Rep. Drew MacEwen delivered remarks and took part in a ceremony Wednesday to formally present Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class Paul Buerger with the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Vietnam. Buerger, who served in the conflict from March 1968 to December 1971, never received a formal presentation of his medal. Instead, he received the medal in the mail in 1972 and carried on with his civilian life.
Last year, Mr. Buerger contacted American Legion Training Officer Syl Wiles to ensure his Naval records reflected his Bronze Star Medal. During their conversation, Buerger mentioned how much he would have liked to have had a ceremony when he received the medal in 1972. That comment spurred Wiles to action, and she began coordinating the event held today at Patriots Landing in Dupont. With more than 100 people in attendance – community members, law enforcement, and active and retired military – Rear Admiral Gary Mayes formally presented Buerger with the Bronze Star Medal.
Rep. MacEwen, who introduced Mayes, was in the front row for the presentation.
“What an honor it was to meet Mr. Buerger and have the opportunity to witness the formal presentation of his Bronze Star Medal,” said MacEwen, R-Union. “I salute my shipmate for his heroic actions in the service of our country, and congratulate him and his family on this very special day.”
The medal citation signed by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral R.S. Salzer reads in part: “Petty Officer Buerger’s unselfish devotion to duty and exceptional courage in the face of enemy fire were significant factors in preventing the enemy from accomplishing their sabotage missions and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” The full citation is below.
After leaving the Navy, Mr. Buerger served in law enforcement for 39 years. He is now enjoying semi-retirement with his wife of 45 years, Linda.