Sheldon John Burnett

Army of the United States
09 June 1931 - 29 May 1979
Pelham, New Hampshire
Panel 04W Line 031



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Sheldon John Burnett

16 Apr 2005

Rest in Peace in Arlington, Sir. Rest among the troops.

Judith Singer

04 Jul 2006

I served with then-Major Burnett when he was the senior advisor to the 1st Armored Cav Regiment (ARVN) in 1966-67. He was a good friend and a great soldier. Rest in Peace.

Jack Sentell
US Army (Ret)
6609 Cedar Wood Court, Mobile, Al 36695

29 Jan 2007

I have worn a MIA-POW bracelet with Col Burnett's name on it for many years. The Colonel has been an inspiration and spiritual partner to me through the births of my children, a divorce, the death of a child, graduation of children, the marriage of a child, the birth of grandchildren, and so very much more. This man that I have never meet has been a source of comfort to me throughout my life. He will continue to be a best friend.

My youngest daughter has had the honor of standing guard at the Traveling Wall for Vietnam Veterans. How very proud she was at being able to do this for all who gave their lives for this country. So very little to do for those who gave so much.

Thank you Sheldon, for ALL that you have given.

Tamra Walker

06 Sep 2007

As a plebe at West Point in the early 80's, it was common to wear a POW bracelet in camaraderie for those who served before us. In the days before the internet, it was an elaborate system of snail mail and luck to locate a servicemember from your hometown. Being from Merrimack, only a few towns over, I was lucky to find LTC Burnett.

I proudly wore his name for 7 years, though I had to replace the bracelet 3 times during those years! In the civilian community, these bracelets were not common and I found myself explaining the program to many, many people.

In 2000, I made my first trip to the Wall and placed the remains of my last bracelet in front of his name.

Thank you, Sir.

Maryann B
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 07 March 1971 a unit of the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, was engaged in northwest South Vietnam. An OH-58A observation helicopter (tail number 68-16814) was detailed to pick up the Commanding Officer, 1/1 Cavalry, and take him to the vicinity of the engagement. The aircraft, piloted by Warrant Officer Randolph Ard, departed base, made a stop to pick up three passengers, and headed for the area of the enagagement. The four men aboard the aircraft were
  • WO Randolph J. Ard, West Pensacola, FL, pilot, Bde HHC, 1st Bde, 5 Inf Div
  • LTC Sheldon J. Burnett, Pelham, NH, CO 1st Sqdn, 1st Cavalry
  • CPT Phil Bodenhorn, CO "A" Troop, 1/1 Cav
  • SP4 Mike Castillo, radioman
WO Ard overshot the engagement area and inadvertently crossed the border into Laos, where he was suckered into an ambush at a faked landing zone. As the OH-58 approached it was hit by enemy fire and went down hard, rolling to a partially inverted attitude. Ard and Burnett were trapped in the wreckage, while Captain Bodenhorn and SP4 Castillo were able to free themselves from the rear cabin area. Once free they were able to extract WO Ard, who had two broken legs and a possible broken pelvis. LTC Burnett could not be freed from the wreckage and was incoherent, sometimes unconscious. Bodenhorn and Castillo took up defensive positions on either side of the helicopter, where they engaged and killed a small enemy patrol.

Realizing that additional enemy forces were closing rapidly, and that neither Ard nor Burnett could be moved, Bodenhorn and Castillo left the wreckage in an attempt to evade capture. When they were at some distance from the wreckage they watched a UH-1C make a rocket firing run in the OH-58's vicinity, and later witnessed an F-4 make a single bomb run against the location. Although they knew Ard and Burnett were alive when they left the downed aircraft, Bodenhorn and Castillo were convinced the rocket fire and bombs must have killed them. Bodenhorn and Castillo met up with an ARVN unit about an hour later, but the enemy presence precluded any attempt to return to the OH-58 site. No rescue effort was mounted by US forces in SVN. Eleven days later, a ground force did reach the OH-58 but did not find either Ard or Burnett.

LTC Burnett and WO Ard were classed as Missing in Action and remained in that status for some years. The Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death for CWO Ard on 18 Sep 1978 and COL Burnett on 29 May 1979.

The remains of the two men were repatriated on 04 Oct 2004 and identified on 09 Dec 2004. Warrant Officer Ard was buried in Albertville, Alabama, on 19 March 2005, while Colonel Burnett's remains were buried in Arlington on 13 April 2005.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a civilian who still cares,
Judith Singer

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index B
NH State Index . Panel 04W

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Apr 2005
Last updated 05/03/2008