For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty for service as a machine gunner with Company 1. While on Operation ALLEN BROOK, Company 1 was approaching a dry river bed with a heavily wooded treeline that borders the hamlet of Le Nam (1), when they suddenly came under intense mortar, rocket propelled grenades, automatic weapons and small-arms fire from a large, well concealed enemy force which halted the company’s advance and wounded several marines. Realizing that key points of resistance had to be eliminated to allow the units to advance and casualties to be evacuated, Pfc. Burke, without hesitation, seized his machine gun and launched a series of 1-man assaults against the fortified emplacements. As he aggressively maneuvered to the edge of the steep river bank, he delivered accurate suppressive fire upon several enemy bunkers, which enabled his comrades to advance and move the wounded marines to positions of relative safety. As he continued his combative actions, he located an opposing automatic weapons emplacement and poured intense fire into the position, killing 3 North Vietnamese soldiers as they attempted to flee. Pfc. Burke then fearlessly moved from one position to another, quelling the hostile fire until his weapon malfunctioned. Obtaining a casualty’s rifle and hand grenades, he advanced further into the midst of the enemy fire in an assault against another pocket of resistance, killing 2 more of the enemy. Observing that a fellow marine had cleared his malfunctioning machine gun he grasped his weapon and moved into a dangerously exposed area and saturated the hostile treeline until he fell mortally wounded. Pfc. Burke’s gallant actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Copyright © 2023 the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation