Burton C. Sayer

Photo added by Anne Cady

Burton C. Sayer

  • Birth 16 Sep 1923
  • Death 7 Jul 1944
  • Burial Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 25443993

Buried in Hawaii: PFC Burton C Sayers

Ogdensburg Journal - February 9, 1946
"The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal posthumously to Private First Class, Burton C. Sayer, United States Marine Corps Reserve."

Thus did Maj. Paul M. Jones, USMC, open the simple but impressive ceremony of presentation of the Silver Star Medal to Claudia Sayer, mother of the late Pfc. Burton Sayer in the living room of her farm home near Brier Hill Friday afternoon.

Gathered in the room were Mrs. Sayer's daughter, Miss Iris, and a group of neighbors who had come to witness the formal acknowledgement by the President of the United State of the gallantry and intrepidity of Pfc Sayer.

As Major Jones read the citation accompanying the award tears bedimmed the eyes of the bereaved mother who lost her heroic Marin son in the conflict against aggression, and another son, Cpl Ronald Sayer in the Army, within a few months in 1944, a short time after her husband, the late Frank Sayer passed away.

All those in the comfortable living room of the farm home felt a tightness in their throats, as Major Jones continued to read the citation, recounting how the brave Marine had held his ground causing disruption of the Japanese advance on Saipan on July 7, 1944.

When the reading of the citation was concluded, Major Jones presented the document to Mrs. Sayer, and then handed to her the Silver Star which her son had earned on Saipan that day.

When the brief ceremony of presentation was over, Major Jones and the other guests talked for a time with Mrs. Sayer and her daughter regarding Burton's service.

He had been in the Second Marine Division, serving overseas for about a year and a half when he was killed in action.

"Burton left here to go to Watertown to enter the Marines on Nov 9, 1942," said Mrs. Sayer. "He left that night for Parris Island to start his training. He never came home after that."

Major Jones described the Second Marine Division cemetery where Pfc Sayer was buried, the members of the Sayer family and their neighbors showing keen interest in the place where the Marine hero was laid at rest.

Mrs. Sayer recalled that her son Ronald, who lost his life in fighting in Leyte in the Philippines in October of 1944, had entered the Army on Sept 22, 1944 and that he had spent his 21st birthday in Amarillo, Texas.

A third son, Robert, has been honorably discharged from the service and he is now at home with his mother. The daughter, Iris, is employed by the Eastman Kodak Co in Rochester. She is now at home recuperating from an illness.

Burton attended the Brier Hill Union High School and was interested in sports, especially basketball, while in school. He was employed at the plant of the Aluminum Company of America in Massena when he entered the Marine Corps a few weeks after his 19th birthday.

Mrs. Sayer said that she did not know which battles Burton had fought in, but that he had mentioned that he was in the Battle of Tarawa and that he had been in New Zealand.

She read a letter which she had received from Lt. Harold A. Lane, USMCR, commanding officer of the battery in which Pfc Sayer was serving as cannoneer.

"I knelt shoulder to shoulder with him when a machine gun struck him down," wrote Lt. Lane. "Because it might just as easily have been myself who was killed at that moment, it is no little remorse that I feel when I think of the sacrifice he made."

Text of the citation accompanying the Silver Star follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Cannoneer serving with the Third Battalion, Tenth Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas, 7 July 1944. With his battery position under bitter close-range attack, Private First Class Sayer skillfully laid his section's piece for elevation, valiantly remaining at his post until the numerically superior Japanese overran the battery and forced its withdrawl. Mortally wounded in the small-arms fight which following in the immediate rear, Private First Class Sayer, by his zealous efforts and aggressive determination, had aided materially in the infliction of severe casualties on the enemy and in the distruption of their advance. His cool courage under fire and outstanding devotion to duty throughout upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. HE gallantly gave his life for his country..

Family Members

Gravesite Details Enlisted US Marine Corps Nov 9 1942; Killed on Saipan 7/7/1944





  • Created by: Anne Cady
  • Added: 21 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25443993
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Burton C. Sayer (16 Sep 1923–7 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25443993, citing Black Lake Cemetery, Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Anne Cady (contributor 46985237) .