The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
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 I, Third Battalion, Twenty Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam on 17 May 1968. While on operation ALLEN BROOK, Company I was approaching a dry river bed with a heavily wooded treeline that bordered 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, Private First Class Burke, without hesitation, seized his machine gun and launched a series of one man assaults against the fortified emplacement. 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 on opposing automatic weapons emplacement and poured intense fire into the position, killing three North Vietnamese soldiers as they attempted to flee. Private First Class 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. 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. Private First Class Burke's gallant action upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Richard M. Nixon
President of the United States
Robert C. Burke, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in May 1968, was born 7 November 1949, in Monticello, Illinois, and attended Monticello Elementary and High Schools.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in Chicago, Illinois, 17 March 1967, and was discharged to enlist in the regular Marine Corps on 16 May 1967.
Upon completion of recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, on 20 July 1967, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. He completed individual combat training with Company Q, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, in August 1967, and was promoted to private first class, 1 September 1967.
From September 1967 until January 1968, he was a student with the Motor Transport School, Student Company, Schools Battalion. This was followed by duty as a motor vehicle mechanic with Headquarters and Service Company, 5th Military Police Battalion, 5th Marine Division, Camp Pendleton.
In February 1968, he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he served with Company I, 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was killed in action on 17 May 1968, while on Operation Allen Brook with Company I, in the hamlet of Le Nam, Go Nai Island, Southern Quang Nam Province.
A complete list of his medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Military Merit Medal, the Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
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