Robert Haymond Burke
Robert Haymond Burke was born February 16, 1931, in Sand Fork, West Virginia, the son of Roy and Freda Brown Burke and one of four brothers.
After graduation from Sand Fork High School in 1948, he attended Glenville State College for two years and then worked for Williams Brothers Pipeline and Construction Company. In February 1952, Robert Burke enlisted in the paratroopers. After receiving basic training at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, he was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was active in the sports program and was a Golden Gloves winner in the light heavy weight class. He went to California on March 22 and then to Japan, after which he was sent to Korea.
Corporal Burke served with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment Combat Team in Korea. In letters home he described the difficulties encountered when attacked by the enemy who was “hitting them hard.” He recounted the death of 17 men from the platoon to which he was attached during an attack on the night of July 17, 1953. Writing to a friend on July 20, Corporal Burke wrote, “Last night was the most peaceful since I have been here. I think we have about put them out of commission . . . .” Corporal Burke was wounded on July 26 and died later that same day.
The body of Cpl. Robert H. Burke was returned to the United States and was interred in the Harmony Baptist Cemetery at Sand Fork.
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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