You want the best? Here I am!
- Col. Burton leaving the Barracks
Colonel burton icon
Colonel Burton was a highly experienced expert in covert operations and an American hero, who participated in numerous campaigns against the GLA during the Global War on Terror.


No obstacles.
- Col. Burton moving

Colonel John Burton, famously known as the most highly decorated US soldier of the Global War On Terror, rose from humble beginnings: Born in the small town of Fulton, New York in 1988 as the second son of a foreman and a secretary at a local lumber company, young John enlisted with the US military after he had finished high school in an effort to serve his country and escape the provincial restrictedness of his hometown. Guided by an iron will and steeled by several years of amateur football and hunting trips with his father, he got accepted into the Army's 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum. During the following years, he saw action against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, including one instance where his patrol was ambushed by a determined enemy force thrice their own number. He displayed exceptional bravery by saving four incapacitated comrades from the burning wreckage of their Humvee and leading a daring counterattack that scattered the assailants which earned him his first Bronze Star upon his return to the States.

During the 2010s, Burton rose in the ranks, continued to educate himself and applied for the 75th Ranger Regiment. In 2022, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and placed in command of his own battalion with outstanding accolades for his inspiring leadership and keen sense of tactics, particularly in the fields of reconnaissance and close quarters battle. His first noteworthy engagement during the Global War on Terror saw him leading a heliborne raid against the derelict Soviet bioweapon facilities on Rebirth Island, Kazakhstan after the area had fallen under GLA-control.

By the middle of the decade, GLA-incited violence engulfed the entire Middle East and the United States stepped up their efforts in the region. In 2025, Burton's Rangers provided the ground element in a joint US-Yemeni manhunt in Al-Hanad. Later that year, the CIA uncovered a link between the GLA and a rogue Chinese brigadier by the name of Ismail Khan who lent his underhanded support to the terrorists in an effort to win their assistance for the Uyghur separatists in his native Xinjiang. By this point, Burton had attained a unique reputation for his tendency to lead his troops right at the front while using a customised XM29 prototype rifle from the cancelled OICW programme as his personal weapon of choice. After a vicious engagement, Burton apprehended Khan and handed him over to the Chinese Ministry of State Security which subsequently terminated his employment with extreme prejudice. During the later years of the war, Burton also saw combat during operations in Somalia, Iran and the Caucasus, completing many dangerous missions to the fullest satisfaction of his superiors and adding to his legend as America's go-to troubleshooter.

By the end of the war, Burton had earned himself a staggering list of awards, including the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross and even the Medal of Honor. He was promoted to a full-fledged Colonel in 2028 and continued to serve back home after America's withdrawal from the global stage where his heroic exploits became the subject of a TV documentary production. At first, Burton was reluctant to share his stories and experiences with the media, but he eventually agreed to a series of interviews in which he tried to raise awareness for the troubles of the veterans and eternalise the memory of the many comrades he had lost during his career. Tragically, the final cut largely omitted the depiction of Burton's more thoughtful, weary side in favour of glamourising him as the war's most outstanding hero during a time in which the general public had grown tired of all the military bravado about honour and duty which rang hollow in an America where the common sight of traumatised, disabled and often impoverished veterans had shattered this romanticised ideal, if only momentarily.

Burton's lifetime of restless fighting and ever-present death had left a mark on him as well as he found it increasingly difficult to adapt to the new uneventful desk job that never truly suited him. Up until now, he had lived the spartanic life of a warrior with no family of his own and no real friends outside the service. Indeed, the closest thing to a civilian home he had was still his old room in his parents' house where he used to sleep at increasingly irregular intervals between his earlier tours of duty. The ineffectual meandering of America's political leadership and the brutal austerity measures imposed upon the military during the early 2030s left the Colonel frustrated and without a goal which eventually prompted him to retire from active service altogether.

While America recovered from its bitter post-war depression, Burton used a part of his sizeable unspent savings to purchase a little piece of land in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York where he built himself a cabin, far away from all the protests and occasional riots that only slowly let go of the country up until the creation of the North American Union in 2033. He spent his time in tranquil solitude while keeping his senses sharp through hiking, hunting and climbing, occasionally mentoring the local scouts and living one day like the other at his own pace, seemingly at peace with the rest of the world.

That was until 2048: Shortly after America's entry into the Russo-European War, Burton was approached by a group of military officials who urged him to return to active service under the rationale that the US military would require the help of every experienced soldier and officer available in the event that the unthinkable, a Russian attack on the US homeland or a global nuclear exchange, became a reality. After a long moment of quiet contemplation, the sixty year old veteran said his piece: He would join them under the condition that his skills and expertise would not be wasted at the rear echelon while young, inexperienced Americans, the unproven warriors of their generation, risked their lives in a fight that was way out of their league. No - Burton wanted to be with them, right there at the line, leading them, guiding them, helping them - and perhaps finally give his own life even if it meant saving just a single one of them...


Ability Description
Burton assault rifle icon
Assault Rifle
Use the assault rifle.
Burton grenade launcher icon
High Explosive Grenades
Use high explosive grenades fired from the grenade launcher. Does moderate damage over a moderate radius.
Combat knife icon
Combat Knife
Use the combat knife to instantly kill enemy infantry in close range without revealing Burton. Enemies killed by the combat knife will not trigger the "Unit lost!" alert.
Timed demo charge icon
Timed Demo Charge
Plant a timed demolition charge on an enemy vehicle or structure that detonates 20 seconds after being planted, with the process taking 5.5 seconds to complete. The demolition charge causes 4000 to 150 AURORA_BOMB damage over a radius of 25 to 75.
Place c4 charge icon
Remote Demo Charge
Plant a remote demolition charge on an enemy vehicle or structure that can be detonated at will through the Detonate Charges ability, with the process taking 5.5 seconds to complete. The demolition charge causes 4000 to 150 AURORA_BOMB damage over a radius of 25 to 75.
Detonate charges icon
Detonate Charges
Detonate all Remote Demo Charges.
Call drone airlifter icon
Call in a Drone Airlifter
Call in a Drone Airlifter on Burton.
Requires Supply Center and Air Mobility.


Needs an attitude adjustment.
- Col. Burton attacking

Col. Burton is highly effective against enemy infantry and light vehicles when using his OICW, though care should be taken around those with anti-personnel weaponry. He can use his grenade launcher to devastate enemy defenses and stationary land units from a good distance. He can also place remote and timed demo charges on enemy buildings and vehicles. These will seriously compromise the integrity of any building, but will not be able to destroy GLA Holes.

Col. Burton is stealthed when not active and he can use his knife to kill infantry without breaking his stealth. The knife may also be used to kill the operators inside defensive positions such as Stinger Sites. Notably, Col. Burton's stealth rate is faster than his Grenade Launcher's Rate of Fire, due to this, he will go back into stealth repeatedly while firing his Grenade Launcher, making him difficult to attack, as units will stop moving towards him as soon as he disappears again. However, as with any stealth unit, his presence can be revealed by units with detection capabilities.

Burton is also capable of climbing mountains and other generally unstable terrain.


Colonel Burton reuses his original voiceset in the vanilla Generals and Zero Hour.


Behind the scenes

  • Colonel Burton gains a hat in 1.85, affecting both his model and cameo.


  • Colonel Burton is similar to the Commando of the first C&C game, with similar anti-infantry and anti-building attacks and a few shared quotes. ("Keep 'em coming!", "Got a present for ya!")
  • Colonel Burton uses a fictional version of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, or OICW. In real-life, it was supposed to be the US Army's next generation combat rifle, replacing the M16, but it was eventually discontinued and never left the prototype phase.
  • Colonel Burton might be based on Arnold Schwarzenegger staring as John Matrix in the film Commando.

See also