Russell Adam Burnham

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Russell Adam Burnham
Staff sgt burnham russell 2007.jpg
Then Staff Sgt Russell Adam Burnham,
U.S. Army Medical Corps NCO of the Year (2007)
Born (1979-09-06) September 6, 1979 (age 37)
Tucson, Arizona
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svgUnited States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svgUnited States Army
Years of service 2001–present
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain[1]
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Spc. Russell A. Burnham, right, receives U.S. Army Soldier of the Year Award (2003)

Captain Russell Adam Burnham (born September 6, 1979), U.S. Army Physician Assistant, is the great-grandson of Frederick Russell Burnham (1861–1947), D.S.O., the 2003 U.S. Army Soldier of the Year,[2][3] 2007 U.S. Army Medical Corps NCO of the Year,[4] and an Eagle Scout.[5]

Military career[edit]

U.S. Army Soldier of the Year[edit]

Burnham was serving as an Evacuation Specialist with HHC, 1/5 Infantry Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington, when he decided to compete in the preliminary competitions for the 2003 Soldier of the Year. After winning his battalion's honor, he went on to win the competition for 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, and later for I Corps and Fort Lewis. He then competed in, and won, the U.S. Army Forces Command Soldier of the Year competition, which afforded him the opportunity to represent the largest command in the Army at the Soldier of the Year competition. Burnham won the competition, consisting of several grueling mental and physical tasks, and was reassigned to Washington, DC to serve as an ambassador for the Army.[6] For the next year, Burnham was stationed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and he represented the Army at events such as: the Association of the United States Army National Convention, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, the NASCAR Daytona 500, and a Washington Redskins football game. He also joined comedian, now Senator, Al Franken on a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan in December 2003.

Medical Command Noncommissioned Officer of the Year[edit]

In 2005 Burnham was promoted to Sergeant and reassigned to Fort Sam Houston. In 2007 Staff Sergeant Burnham won the title of NCO of the Year for the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Representing MEDCOM, he competed against NCOs from all 13 major commands in the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition,[4][7] but was unable to duplicate his victory from 2003.[8]

Physician Assistant[edit]

Based on the board results from summer 2007 and after completing prerequisite courses at San Antonio College, Burnham attended the Interservice Physician Assistant Program at Fort Sam Houston beginning in April 2009, and graduated in Hawaii at Tripler Army Medical Center in 2011.[1] Then he received his captain's commission, moving to Fort Drum and assuming his first physician assistant role with 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Awards and decorations[edit]


Captain Burnham, receives U.S. Army inaugural Ditch Medicine Award. Afghanistan, 2014.

Burnham is a descendent of Thomas Burnham (1617–1688) of Hartford, Connecticut, the first American ancestor of a large number of Burnhams.[10] The descendents of Thomas Burnham have been noted in every American war, including the French and Indian war.[11]


A native of Tucson, Arizona, Burnham has earned an associate degree from Rio Salado College and Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a Boy Scouts of America volunteer and is married with five children.


  1. ^ a b c Ghiringhelli, Steve (Feb 13, 2014). "10th Mountain medical officer receives inaugural 'Ditch' award". U.S. Army. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  2. ^ Preston, Kenneth O. (2003). "Sgt Major, US Army". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on 2006-04-19. Retrieved 2006-04-22. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition". U.S. Army. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  4. ^ a b "United States Army Best Warrior Competition". U.S. Army. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  5. ^ "Frederick Russell Burnham". White Eagle District. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  6. ^ Fort Lewis specialist is named Army Soldier of the Year, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Phuong Cat Le, October 3, 2003. Retrieved on 2008-07-09.
  7. ^ "MEDCOM bio burnham". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  8. ^ Staff Sgt. Seifert, Spc. Seeker Named Army's Best Warriors, US Army website, Beth Reece, October 8, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-07-08.
  9. ^ Strasser, Mike. "Best Warrior Continues Tradition of Military Excellence". U.S. Army. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  10. ^ Bradford, Mary E; Richard H Bradford (1993). An American family on the African frontier: the Burnham family letters, 1893–1896. Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. ISBN 1-879373-66-1. 
  11. ^ Press Reference Library: Notables of the West. New York: International News Service. 1915. OCLC 5532411. 
  12. ^ "Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries". Biographical sketch. The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum. 200. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2007-03-31.