US soldier killed in car accident came from long family line of service

Sgt. Monesha L. Burton died in a two-car traffic accident in Kaiserslautern, Germany, March 5, 2021, the Army said Wednesday. Public Health Command Europe is holding a memorial service for her Friday.


By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 10, 2021

The U.S. soldier killed last week in a car crash in Kaiserslautern had dreams of making the Army a career.

Sgt. Monesha L. Burton was profiled in an Army-produced feature last year for her work as a veterinary food inspector during the pandemic. Her family ties influenced her to join the Army in 2016, she said.

“My dad, uncle and cousins all served. I was inspired by everything they did,” she said. “Right now, I plan on doing 20 years.”

Burton, 22, died Friday from injuries she sustained in a car crash near Kleber Kaserne and Daenner Kaserne. German police said Burton collided with another car that had the right-of-way at the intersection. The crash investigation has been turned over to the U.S. military, police said.

Two soldiers received minor injuries in the wreck, while a third, Burton’s 26-year-old passenger, was hospitalized with life-threatening conditions.

The Army did not immediately provide any new information on the injured soldier’s condition Wednesday.

Burton was a veterinary food inspection specialist at the Veterinary Branch Kaiserslautern, Public Health Activity - Rheinland-Pfalz, said Gino Mattorano, a spokesman for Regional Health Command Europe.

Public Health Command Europe is hosting a memorial ceremony Friday for Burton, Mattorano said. The ceremony will be livestreamed on Facebook to a group created to share photos and memories of Burton.

In August, Burton spoke about her job in a short Facebook video her command posted for Women’s Equality Day. She was also featured in an Army statement the same month for her work inspecting Army food facilities in Kaiserslautern during the pandemic.

“What I enjoy most about my job is being able to help people by making sure they have a credible source for their food,” she said. “My job is food defense and food safety.”

Originally from Hammond, La., Burton in the video said she had other reasons for joining the Army besides her family’s history of service.

“Mostly to better myself and to prove to myself that I can do it,” she said.

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