b. 13/09/1920 St Joseph, Missouri. d. 08/02/1990 Bolivar, Missouri.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 19/03/1945 Dorrmoschel, Germany.
Herbert was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 13th of September 1920. Growing up, he and his family were house painters, and he had tried to enlist in the US Army before the attacks on Pearl Harbor but was denied due to having bad teeth. Once the war began, his teeth were no longer an issue, and he was drafted into the Army in Kansas City. Herbert’s tank training took place in the Mojave Desert and he was then deployed to France, Belgium, and Germany in support of World War 2. On the 19th of March 1945, he was a Private First Class that displayed actions with Company C, 41st Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division, that would later earn him the Medal of Honor. On that day, near the town of Dörrmoschel, Germany, he was a gunner in a tank when the vehicle was hit by enemy fire, forcing all crew members except himself to bail out. Burr then took over the driver’s seat and completed the assigned mission of reconnoitering a road in the town. Upon encountering a German artillery gun, he drove directly towards it and ran it over, destroying the gun and scattering its crew. After returning to friendly lines and dismounting from the tank, he braved hostile fire to bring medical aid to a wounded comrade.
Two months prior to these actions, Herbert had been in another tank that had been hit and sent into flames. He had pulled the mortally wounded driver and the rest of the crew from the tank, extinguished the flames, and then drove the tank to a safe location. These actions earned him the Distinguished Service Cross. He was presented with his Medal of Honor on 23 August 1945 by President Harry S Truman at The White House.
He rarely spoke about the war and had to be forced to do so. He rarely wore the Medal of Honor but did wear it on special occasions, like when he had been invited to several Presidential inaugurations. Herbert and his wife raised a family in Missouri and was described as a guy that liked to drink, get into fights, and fish. Herbert Hoover Burr died on the 8th of February 1990, at the age of 69 and he is buried in the Garden of Valor section of the Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri.
He displayed conspicuous gallantry during action when the tank in which he was bow gunner was hit by an enemy rocket, which severely wounded the platoon sergeant and forced the remainder of the crew to abandon the vehicle. Deafened, but otherwise unhurt, S/Sgt. Burr immediately climbed into the driver’s seat and continued on the mission of entering the town to reconnoiter road conditions. As he rounded a turn he encountered an 88-mm. antitank gun at pointblank range. Realizing that he had no crew, no one to man the tank’s guns, he heroically chose to disregard his personal safety in a direct charge on the German weapon. At considerable speed he headed straight for the loaded gun, which was fully manned by enemy troops who had only to pull the lanyard to send a shell into his vehicle. So unexpected and daring was his assault that he was able to drive his tank completely over the gun, demolishing it and causing its crew to flee in confusion. He then skillfully sideswiped a large truck, overturned it, and wheeling his lumbering vehicle, returned to his company. When medical personnel who had been summoned to treat the wounded sergeant could not locate him, the valiant soldier ran through a hail of sniper fire to direct them to his stricken comrade.
BURIAL LOCATION: MOUNT WASHINGTON CEMETERY, INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI.
GARDEN OF THE DOGWOOD, BLOCK 13 LOT 60, GRAVE 3
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.