North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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October 16, 2013

Former Corner resident to receive "Angels of the Battlefield" award

PFC Spencer Burton tended to wounds of two others while under enemy fire

A former Corner resident is being honored next month for putting his life in danger to save others on a far-away battlefield.

U.S. Army Pfc. Spencer Burton, 22, who graduated from Corner High School in 2009, is receiving an Angels of the Battlefield award, sponsored by the Armed Services YMCA. The award recognizes combat medics who show outstanding bravery.

“He, without thinking of his own safety, attended to the needs of two soldiers while firing back at the enemy and was able to treat their wounds,” said Kelli Pendleton, who is on the Armed Services YMCA board and was part of the selection process.

The incident for which Burton is being awarded happened on April 23. Burton, the platoon medic for 3/B/1-87IN, and his platoon were under heavy fire in Paktya Province, Afghanistan.

The platoon was separated into three positions of six soldiers each, spread across 700 meters. All three positions were receiving direct and indirect fire from multiple directions, according to the nomination application.

During the firefight, the company commander received a gunshot wound to the upper left chest. A few moments later, a rifleman who was 500 meters from Burton received a gunshot wound to the right thigh.

While returning fire to the enemy, Burton dressed the commander’s sucking chest wound within three minutes while under heavy enemy fire.

When the 3/B/1-87IN found a secure location and reorganized, Burton treated the rifleman. He then prepared both soldiers for medical evacuation.

Then, while still under direct fire, Burton moved into the open to conduct a handover of the casualties to a helicopter crew.

“We were looking for someone who showed courage and bravery on the combat field in an effort to save someone else’s life,” said Pendleton. “Spencer Burton definitely did that, in a situation where his unit was under attack.”

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