Ken Bourland was born on July 14, 1972, in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at Samford University in Birmingham. He went on active duty in the U.S. Air Force on February 15, 1995. Lt Bourland attended the Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course at Eglin AFB, Florida, from February to June 1995, and then served as an aircraft maintenance officer with the 33rd Maintenance Squadron at Eglin AFB from February 1995 to February 1996. His next assignment was as a Sortie Generation Flight Commander with the 59th Fighter Squadron at Eglin AFB from February 1996 to December 1997, followed by Helicopter Undergraduate Pilot Training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from December 1997 to December 1999. Capt Bourland served as a UH-1N Iroquois pilot with the 54th Helicopter Flight at Minot AFB, North Dakota, from December 1999 to August 2003, and then participated as an exchange pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a UH-1N pilot with Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, from August 2003 to July 2005. During this time, Maj Bourland deployed with the squadron to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from February to August 2004. His next assignment was as Chief of Helicopter Tactics with Headquarters 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, from July 2005 to May 2007, followed by an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his master's degree in intermediate developmental education at the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from May 2007 to December 2008. Maj Bourland's final assignment was as the Caribbean desk officer with Headquarters U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida, from December 2008 until he was killed in the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. His remains were recovered from the hotel he was staying at in Port-Au-Prince on February 7, 2010, and he was buried at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama. Ken Bourland was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
The Citation for his 5 Strike/Flight Air Medals reads:
For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot of a UH-1N Huey while attached to Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 21 February 2004 to 15 August 2004. In the successful completion of numerous combat missions in Iraq, his efforts directly contributed to the success of national objectives in the area of operations. During one of history's most successful military campaigns, his dedication to mission accomplishment, decision making skills and flying abilities helped to ensure Coalition Forces' overwhelming victory against the enemy. By his superb airmanship, perseverance, and loyal devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions, Captain Bourland reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Air Force.
The Numeral "5" to represent Five Strike/Flight Awards is authorized.