Sunday, August 14, 2016

Phillip Ray Burke, BHS 1941


Burbank Review, January 1962

Services will be held Friday at noon for former Burbank High School student body president and Purple Heart  recipient Phillip R. Burke. Rites will be held at the Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

Mr. Burke died Monday, January 1, 1962 at the age of 38. He had resided at 943 Bethany Road and had lived in Burbank for 33 years. 

He was graduated from Burbank High School in 1941. While there he won the high school speech contest and was "Mayor" of Burbank for a day, when he was a senior.
He was president of the Knights and Ladies, master councilor of De Molay, and a member of the debating team. He was graduated from the University of Southern California in 1948.

While serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, he was honored with the Legion of Valor, Navy Cross, British Distinguished Service Medal, and the Purple Heart.

He also held membership in the Alumni Club of USC, Burbank Gray-Y, Greater Los Angeles Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi Fraternity and Marine Corps Association.

He is survived by his widow, Mildred G. Burke; sons, Phillip Michael, Christian Benjamin; daughters, Jennie Ellen, Susan G., all of Burbank; father, Roy E. Burke of Mariposa; mother, Mrs. Helen Hansen of San Pedro, brother, Roy E. Burke of Anaheim.

Interment will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California. Eckerman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Read his Navy Cross Citation below:


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Phillip Ray Burke (350206), Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving as a Squad Leader of Company A, First Battalion, Eighteenth Marines, SECOND Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces At Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, on 20 November 1943. Wounded while landing on the beach during the initial assault, Corporal Burke immediately organized a group of men and, despite heavy enemy machine-gun and rifle fire, gallantly attacked hostile positions with TNT charges until the ammunition was depleted. Sustaining further wounds the following day, he continued on in the action and courageously threw himself on an enemy hand grenade to save the lives of members of his section, receiving serious wounds in his right arm. By his indomitable fighting spirit, Corporal Burke contributed materially to the success of our operations, and his devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
SPOT AWARD, Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces: Serial 01489

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