specifically built on Palestinian suffering. There are no innocent civilians in [settler] colonialism. Being a settler is inherently violent.”

According to Rebel News, a video of Bushnell’s self-immolation was posted on his Facebook page, along with the caption, “Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.”

He also reportedly sent an email to fellow anarchists the morning of his self-immolation that said:

Today, I am planning to engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people. The below links should take you to a livestream and recorded footage of the event, which will be highly disturbing. I ask that you make sure that the footage is preserved and reported on.

According to National Public Radio, Bushnell had volunteered with the San Antonio Care Collective to offer support to the homeless, developing “deep friendships with people living in encampments.” Bushnell would regularly purchase blankets, sweaters, and snacks from a store on base to give out, the report said.

Bushnell created a will he reportedly shared with close friends as well as instructions on how to care for his cat.

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