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Above and Beyond the Call of Duty: Lloyd Leslie Burke


Lloyd Burke was born in Tichnor, Arkansas in 1920 and spent the majority of his growing up years around that area. After graduating, he went to Henderson State University, until 1943 when he enlisted in the US Army serving with the engineers in Italy. After the conclusion of the war, he returned to Henderson State, finished his degree, then became a commander in the First Cavalry Division.

At the beginning of the Korean War, Burke was shipped overseas to serve with the First Cavalry. October 28, 1951, shortly before he was slated to go home, he found himself in the heat of battle near Chong-dong, Korea giving orders from his command post. But, when the battle started to turn for the worst, he could not remain any longer within the safety of his post and insisted upon joining his men. Leaving the safety of his post, Burke faced the enemy with just his M-1 and a few hand grenades. Inspired, his men rallied and overran the enemy position. Burke managed to capture a machine gun using it on the enemy, gaining precious victory for the Americans. He was then wounded but managed to lead his men to capture and destroy two mortar placements and a machine gun nest forcing the enemy to finally retreat. Burke also served in Vietnam but was wounded in a helicopter accident and was sent home.

He retired from the US Army as a full colonel. For his actions in the Korean War, Lloyd Burke was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His citation reads:

First Lt. Burke, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Intense enemy fire had pinned down leading elements of his company committed to secure commanding ground when 1st Lt. Burke left the command post to rally and urge the men to follow him toward three bunkers impeding the advance. Dashing to an exposed vantage point he threw several grenades at the bunkers, then, returning for an M1 rifle and adapter, he made a lone assault, wiping out the position and killing the crew. Closing on the center bunker he lobbed grenades through the opening and, with his pistol, killed three of its occupants attempting to surround him. Ordering his men forward he charged the third emplacement, catching several grenades in midair and hurling them back at the enemy. Inspired by his display of valor his men stormed forward, overran the hostile position, but were again pinned down by increased fire. Securing a light machine gun and three boxes of ammunition, 1st Lt. Burke dashed through the impact area to an open knoll, set up his gun, and poured a crippling fire into the ranks of the enemy, killing approximately 75. Although wounded, he ordered more ammunition, reloading and destroying two mortar emplacements and a machine-gun position with his accurate fire. Cradling the weapon in his arms he then led his men forward, killing some 25 more of the retreating enemy and securing the objective. First Lt. Burke's heroic action and daring exploits inspired his small force of 35 troops. His unflinching courage and outstanding leadership reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.