Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN
An Inventory of His Collection in the Navy Department Library

Table of Contents

Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement of the Records

Detailed Description of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Collections

Administrative Information


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Navy Department Library
Creator: Arleigh Albert Burke, 1891-1996
Title: Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Collection
Dates: 1924-1974 (Inclusive)
Dates: 1943-1974 (Bulk)
Quantity: 1 letter size archival box, 1 oversized folder
Abstract: The assortment of certificates, ephemera, message flimsies (including a complete set of messages received during the Battle of the Philippine Sea), miscellaneous documents from the personal papers of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke.

Return to the Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Arleigh Albert Burke was born far from sea in Boulder, Colorado on 19 October 1901. On 8 June 1923, he graduated from the US Naval Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy. He married Miss Roberta Gorsuch of Washington, DC.

Throughout his professional career, Admiral Burke had prepared himself for combat with the enemy having served in battleships and destroyers, and earning a Master of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan. Then, when World War II came, he found himself, to his great disappointment, in a shore billet at the Naval Gun Factory [Washington Navy Yard] in Washington, DC. After persistent effort on his part, he received orders to the South Pacific where, under Admiral Halsey, he successively commanded Destroyer Division 43, Destroyer Division 44, Destroyer Squadron 12, and Destroyer Squadron 23. This latter squadron, known as the "Little Beavers," covered the initial landings in Bouganville in November 1943, and fought in 22 separate engagements during the next four months. During this period, the "Little Beavers," were credited with destroying one Japanese cruiser, nine destroyers, one submarine, several smaller ships, and approximately 30 aircraft.

From Destroyer Command in the South Pacific, he reported in March of 1944 as Chief of Staff to Commander, Fast Carrier Task Force, Admiral Marc Mitscher. While serving with this famed carrier force, Burke was promoted to Commodore, and participated in all its naval engagements until June 1945 shortly before the surrender of Japan. He was aboard both USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) when they were hit by Japanese suicide planes during the Okinawa campaign.

At the outbreak of the Korean war, Admiral Forrest Sherman, then Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), ordered Admiral Burke to duty as Deputy Chief of Staff to Commander Naval Forces, Far East. From there, he assumed command of Cruiser Division Five, and in July 1951 he became a member of the United Nations Truce Delegation to negotiate with the People's Republic of China and North Korea to establish military armistice in Korea. After six months in the truce tents, he returned to the Office of Chief of Naval Operations where he served as Director of Strategic Plans Division until 1954.

In April 1954, he took command of Cruiser Division Six, and in January 1955 assumed command of Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet in which capacity he served until he succeeded Admiral Robert B. Carney as CNO in August 1955. Burke served an unprecedented three terms as CNO duty before being transferred to the Retired List on 1 August 1961.

Arleigh Burke’s life as a civilian continued to be busy and fulfilling. Following several months of needed inactivity, he entered the business world by agreeing to join the boards of several major corporations, including the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and Texaco Oil. In addition, he worked to establish the Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Serving as its chairman for some fifteen years, Burke helped craft it into a respected Washington “thinktank”.

Burke died on New Year’s Day, 1996 at the age of 94. Eulogized by President William Clinton and both current and former senior Navy leaders during a service at the Naval Academy Chapel on 4 January, he was buried at the Academy’s picturesque cemetery at Hospital Point.

Admiral Burke received numerous combat awards during his forty-two years in the Navy including the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart. But none was more cherished than two awards which came early in his career. In 1928 while serving aboard USS Procyon (AK-19), he was commended for the "rescue of shipwrecked and seafaring men," and in 1939 while serving in his first command, USS Mugford (DD-389), he was commended when his destroyer obtained an unprecedented perfect score during short-range battle practice, thereby winning the Destroyer Gunnery Trophy for 1939-1940.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of his official commission in the US Navy, honorary certificates, membership cards, and miscellaneous ephemera collected by Admiral Burke after the end of World War II. A small, but significant part of the collection consists of the personal copies of official message flimsies sent and received by Admiral Burke during the Battle of the Philippine Sea 13 June to 22 June 1944.

Return to the Table of Contents


Arrangement of the Records

These records are divided by subject matter and size. Smaller items are arranged by subject in a standard letter size archival box; larger items are housed in map draw no. 9.

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

Awards

Silver Quill Award, 1960

Letters and notes

Notes on Admiral Burke's message to Admiral Hopwood sent via Moon relay[date]
Letter to Capt. Crump of 12 November 1958 regarding is command of USS Assurance (MSO-521)
Copy of typed letter to Captain Maynard dated 22 April 1957, thanking him for his support of Admiral Burke's nomination to be Chief Naval Operator of Nuclear Reactor Simulator. License No. 1 included in collection.
A green notebook containing "to do" lists, dated 23 July 1946.

Letters Forwarding Commissions

Letter dated 12 July 1946 regarding his commission in the regular Navy.
Letter dated 12 April 1948 regarding his permanent appointment.
Letter dated 12 May 1952 regarding his permanent appointment as Rear Admiral.

Programs and Invitations to Official Ceremonies

Program for the Visit of Task Group 44.7 to Rio De Janeiro, November 1943
Invitation to Presidential Inauguration, 21 January 1957
Invitation to Inaugural Ball, 21 January 1957
Program for Naval Academy Association of New York 48th Annual Dinner, 19 April 1974
Setting chart for Naval Academy Association of New York 48th Annual Dinner, 19 April 1974
Funeral Ceremonies for General of the Army Douglas MacAthur, 1964   

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England, 1953

Schedule of Events for US Naval Personnel Attending
Program for US Special Delegations
Coronation Ticket for Rear Admiral A. A. Burke
British Railway Map for Coronation

Page from chart folio showing route taken from the United States to Europe.

Miscellaneous Ephemera

Broadside - The Death of Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, US Navy from Congressional Record
Broadside - Tribute to Adm. Arleigh A. Burke from Congressional Record
Chart folio of trip to Europe - 1959
License to Hunt Japanese [WWII humor]
Miscellaneous membership cards and certificates for a variety of honorary military fraternities, e.g., Order of the Nuclear Navy, Society of Submarine Hunters, etc.

Photographs

Admiral Burke with the Marines in Korea, c. 1951
Admiral Burke with unidentified women and unidentified man at Forrestal Dinner, 21 March 1974

Message Flimsies

Message from Admiral William Halsey to Burke, regarding Burke's command of DESRON 23, dated 21 March 1944.
Message Flimsy Binders Collected during the Battle of the Philippine Sea marked "Adm. Arleigh A. Burke Persona"l:
     CTF 58 Operations 13-21 Jun 44 MSGS
     CTF 58 Operations 16-22 Jun 44 MSGS
     CTF 58 Operations 17-22 Jun 44

Oversize Certificates [in map draw no. 9]

"Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty" certificate to Admiral Burke from Vice Admiral Hayward, no date.
Certificate of appointment as Ensign dated 4 March 1924, signed by President Coolidge.
Certificate of appointment as Lieutenant dated 2 October 1930, signed by President Hoover.
Certificate of appointment as Lieutenant dated 31 December 1930, signed by President Hoover.
Crossing the Line certificate dated 22 October 1937 on USS Craven (DD-382).
Certificate of appointment as Lieutenant Commander dated 23 January 1939, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Certificate of appointment as Commander dated 16 February 1943, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Certificate of appointment as Captain dated 1 May 1943.
Crossing the Line certificate, Order No.1 & 2, dated 30 September 1948 on USS Huntington (CL-107).
Certificate of appointment as Rear Admiral dated 15 July 1950.
Happy Birthday certificate from crew of USS "Apple Orchard," [The "Apple Orchard" was a nickname for the armistice negotiations site at Mansan-Ni, Korea, located south of Panmunjom.] dated 19 October 1951.
Certificate as honorary member of Destroyer Force US Atlantic Fleet, dated 17 June 1955.
Certificate of enrollment in the Mine Force US Atlantic Fleet, dated 25 February 1956.
Plank Owner certificate dated 7 September 1956, USS Barry (DD-933).
Certificate designating Admiral Burke Naval Ordnance Engineer dated 29 May 1957.
Ephemera - typed "Old Goats" quote with personal handwritten note from Admiral Burke, after 1957.
Certificate of appointment as Chief of Naval Operations dated 12 August 1959, signed by President Eisenhower.
Honorary Plank Owner certificate dated 17 September 1959, USS Providence (CLG-6).
Certificate naming Mrs. Burke Destroyer Lady of the Destroyer Force, US Atlantic Fleet, dated 5 July 1960.
Certificate making Burke an Honorary Member of the Amphibious Force US Pacific Fleet, dated 20 October 1960.
Deep Dive Diploma dated 15 November 1960.
Certificate from state of Nebraska making Admiral Burke an Admiral in the state's navy, dated 25 April 1961.
Certificate titled Realm of Project Mercury Recovery Program, dated 5 May 1961.
Typed, signed farewell letter "To the Officers and Men of the United States Navy," dated 10 July 1961[original has not been located].
Certificate titled Esteemed Order of Bearers of the Master Key to the Panama Canal, dated 15 July 1961.
Certificate from state of North Carolina making Admiral Burke an Admiral in the state's navy, dated 24 April 1962. 
Certificate titled Testimonial of Appreciation for "Distinguished Service on the Board" of Foster Wheeler Corporation, dated 25 March 1974

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

Manuscripts are unavailable for loan and must be consulted in the library. Photocopying of manuscripts is generally prohibited, though the use of digital cameras by researchers to reproduce non-copyrighted materials is permitted. Permission to photocopy a limited number of pages may be granted by the reference staff, contingent upon the physical state of items. All photocopying of materials shall be done by the reference staff, or under their close supervision. The use of personal scanners by non-library staff personnel must be approved by the reference staff on a document-by-document basis (Reference: Naval Historical Center Instruction [NAVHISTCENTINST] 5070.1C.).

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Personal subject:

Burke, Arleigh A.

Subject term:

Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926- -- Coronation
Military ceremonies, honors, and salutes
Philippine Sea, Battle of 1944
Sailors, manners and customs

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Collections

The Papers of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, 1942-1952, are housed in the Operational Archives, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC, Admiral Arleigh Burke Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in January 2011.

Return to the Table of Contents