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Swan-Law Funeral Directors

501 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO

OBITUARY

LTC Robert J. Burke Sr.

February 16, 1940November 14, 2019
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LTC Robert John Burke, 79, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, died Thursday, November 14, 2019. He is survived by Nguyen (Mai), his wife of 50 years, his children Juliette McKenna, Robert Burke Jr., Caroline Brooks, and Edward Burke, and his granddaughters Bianca Brooks, Brenna Brooks, Natasha Brooks, and Verona Burke.

Bob is also survived by his siblings, Maureen Liegeot of Kensington CT, Kathleen Reksten of Wilmington NC, Betsy Burke from Kiawa Island SC, James of Stonybrook NY, Andrew of Gilbert AZ, and Don of Brick NJ. He is predeceased by his brothers, Edward and Thomas.

Son of Colonel Edward and Marion Burke, LTC Burke was born at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii in 1940. Being part of a military family, Bob lived in Fort Brooke, Puerto Rico, Fort Benning, Georgia, and West Point, NY. After attending Hofstra College, Bob enlisted in the Army in 1961 and went through OCS to become an Army Officer. LTC Burke earned his commission in the United States Army on March 30, 1962. He left service on January 31, 1982 at Fort Carson, Colorado with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His career spanned twenty years, with sixty months of overseas postings, mostly in the Republic of South Vietnam. He served as an Infantry Officer and in Operations and Force Deployment. LTC Burke amassed an impressive list of Medals and Citations for Valor, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star with Second Oak Leave Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with eight Bronze Service Stars, Bronze Star Medal with V Devices with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with V Device (4th Award), Armed Service Reserve Medal, Army Commendation Medal with V Devices with 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palms, Vietnam Civil Action Unit Citation, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Service Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal. His training included Combat Intelligence Staff Officer Specialist, Military Advisor Training, Vietnamese Language School, Infantry Officer Advance Course, and Command & General Staff College. In quoting his Silver Star Medal citation, “Major Burke’s extraordinary heroism in close combat with an armed hostile force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division and the United States Army.” His other commendations cite his direct actions, including retrieving wounded friendly personnel after being wounded himself, taking the controls of the helicopter when the pilot was incapacitated and safely landed the aircraft saving the crew and passengers. He consistently demonstrated his courage by leading his troops against hostile forces at great personal risk to himself and prevailing. Bob, like all other true heroes, rarely discussed his actions in defense of his country and never sought recognition or prestige for all of his accomplishments. Bob continued his service to his country internationally by working as a government contractor in Saudi Arabia for over a decade. He served as a Brigade Commander for the Saudi Arabian National Guard and was part of the rescue operation in Somalia which was depicted in the film “Black Hawk Down.”.

After Bob finally retired, he enjoyed daily phone calls and text messages to his siblings and other friends and family members. Bob spent much of his time with his wife Nguyen and their beloved granddaughters. Bob was truly a pleasure to be around and his family will miss him dearly.

LTC Burke will be interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, November 18, 2019
  • Visitation Tuesday, November 19, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Memories

LTC Robert J. Burke Sr.

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Debbie Sepulveda

November 25, 2019

I did not personally have the privilege of knowing Robert; I do have the pleasure of knowing his daughter Juliette. Through Juliette's eyes I envision an accomplished, loving and open man who has a beautiful, kind and welcoming family. I pray for all that your memories help you through this time of loss.

JUSTIN MCCARTHY FAMILY

November 22, 2019

The McCarthy family's thoughts and prayers are with you all at this painful time. Although Bob was older than most of the McCarthys, your entire family held much of the same history and adventures as ours and your loss is our loss as well!.
God Bless you all!

Mary Burke

November 21, 2019

Sincere condolences to Robert,s wife and family and his sisters and brothers from his Irish relatives.
From the Burke and Barrins families
Co. Sligo, ireland

Greg Ohl

November 18, 2019

We have fond memories of spending time with Bob in Hawaii with our shared granddaughter Verona Burke, Eddy & Angela (Ohl) Burke.. My grandkids, Sam and Amelia Ohl enjoyed meeting him.

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