Reading the description of Burton’s actions was an alarming and moving experience for his parents, Tim and Renae Burton.
“It was hard to read as a dad that someone was looking down a gun barrel at your son,” said Tim Burton.
Burton describes his son as very humble and modest. He did not know about his son’s heroic actions until Pendleton contacted him in need of pictures of the soldier.
“What did he do?” Burton asked Pendleton. He said his son would have never told him the full story.
“There is no flamboyant side to Spencer Burton,” Tim Burton said. “To him, he was just doing his job. He sees no more gallantry in what he did than the guy at the shop mounting four tires,” Tim Burton said.
He also said his son is a country boy.
“He grew up on beans and greens and cornbread. Not because that’s all he had, but that’s what he liked,” Burton said. “When he’s off duty, he has his overalls on.”
Burton said he was surprised when his son announced he was going to be a combat medic, because he said Spencer is mechanically inclined.
“When he was 17, he could change the engine in a car, with nobody teaching him,” Burton said.
However, he was not surprised by his son’s actions on that day in Afghanistan.
“He has nerves of steel,” Tim Burton said. “If you ever want to eat crow, tell Spencer Burton he can’t do something.”
Spencer Burton is stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he lives with his wife Britney Jackson Burton. They found out just last week they are expecting their first child.
Tim and Renae Burton will travel to Fort Campbell for an award ceremony on Nov. 7 to see their son receive his award.
Pendleton said there were 40 to 50 applicants for the Angels of the Battlefield awards, with 25 selected nationwide. Burton was one of two awardees selected for his brigade.