Donald D. Burris, Jr.
Donald D. Burris, Jr. was born on December 26, 1946 and graduated from Radnor High School in 1965. He was a busy student. In addition to attending classes, he was a member of the football team, the editor on the school newspaper club, and a member of the golf team. He also became class treasurer and was a Boy Scout. In the school yearbook, he was voted most likely to succeed.
Despite planning to become an engineer after graduating from Northwestern University, Mr. Burris was drafted into the U.S. Army at the start of the Vietnam War. In the army, he trained to become a Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot. He flew a UH-1Z roquors, also called a Huey.
After serving his required year of service, Mr. Burris decided to serve his country for a second tour. It was December 1969, and President Lyndon B. Johnson was expanding secret campaigns in Cambodia and Laos.
It was on one of these missions where Mr. Burris sadly met his fate. On December 22, an infantry detachment in Cambodia requested air support. Mr. Burris and his crew successfully responded and provided assistance, but on the way back their helicopter suffered a mechanical malfunction and crashed into the jungle. Mr. Burris and several other crew members survived the fall. A rescue helicopter arrived, but because of the dense jungle it had to lower ropes with McGuire rigs attached. The crew members were unfamiliar with these rigs.
Two members of the crew fell off the ropes during the flight. Mr. Burris fell off of a ladder at 2,500 feet over the Loatian Jungle. Sadly, his body was never found. During and after his service, Mr. Burris received the Distinguished Fying Cross, 23 Air Medals, The Bronze Star, The Army Commendation Medal with "V" for service and valor, several unit citations, and the Purple Heart.