In the heart of Benton, Maine, on November 3, 1949, a hero was born. The youngest of four sons to Opal Buker Clark, Brian Leroy Buker's journey from the quiet town of Benton to the jungles of Vietnam would become a testament to courage, sacrifice, and unwavering devotion to duty.
Early Years and Call to Service: Raised in Benton, Brian graduated from Lawrence High School in nearby Fairfield in 1967. It was a time when patriotism ran deep, and the call to serve resonated strongly in the Buker family. Brian, along with his brothers Victor, Gerald, and Alan, heeded that call, all serving their nation during the tumultuous Vietnam War.
Becoming a Soldier: In 1968, from the city of Bangor, Maine, Brian Leroy Buker joined the ranks of the U.S. Army. His journey as a soldier would lead him to Detachment B-55, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. The date April 5, 1970, would etch his name into history as a day of extraordinary bravery and sacrifice.
Medal of Honor: As a sergeant in Detachment B-55, Sgt. Buker found himself in the thick of action in Chau Doc Province, Republic of Vietnam. Leading a Vietnamese mobile strike force company, he faced intense enemy fire. In an act of conspicuous gallantry, Sgt. Buker single-handedly destroyed two heavily fortified bunkers, despite being seriously wounded. Refusing medical attention, he pressed on, reorganizing his men until he was mortally wounded.
For his extraordinary heroism, Sgt. Brian Leroy Buker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, joining the ranks of Maine's bravest. His citation speaks of a man who charged through enemy fire with complete disregard for his safety, ensuring the success of the assault and averting many casualties.
Legacy and Honors: Sgt. Buker's legacy lives on not only in the hearts of those who served with him but also in the recognition bestowed upon him. His alma mater, Lawrence High School in Fairfield, received the donation of his Medal of Honor and other decorations from his family in 2010. Brown Cemetery in Benton became his final resting place, a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made at the tender age of 20.
In 2018, the Maine State Prison honored Sgt. Buker by naming their American Legion Post after him, ensuring that future generations would remember the sacrifice of this valiant soldier.
Conclusion: Sergeant Brian Leroy Buker's story is one of selflessness, courage, and ultimate sacrifice. As we remember this hero from Benton, Maine, let us reflect on the price paid for the freedoms we hold dear. Sgt. Buker's name stands alongside other Medal of Honor recipients from Maine, a symbol of the highest traditions of military service and a beacon of inspiration for generations to come.