John Roland Burke

United States Marine Corps
06 February 1944 - 06 June 1967
Clearwater, Florida
Panel 21E Line 060

Navy Cross

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Military Merit, RVN Cross of Gallantry, RVN Campaign
John R Burke

The database page for John Roland Burke

23 Apr 2001

Greater love hath no man than this:
that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Corporal John Roland Burke was awarded the


for gallantry in action.

From one who remembers,
Patricia Lee Cannella

Navy Cross






For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Sniper Team Leader with Headquarters and Service Company, First Battalion, 26th Marines, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam on 6 June 1967. Assigned the mission of defending an outpost on Hill 950 at Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, Corporal Burke's team was taken under attack by a numerically superior enemy force. During the initial assault, Corporal Burke was wounded by an enemy grenade. Ignoring his wound, he administered first aid to a severely wounded comrade and placed him in a relatively safe position, covering the wounded man with his own body to protect him from further injury. Heeding a call for help from outside the bunker, he unhesitatingly went to the aid of another Marine. While he and a companion were moving the man to the security of the bunker an enemy grenade exploded, knocking him and his comrade into the bunker. Although seriously wounded, he moved the wounded man to a tunnel to protect him from the devastating enemy fire. With all his team members casualties, Corporal Burke unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own safety armed himself with grenades, and shouting words of encouragement to his men, stormed from the bunker in a valiant one-man assault against the enemy positions. While firing his weapon and throwing grenades at the enemy positions, Corporal Burke was mortally wounded. By his dauntless courage, bold initiative and devotion to duty, he was instrumental in stopping the enemy attack and saving his men from possible further injury or death, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and the United States Marine Corps and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

15 May 2003

I was really touched by what I read and I hope you are resting in peace!!! Thank you so much for saying what you said about him.

From a browser who read a very touching story,

13 Sep 2003

Corporal John Burke

Always felt you were special ... shy and humble, but even in school there was a glimpse of your leadership and inner strength. Thank you, John, for your extreme sacrifice and please know we all feel forever indebted to you.

From someone who sat behind you.

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10 Nov 2003

Other exploits by John Burke are highlighted in a book about Sergeant Carlos Hathcock titled "Marine Sniper". These were truly courageous Marines.

From a grateful American.
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26 Jan 2004

I just want to pay my respects to you, John Burke, for what you did in the Corps. I truly thank you for everything. I hope that one day I will be honored to meet you, my brother and fellow Marine. Rest in peace Sir.

Allen Deleon
Corporal, USMC

19 Nov 2005

I am truely sorry, Cpl Burke. I haven't come to visit you in a while. It's been around two years since I've first posted on here. I am 9 days late, I know but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I know you were having a ball in heaven with C. Hathcock, and your brothers of past. I will see you soon, brother... but not that soon.

Allen Deleon

7 Mar 2004

Thank you, John Burke, for all that you have done for your country and the USMC. You will be remembered as a great Marine and you will never be forgotten.

Van Eno
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12 Mar 2004

No one could have done a better job than you and Carlos Hathcock. You guys will live in the hearts of all Marines and fellow snipers.


5 Apr 2004

Cpl John Burke - your courage is undaunting and I can only hope that others will always feel grateful for what you have done, I know I am. Thank you for your Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

From a fellow serviceman,
Andrew Webber
Airman 1st Class, USAF

4 Jun 2004

This is the man that every one should honor as a true hero, I wish they wrote a book about his whole life. But I did get to hear a lot about him in Carlos Hathcock's books MARINE SNIPER and SILENT WARRIOR. Read them and then you will know more about him, he is my true idol. God bless him, and his family.

From his great fan,
John Jensen

7 Jun 2004

Cpl John R. Burke and LCpl Mitch Stupar made the ultimate sacrifice on the night of June 6, 1967. In doing so, they saved the lives of LCpl Thomas Balk and LCpl Carter, a fellow Scout/Sniper team. These two men told me, had it not been for Cpl Burke and LCpl Stupar they too would have been killed in action on Hill 950. LCpl Balk and LCpl Carter were medevaced out of Khe Sanh on June 7, 1967, due to their wounds. Cpl John R. Burke and LCpl Mitch Stupar worked as a team and died as a team.

+++ SEMPER FI! +++

From the Chief Scout - Scout/Sniper Plt, H&S Co. 1/26,
Sgt. Johnnie E. (Chief) Cata

17 Feb 2005

I never know John that much but I read "Silent Warrior" and learned what he did for his men that day. May you rest well. I hope there are Marines like John out there right now in the Middle East.

From a fan,
Carlos Terry

27 Mar 2005

I have read the book "Marine Sniper", which shows the true courage and devotion to duty of this Marine. We will always remember you for your service and your courage.
+ Rest in Peace +

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14 May 2005

Though I'm just a kid, I have almost finished reading the book Marine Sniper. Burke, you were a very brave man, I look up to you and Sgt. Hathcock, for I too wish to become a USMC sniper. Your bravery will live with me for the rest of my days, and I will be sure that my kids read about you. You truly are a legend.

From person who was moved by your heroism,
Travis Vanhoose

28 Sep 2005

I have just finished reading Marine Sniper and I was amazed by it. I would like to say that I respect Mr. Hathcock and Mr. Burke deeply for their amazing bravery, courage, sacrifice, love and dedication to the Marine Corps and their Marine brothers who served under their command and along side them. Mr. Burke and Mr. Hathcock are true men of valor along with all the soldiers who have fought to keep this country and its people free and safe. I hope to one day have and show the same courage these men did while serving their country. My thoughts are with Mr. Burke's family and I am sorry for their loss. I thank Mr. Burke and his comrades for their sacrifice. (I will finish reading Silent Warrior soon.)

Travis Aslakson

07 Nov 2005

I would just like to pay some respect to a man I feel who was not only a true Marine but also a true hero. Thank you, though no thanks could ever be enough.

Chris Kerekanich

20 Nov 2005

Reading about his service in Vietnam has truly touched me. When many others his age were protesting the war and looking down on people like him I can't help but feel his loss as even more of a tragedy.

I know his family must feel tremendous pain but I hope they understand that this country was built by men like John and from time-to-time men like John are needed to protect our way of life from those who resent it and would obliterate it.

American society is lost. Movie stars and sports stars are lauded and worshiped like gods. It is men like John who are the true heroes. Living and dying. Simply and without fanfare.

I want John's family to know that I will have my daughter read the stories about him so that she too understands the courage and values that real men live by.

I had the honor of having met Carlos while I was stationed at the Special Warfare Base in Little Creek. Through Carlos, I feel I caught a glimpse of the type of man John was.

With John and Carlos together again, God must have his hands full...


23 Apr 2006

I noticed at the bottom of this page it says 6 Marines were killed during the attack on Hill 950. If you hadn't given your life imagine how many more would've been killed. We all love you John, and I can't wait till I get to heaven and meet you and Carlos, and all the other brave Marines and soldiers who died serving our country.

Semper Fi
from a soon-to-be Marine
Brandon Burnette

03 May 2006

John, it's been 39 years but it seems like yesterday. Memories of that night/morning will forever be with me. I don't know why God choose to save some and let others die but that question will be answered when we meet him.

You are not forgotten bro!

From a fellow Marine on that hill,
David Buffalo

06 Jul 2007

I read the biographies of the late Carlos Hathcock last year and learned about a very special person, John Burke. I know he has passed but I just wanted to say "Thank You, Mr Burke, for your service and Honor to The Corps".


18 May 2007

Corporal Burke, I wish I could have met you, my father GySgt Carlos Hathcock Senior talked about you often and how proud he was of you, now you both are in heaven protecting our gates. Thanks to you and the service of my father I joined the Marines. I am still proud of the service of you and my father. You two looked great together. I wish I could have met you. My Father was very upset by your death, but by the leadership he taught you, you knew what you were doing and you saved the lives of many, many other fellow Marine.

Carlos N. Hathcock Jr
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17 Jul 2007

Thank you.

From a U. S. Army veteran,
Randy Lemcke
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28 Aug 2007

Although I never got the chance to join the Marine Corps I have done everything I could to be like a Marine to the best of my abilities. When I read the books Marine Sniper and Silent Warrior, it brought a whole new meaning to me of what a true Marine is. Mr. Burke, sir, you and Mr Hathcock are truly heroes. You are my hero! Thank you so much for the sacrifice you nade for this great country. If I would have had a chance to be a Marine, I hope I could have walked in your footsteps. My prayers go out to your family and fellow Marines. I hope to see you some day in heaven.

From a humble civilian,
Mark Waldrop
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24 Oct 2007

John, it has been forty years since our family got the call from the Marines telling us of your death, everyone in our immediate family, Mother, Father and brother Bill, have passed away. You will always be my baby brother and I still miss you and remember you growing up.

You were truly a hero and through our sadness we were very proud of you. It will be a great day when we meet again in heaven.

Love from your sister,
Jerry Burke Bouchard
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A Note from The Virtual Wall

Six men were killed in the attack on Hill 950 described above:
  • A Co, 3rd Recon Bn:
    • Cpl David F. Sherrell, Woodland Hills, CA
    • Cpl Dale L. Speir, North Baltimore, OH
    • Cpl Howard H. Withey, Fayetteville, AR

  • HQ Co, 26th Marines:
    • LCpl Larry E. Lawrence, Brunswick, GA (Silver Star)

  • H&S Co, 1st Bn, 26th Marines:

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Jerry Burke Bouchard
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 Apr 2001
Last updated 06/09/2008