Joseph Burkes

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
03 September 1947 - 25 April 1968
Detroit, Michigan
Panel 52E Line 003


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Joseph Burkes

15 November 2000


Who lives on in the hearts of family and friends

Joseph Burkes was born September 3, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Northern Senior High School, in June 1965. He entered the Armed Services, where he served as a Air Cargo Specialist in the Army and attained the rank of Specialist 4 (E4). He began a tour of duty in South Vietnam on October 19, 1967.

On April 25, 1968, at the age of 20 Joseph Burkes perished in the Service of our country in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.

A CH-47 Chinook belonging to Company C, 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, was sent out for a sling recovery of a downed UH-1 Huey. The Chinook was hit, shot down while hovering over the Huey, crashed, and burned, in the infamous A Shau Valley.

Cargo Specialist Joseph Burkes and four other men died as a result of the crash.

Joe was my first love, wonderful next door neighbor, and cherished friend to many. He now has a permanent address at the Vietnam Memorial, Panel 52E Line 003 ... and within the hearts and minds of his family and friends in Detroit, MI.

On behalf of the Daniels, Newton, Davis, Walker, Allen, Edwards, Cheney, Brown, Hall, and Silvers families, and ALL the many friends of the North End, East Euclid St ...

We will NEVER forget you!
Rest in His Care, Peace


12 Jul 2006

My uncle, CPL Jerry D. McManus, was a member of the crew that died along with Cargo Specialist Joseph Burkes. I never knew my uncle, but it makes me proud to read about him and the people who were around right before he died.

Kimberly McManus Bonnette
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The description of the incident given above is partially correct. The CH-47A, tail number 66-19080, departed Camp Evans to pick up a downed UH-1 via a sling lift. In addition to the normal aircrew, the CH-47 carried maintenance personnel and two air cargo specialists who would rig the sling. The location was northeast of the A Shau Valley, about 14 kilometers due north of A Luoi village.

Once the sling was rigged the CH-47 came to a hover overhead so it could be connected to the sling. As it hovered, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed, killing four crewmen and injuring others - but as it turns out SP4 Joseph Burkes wasn't killed when 66-19080 went down.

Later that day, at 1915H (7:15 pm local time), a UH-1 was "observed flying over an ARVN ground engagement with NVA. Hit by enemy fire, descending in flames. Received more enemy fire while descending, with main rotor head and transmission separating prior to impact. A/C hit flat and was totally consumed by fire."

The 1st Battalion, 26th Marines was tasked to respond to the downed aircraft and by 10 pm had airlifted a platoon to the crash site. A preliminary search failed to find any survivors, and the Marines established a defensive perimeter around the aircraft while awaiting sunrise. At 0930 26 April the 1/26 Marines reported they had identified the aircraft as BuNo 154761, found a pilot's kneepad with the name "Cawley" on it, and recovered six bodies from the wreckage. The six bodies subsequently were identified as four aircrewmen from Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6) and two soldiers: SP4 Joseph Burkes and PFC Ronald J. Campbell. The two men apparently had obtained a lift from the Marines in order to get to Quang Tri Airfield.

Ten men died in the two separate incidents:

  • In UH-1E BuNo 154761, 11 kilometers east-northeast of Quang Tri Airfield:
    • Capt James P. Cawley, Scranton, PA, VMO-6, pilot
    • 1stLt Robert C. Kimmel, East Islip, NY, VMO-6, copilot
    • Pfc Edgar C. Laye, Chicago, IL, VMO-6, crewman
    • Pfc Brock R. Schramm, San Carlos, CA, VMO-6, crewman
    • SP4 Joseph Burkes, Detroit, MI, 561st Trans Co, passenger
    • PFC Ronald J. Campbell, Philadelphia, PA, 561st Trans Co, passenger

  • In CH-47A 66-19080, 25 kilometers southwest of Camp Evans Airfield:
    • SP5 Bolen P. McGee, Osceola, AR, C Co, 228th ASHB
    • CPL Linden D. Eiler, Peru, IN, C Co, 228th ASHB
    • CPL Jerry D. McManus, Atlanta, LA, C Co, 228th ASHB
    • PFC Kenneth H. Delp, Los Angeles, CA, C Co, 228th ASHB

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Nov 2000
Last updated 06/25/2007