1Lt FRANCIS X. BURKE
15th Inf. 3rd ID
17 April 1945.
1Lt Burke was involved in operations engaged in rooting out fanatical defenders Nuremberg, considered the citadel of Nazism.
As Bn Transportation Officer, 1Lt Burke went forward to reconnoiter a forward motor-pool site. His desire to get in the fight led him to advance beyond the safety of his own lines, forward of the leading element of his unit
Discovering a squad of approx. ten Germans preparing for a counter-attack, he rushed back to American lines, secured a light machinegun, and some hand grenades then attacked the unsuspecting enemy.
Another German machinegun tried to blast him, but 1st Lt. Burke killed the gun-crew and sent the remaining enemy troops running for cover. Burke then focused his attention on enemy entrenched in nearby ruins.
The LT ran more than 100 yards through intense fire to engage the enemy from behind an abandoned tank. A German sniper took a few shots at him, but Burke ran directly at the sniper, firing a full clip into his position. Apparently, Burke was accurate – The sniper did not survive.
He withdrew from the fight only long enough to rearm before he re-engaged the Germans. Burke pulled the pins from 2 grenades, holding 1 in each hand, Burke rushed an enemy-held building, hurling grenades into the enemy position just as the enemy threw a potato masher grenade at him.
The Germans were wiped out by the three explosions, and Burke was wounded, but he emerged from the rubble and went on to kill five more Germans. He then pulled back to the American lines, where he assisted a platoon in a raging, 30-minute fight against enemy forces.
The last line of 1Lt Burkes Medal of Honor certificate reads as follows,
“In 4 hours of heroic action, 1st Lt. Burke single-handedly killed 11 and wounded three enemy soldiers and took a leading role in engagements in which an additional 29 enemy were killed or wounded. His extraordinary bravery and superb fighting skill were an inspiration to his comrades, and his entirely voluntary mission into extremely dangerous territory hastened the fall of Nuremberg, in his battalion’s sector.”
* Frank Burke made that last muster on 6 September 1988 at the age of 69.