Sergeant, U.S. Army
Company E, 3d Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade,
Date of Action: August 28, 1970


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Kenneth R. Burbank, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company E, 3d Battalion, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. Sergeant Burbank distinguished himself while serving as a reconnaissance team leader during combat operations in the Suoi Ca Valley on 28 August 1970. During the early morning hours on this date, the allied night defensive position was attacked by a large enemy force. In the ensuing engagement, an enemy hand grenade landed near Sergeant Burbank and another allied soldier. Reacting immediately, the sergeant grabbed the grenade and tossed it back toward the enemy. The grenade, however, detonated several meters in front of the sergeant and wounded him severely in the left arm. Ignoring his injury and fully aware of the impending ground assault by the enemy, Sergeant Burbank called for aerial illumination and directed helicopter gunship fire on the enemy. Moments later, an enemy white phosphorus grenade exploded inside the allied perimeter, showering Sergeant Burbank and several of his comrades with the burning chemical. Undaunted by his own burns, the sergeant ran to the aid of a fellow soldier and scraped the caustic substance from his comrade's body. With his team perilously low on ammunition as the enemy maintained close contact, Sergeant Burbank crawled in front of the allied perimeter and secured vitally needed grenades from the bodies of deceased enemy soldiers. Upon his return, the sergeant distributed the much needed grenades to his team members. Refusing to be evacuated and despite his severe wounds, he remained with his men to direct their defensive efforts until an allied relief force arrived. Sergeant Burbank's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 5305 (December 15, 1970)




DSC Awardees