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Faces Bio

STEWART S BURR

STEWART S BURR - PFC

  • HOMETOWN:
  • passaic
  • COUNTY:
  • Passaic
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • May 31, 1948
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • April 23, 1969
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Marines
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Stewart S. Burr was born on May 31, 1948, to Sheila and Jack Burr. His home of record is Passaic, NJ. Stewart had one sister named Renee Raskin. He attended Passaic High School before entering the US Marine Corps. He was a member of the Passaic High School Cross Country Team.

He served in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Division. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

He was killed in action on April 23, 1969.

On December 5, 1968, I received a letter from Stewart Burr who was serving in Vietnam with the 3rd Division, USMC.

It would later be reported that Stewart made the supreme sacrifice by giving his life in defense of his country in a place called Vietnam.

I first met Stewart in 1964, when he became a member of the Passaic High School cross-country team of which I served as head coach.

As I recall, Stewart was very proud to be a part of the squad and enjoyed the camaraderie that went along with team participation. What he lacked in natural running talent he more than made up for in hard work, tenacity, determination and a desire to finish whatever task he undertook.

Stewart was always respectful, never complained, was somewhat shy and had a dry sense of humor that we all could enjoy.

In his letter to me (12/5/68) he stated that "the 9th Marines is one hell of an outfit" and in the past had been in some heavy fighting. He also said that "the weather was the hottest I can ever recall."

He concluded by writing "if anyone back home wants to complain about his food, his clothes, or the house he lives in, let him, come here for awhile, and when he goes home he will never complain again."

His last sentence was, "take care and good wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Written by Larry Cirignano
Cross Country Coach, Passaic High School

The following excerpt is taken from Jewish Heroes & Heroines in America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism 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 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 Marines of the United States Naval Service. He gallantry 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 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.

Sources: Herb and Renee Burr Raskin (sister and brother-in-law), Larry Cirignano (coach) and NJVVMF.

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