Staff Sergeant Burleson was born on Jan 1, 1981. He enlisted after attending Odessa College for two years and completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA in June of 2002.
Attended Marine Combat Training at School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, CA, then attended Supply School at Camp Johnson, NC and graduated a 3043 on September 13 of 2002. Received orders to HQ 3rd Marines, MCB Hawaii and served as the Supply Admin Chief until Dec 2005. Received Orders to HQ MAG 13, MCAS Yuma, AZ in Dec of 2005, and served as the unit Supply Chief until Oct 2008.
Completed one tour of duty in Iraq as a squad leader for Marine Wing Security Battalion 372, while stationed with MAG 13. Screened for lateral move into EOD field and attended Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin AFB, Florida in March 2009.
Graduated EOD School in October 2009 and received orders to MCB Hawaii. Supported the Secret Service for the Presidents Hawaiian vacation in DEC 2010. Deployed to Papua New Guinea in support of JPAC from Aug to Sept 2010. Received orders to 2nd EOD Company, Camp Lajuene North Carolina. Deployed to Afghanistan as a team leader, with 2nd Platoon, from October 2011 until December 2011 where he was injured while attempting to render an IED safe.
His personal awards include Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, (3) Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, (1) Sea Service Deployment ribbon, 2 Navy Unit Citation, NATO ISAF Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Purple heart, Combat Action Ribbon.
On 9 Dec 2011, I was part of a dismounted patrol just north of Sangin Afghanistan. During the patrol we identified indicators of possible IED’s in an alley way of the complex of compounds we were traversing through. After setting up security and briefing my team member on the plan, I began to interrogate the suspicious area. I located the first IED and was able to render the device safe, I collected the switch, and the power source before reducing the explosive hazards in place. After the first detonation I made my way back down the alley and located a second device. While attempting to render that device safe it detonated with me kneeling over it. As a result of the detonation I spent the next two weeks in a coma. When I woke from the coma, I was at Walter Reed in Bethesda Maryland. My injuries from the blast include amputations to both arms, right mid forearm and left mid humerus. I suffered a broken neck, several broken bones in my face, to include my jaw. I lost total vision in my left eye, as well as burns to my face, neck, and shoulder. My left A/C joint was completely destroyed. I also suffered severe nerve damage to my left arm leaving it completely paralyzed. Since the injury, I have dedicated much of my time to research and outreach with other veterans suffering from PTSD. I have been trying to figure out why some vets are severely affected by it and some are not. I believe I have finally narrowed down the difference between the two and have begun efforts at Walter Reed to implement new procedures for early treatment with patients suffering from severe PTSD. I plan on working with the Boot Campaign to continue to try and raise awareness and help as many vets as I possibly can.