Illustration by Art Seiden

Jewish Heroes and Heroines in America

World War II to the Present:


P. F. C. Stewart Burr: A Hero of Vietnam

by Seymour "Sy" Brody

Private First Class Stewart S. Burr of the United States Marines received the Silver Star Medal for his bravery in Vietnam. He was killed while bringing much needed supplies to his unit.

Burr was serving as a rifleman with Company E, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. Burr's squad was maneuvering to reinforce an adjacent unit which had become heavily engaged in battle with the enemy in the Cam Lo area on April 23,. 1969.

As his squad moved forward, it also fell under attack from a well entrenched enemy force in a bunker-complex. The enemy was using automatic weapons and mortar against Burr's squad, which was sustaining heavy casualties. The Marines fought back by firing into the enemy bunkers. Soon, the ammunition supply was nearly depleted. The squad could get more ammunition from an adjacent Marine squad. However, there was an open field between them which was being swept with enemy bullets.

Without regard for his own safety, Burr fearlessly dashed across the fire-swept terrain to the other unit to obtain a supply of ammunition. He started maneuvering back with precious supply of machine gun rounds when he was wounded by enemy fire. Ignoring his painful wounds, he continued moving forward with the ammunition. As he reached his unit, he was mortally wounded by grenade fragments.

His Silver Star Medal Citation issued by the President of the United States summed up his action: "His heroic and timely actions inspired all who observed him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his courage, bold initiative and unwavering devotion to duty, Private First Class Burr upheld the highest traditions of the Marine of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country."

Burr was raised in Passaic, New Jersey, where he graduated from Passaic High School. He was on the high school's track and cross country teams. He had been at college for two years when he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps to fight in Vietnam.

His family received the Silver Star Medal posthumously at a Passaic City Hall ceremony. Rabbi Solomon Weinberger of Tifereh Israel in Passaic remembered Burr as being a leader of youth who unselfishly gave of himself to help others. In addition to the Silver Star Medal, Burr received the Purple Heart Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the National Defense Medal.

Burr is one of the many Jews who have fought and died for this country. His name will always be among those of the Jewish heroes in America.

This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.

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