Louis Bonacasa was born on October 7, 1984 in East Patchogue, New York. Even at a young age, caring for others came naturally to him as he helped raise his younger brother and twin sisters. He was the conduit between his three siblings and parents. They were a very close-knit family and everyone looked up to him.
Louis was a graduate of Newfield High School, Class of 2002. At 17 years old and two days after his graduation, with his parents’ permission he enlisted Active Duty in the Air Force. The events of 9/11 strongly contributed to his decision to join the military. He was stationed at Hill AFB, Utah for 4 years where he met his wife, Deborah, who is also a Veteran. They were married in 2004 and six years later they had their first child, Lilianna. Louis excelled at his job as an Emergency Actions Controller and quickly became recognized. He was promoted to Senior Airman Below the Zone for performing duties above expectations amongst his peers, and also Airman of the Quarter by a panel of high-ranking officials. In 2008 he re-enlisted as Security Forces in the New York Air National Guard with the 106th Rescue Wing. Louis learned of the unique and challenging mission at the 105th Base Defense Squadron. He wanted to be part of a team of passionate defenders that embraced the concept of leading from the front and acknowledged the risks. In 2010, he joined the 105th Airlifting Wing and became a Defender of the 105th Base Defense Squadron in which he was so proud to be part of a strong brotherhood.
He served four tours between Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan that proved a reputable track record of his exceptional performance in challenging leadership positions. Many of the younger Airmen looked to him for guidance and he didn’t hesitate to help others. Amidst his wide-range of impressive experiences and accomplishments, he will be remembered for his keen sense of humor and striking personality. Not only did Louis look to serve his country but he also wanted to make a lasting and positive impact. He was a dedicated and skilled Airman, and most importantly, a loving family man. Louis always tried to find ways improve himself as a person and to ensure a bright future for his daughter. So he enrolled in classes at Suffolk County Community College in the summer of 2015 for the Dietetic Technician program. He wanted to learn more about nutrition and help people take control of their health by making better food choices. He was a good student with a GPA of 3.5. English was his favorite class and he was an excellent writer. On May 2015 he was awarded The Harry Crooke Award for the essay he wrote called “Back in the Sandbox.” After college one of his plans was to open up his own business as a private nutritionist and also write a non-traditional cookbook. Despite all his achievements, he remained humbled. Louis was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was worth listening to or he made you laugh out loud. He lived each day by the values he held close to his heart: work hard to play hard, and cherishing family and friends because they are everything.
While on his last and final deployment to Afghanistan in the Bajawri village he distinguished himself by heroism as
the Tactical Security Element Truck Commander. While conducting outside the wire human intelligence operations,
a suicide bomber positioned his explosive laden motorcycle 15 feet of both security teams. With selfless disregard for
his own personal safety he placed himself between his fellow team members and the terrorist’s motorcycle. As SSgt
Bonacasa maneuvered into a tactical security fighting position the suicide bomber cowardly detonated his deadly
explosive. His incredibly heroic positioning resulted in his selfless exposure to the brunt of the deadly blast that
safeguarded two of his fellow team members and ensured the survival of a fellow defender.
Louis received the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, and made an Honorary Air Force Office of Special
Investigations Special Agent.