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LTC Sterling S Burnette

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LTC Sterling S Burnette

Distinguished Service Cross Recipient


317th Infantry Regiment
80th Division

North Adams Transcript - August 2, 1948
Full tribute, both military and civilian was paid to Lieut. Col. Sterling S. Burnette Saturday afternoon, by Adams residents and high military dignitaries from Western Massachusetts.

But the high sounding phrases, "Lieut. Col. Sterling S. Burnette, who for his extraordinary heroism was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, America's second highest military decoration" seemed particularly empty to the listening hundreds because the boyish grin, the blush and downcast eyes that would have modestly waved aside all praise for him, the unfailing good humor that made "Curley" known and loved by all were hidden from view under the American flag that draped his casket.

To the bier of Lieut. Col Burnette, the first of four high ranking officers who formerly served with the 104th regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, to be returned to this country, came former and present Company M and 204th officers and enlisted men, American Legion officers and members and hundreds of other neighbors, friends and acquaintances who knew and esteemed "Curley" from his youth in Zylonite, through his school and boyhood days.

In the group who paid sorrowful tribute was Dr. H. Fishkin of Tarentum, Penn., the medical officer who exerted all of his skill to save "Curley's" life after he fell mortally wounded with shots in the head and chest received Nov 13, 1944, while gallantly heading a platoon from the First Battalion, 317th infantry regiment, 80th division to capture and hold the only bridge left intact across the flooded Neld river. For this action, that enabled the Third Army under the command of the late Gen. George S. Patton, to continue its sweeping drive into the industrially rich Saar basin, the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to Col. Burnette.

Of Col Burnette, Dr. Fishkin, who served with him both in this country and overseas, in talking to a Transcript reporter said "Curley was one of the finest officers I ever served with and more than that, he was one of the best men I ever knew, and after all, what greater tribute can you pay a man than that. Had we had more officers like "Curley" Burnette, there would have been far less men lost and the war would have been over much sooner.

Continuing he said, "Curley never should have been there exposing himself to danger as he did. That was not his job. He should have saved himself for the sake of his value as an officer, but that was not Curley. He felt that he must lead his men where they were to go and if he could speak to us now, he would tell us that it was worth it."

As the funeral services, beginning in the state armory, where his body lay in state from its arrival Friday afternoon until the hour of 1:15 o'clock, continuing at the First Congregational church and concluding at the family lot in Maple Street Cemetery, there were hundreds in attendance while the sidewalks along Park and Maple street were lined with others who joined in a final tribute to Col. Burnette.

Family Members






  • Created by: Jeff Hall
  • Added: 19 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92207615
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Sterling S Burnette (26 Nov 1913–11 Nov 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92207615, citing Maple Street Cemetery, Adams, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Jeff Hall (contributor 47296194) .