Staff Sargant (SSG) Heath Burger will serve as the grand marshal of this years Veterans Day parade in Van Buren.
The parade will be Thursday on Historic Main Street in Van Buren beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Burger was born in Fort Smith and raised in Crawford County. He attended Alma Schools and graduated in 2003. After graduation he attended Arkansas Tech University in Ozark where he received a degree in welding.
He has two daughters; Gracie, 11, and Harper, 5. They both attend Lavaca Schools.
Burger enlisted in the United States Army on May 31, 2006 as an 11B (Infantryman). After completing basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Sand Hill on Ft. Benning, Georgia, he then attended Airborne training, also at Ft. Benning.
He was assigned his first unit, the 1/504 PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, NC. He was then assigned to the Army Reserves 3/379th Logistical Support Battalions in October of 2010 where he reclassified as a 91L (Heavy Equipment Construction Mechanic).
In 2012, Burger was assigned to the 2/290th in Mustang, Okla. as an instructor. He then returned to the 3/379th LSB. Then in 2016, Burger was reassigned to his present unit, 2/379th in Arkadelphia, as an instructor.
Burger was deployed twice to Iraq, January 2, 2007-March 18, 2008 and July 2009-July 2010.
Among his service awards, Burger has received the Purple Heart; ARCOM with Valor; Army Good Conduct Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal with 3 Campaign Stars; the Parachutist Badge; Combat Infantry Badge; and German Airborne Wings.
Burger received his Purple Heart for his actions on October 1, 2007 while his company was on a combat patrol in the Al Fadal region in Baghdad, Iraq.
Burger’s squad was ambushed in an alleyway where they were pinned down by heavy machine gunfire. Burger was shot in the left forearm.
Out of the 12 squad members going down the alleyway that night, 10 were wounded, but all survived.
Dinner will be provided for all veterans before the parade from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Freedom Park Pavilion courtesy of Shoppers Value Foods and Coca Cola Bottling Company.
Entertainment will be provided during dinner by the King Elementary School choir.