Peter H. Burks—April 2008 Shipment Honoree
In Remembrance of Peter H. BurksSource: Associated Press Miltary Times
Army 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks, 26, died Nov. 14 when his vehicle was hit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
Alan Burks of Celina said he wasn’t surprised that his son’s last actions involved checking on the five men with him. “He told me, over and over and over again, he said: ‘Dad, my job is to get my 17 guys home safe. Then after that I’ll get myself home safe,’ ” Burks said.
Peter Burks moved with his family to Dallas in 1987 and graduated from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison and Texas A&M University. He worked in marketing for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas.
“He’s as good as they come,” his father said. Alan Burks said his son had long talked about military service. “He felt the call to serve. He’d tried corporate life and he just said, ‘I have to go do this Dad. This is what I’ve got to do.’ ”
He joined the Army in 2006 and went to Officer Candidate School. He was deployed to Iraq about three months ago.
Besides his father, he is survived by his mother, Jackie Merck, of McKinney; his fiance; three sisters; a brother; a grandmother and a grandfather.
Peter Haskell Burks: Dallas soldier killed in Iraq was strong in body and mindSource: Joe Simnacher, Dallas Morning News
Throughout his life, 2nd Lt. Peter Haskell Burks was known as a dedicated team player, a trait he maintained as an Army troop leader in Iraq.
On Wednesday he was commanding a unit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Lt. Burks received shrapnel wounds to his head, and five of his men were injured.
“Peter’s first words when the explosion happened … he asked his men, ‘Are you OK?’ ” said his father, Alan Burks of Celina. “Then he said, ‘I’m OK.’ From what we’ve learned from the officers who were there, he was conscious for a short period of time.”
Lt. Burks, 26, died at the scene Wednesday. His body arrived Friday in Dover, Del., en route to Dallas from Iraq.
Lt. Burks’ last actions were no surprise to his father.
“He told me, over and over and over again, he said: ‘Dad, my job is to get my 17 guys home safe. … Then after that I’ll get myself home safe.’ ”
Born in Atlanta, he moved with his family to Dallas in 1987. He was a 1999 graduate of Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, where he was a member of the National Honor Society, played football and baseball, and belonged to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“He’s as good as they come,” Mr. Burks said. His son was physically and mentally strong as well as disciplined and committed, he said.
Lt. Burks was the ultimate teammate and a man of strong faith “who could always be counted on to do the right thing,” his father said.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2003. He worked in France as a tour guide for a year, before returning to Dallas and a community relations internship with the Dallas Cowboys. He went on to marketing work for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas, the Frisco-based soccer team.
Then he joined the Army.
“He’d been talking about military service since he was a very young man,” his father said. “He felt the call to serve. He’d tried corporate life and he just said, ‘I have to go do this Dad. This is what I’ve got to do.’ ”
He joined the Army in 2006. He excelled in training, receiving leadership awards and progressing to Officer Candidate School, where he was voted president of his class, his father said.
Lt. Burks was commissioned in October 2006 and sent to Fort Sill, Okla. In July, he was assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany.
He was deployed to Iraq about three months ago.
Lt. Burks “was like the perfect son,” said Daryl Davis, a family friend of 24 years. “He was the epitome of good and value.”
He wanted to serve his country and raise a family, Mr. Davis said.
Lt. Burks was engaged to Missy Haddad of McKinney.
In addition to his father, Lt. Burks is survived by his mother, Jackie Merck of McKinney; three sisters, Alison Burks of Celina, Sarah Burks of Dallas and Georgia Burks of Celina; a brother, Zac Burks of Celina; a grandmother, Irene Merck of Fayetteville, Ga.; and a grandfather, Haskell Burks of Fayetteville, Ga.
Pete BurksSource: Dallas Morning News
BURKS, , 2LT PETER HASKELL On November 13, 2007, while serving our great country, 2nd Lieutenant Peter “Pete” Burks was called home to eternal life. Pete was a man of great Faith, honor and courage, and is incredibly missed by everyone. He had the ability to light up any room with his glowing personality and quick sense of humor, and lived life with a passion admired by all. Born April 10, 1981, in Atlanta, GA, Pete brightened many lives in his 26 years. After graduating from Trinity Christian Academy in 1999, he attended the University of Georgia, then transferred to Texas A&M, where he completed a BA in international studies. During his time at A&M, Peter served as the president of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and was also a sportswriter for The Battalion, among other activities. After graduating, he worked as a tour guide in Nice, France, and also worked for the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Desperadoes and FC Dallas. He loved sharing the good word of Christ, and was very active in Young Life. In April 2006, Peter proudly answered his call to service by joining the U.S. Army. He received many honors in his training courses, and his fellow soldiers considered him a fearless leader and man of integrity. He served in the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment as a troop leader, and made a lasting, positive impression in his short time with his platoon.
I want to thank you and your committee that is honoring our Peter Burks this month. Seeing his face on your page of honorees brings tears to my eyes…tears of sadness because of the loss of his life and also the impact his death has had on his family/fiancée but also tears of proudness for his service and the faith he held onto to the end. We are SO proud of Pete and are thankful that groups like yours are willing to honor the fallen.
I worked with Jim (LHCP Vice President), while nominating Pete, and he was wonderful to work with. So a HUGE thank you to your organization for all you do!
(friend of the Burks family)
McKinney Messenger (second story)