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NEWS | June 13, 2022

Kentucky Army National Guard veteran awarded bronze star with valor

By Andy Dickson, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

A Kentucky Army National Guard veteran was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor in a ceremony at the Owensboro Armory in Owensboro, Ky. on June 10, 2022.

Sgt. John Burlew was presented the medal by U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie during the award ceremony with the Kentucky National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Haldane B. Lamberton present.

Burlew served in the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002.

While on patrol in a canyon in Afghanistan on May 19, 2002, Burlew’s patrol came under direct enemy fire.

Burlew immediately provided medical treatment to his special operations team. Burlew was also credited with providing cover fire during the same operations.

The award was presented to Burlew 20 years after his actions.

To get the award approved, Kentucky Army National Guard’s Staff Sgt. Carl Cooper, G-1 awards manager, had many hurdles to face.

Cooper brought the award to the attention of Lamberton, who helped reach out to Guthrie’s office to get the award approved.

Burlew recognized the many people involved in the process.

“A lot of people were involved in this process, more than I can name, frankly,” said Burlew. “It's nice, and it's humbling that so many people care that much about it 20 years later to make sure it got pushed through.

“And it's a complex deal to award medals to people that aren't in the service anymore. You can't just go back to your old unit and have them do it.

“You have to go through Human Resources Command, and they have to get signatures, they have to be petitioned. It's a big deal. I'm thankful and humble.”

Lamberton was excited to be able to bring recognition to our Kentucky veterans.

“We have a mindset, a soldier for life,” said Lamberton. “Sgt. Burlew, you're a Kentucky Guardsman for life.

“I appreciate the example that you set for your actions and your camaraderie with your fellow Soldiers. Being able to recognize you for those efforts is very unique.”

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