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Ronald Lloyd Burtsell

Home of record: Santa Monica California


Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Sergeant Ronald Lloyd Burtsell (MCSN: 1075210), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as First Sergeant of Company A, First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 23 August 1968, Company A was assigned to attack a large enemy force that occupied the Cam Le Bridge in Quang Nam Province. While advancing toward the objective along the eastern side of National Route One, First Sergeant Burtsell's platoon suddenly came under intense mortar, rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire from a large, well entrenched hostile force that wounded several Marines. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, First Sergeant Burtsell rapidly deployed his men into advantageous positions and immediately commenced to aid the injured men. Moving from one casualty to another, he skillfully treated the wounded Marines while ably directing the fire of his men. Establishing an effective base of fire, he fearlessly led his platoon in a determined assault against the enemy emplacements. Controlling and directing his Marines, he skillfully maneuvered them across the fire-swept terrain, delivering accurate suppressive fire upon the hostile force, which routed the enemy soldiers from their positions. Seizing the emplacements, he ably directed supporting arms fire upon the retreating hostile force, which enabled other elements to advance through the village of Cam Nam and continue toward the objective. Rapidly supervising the care and evacuation of the wounded, he then boldly led his men across an open area and assaulted the fortified positions of another large enemy force. Ignoring the hostile rounds impacting near him, he resolutely continued to advance, while ably directing accurate suppressive fire upon the enemy emplacements, and forced the hostile soldiers to flee in panic and confusion. His heroic and timely actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in his unit accounting for twenty-two enemy soldiers confirmed killed. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, First Sergeant Burtsell upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: August 23, 1968

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Sergeant

Company: Company A

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 27th Marines

Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF