Retired Aug. 1, 1982.
Lieutenant General Kelly H. Burke is deputy chief of staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Burke was born in Mobile, Ala., in 1929. He graduated from Auburn (Ala.) University in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree in history and received a master of science degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1968. General Burke is a graduate of the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Royal Air Force Staff College, Royal Air Force Station Brachnell, England; Naval War College, Newport, R.I.; and Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
General Burke initially served on active duty with the U.S. Navy from June 1946 to April 1948. Following graduation from Auburn University as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, he entered active duty with the U.S. Air Force, serving first with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. General Burke later completed pilot training as a distinguished graduate.
His initial flying assignment was at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where he was a pilot and aircraft commander in the C-121 transport. He then transferred to Yokota Air Base, Japan, as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot flying WB-50 weather reconnaissance aircraft. He then moved to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as operations officer of the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. In June 1962 he was assigned as a legislative liaison specialist in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
From 1967 to 1968, General Burke was a student at the Naval War College. Upon graduation he was assigned to Thailand as an EC-121 aircraft commander with the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, and as U.S. Air Force liaison officer with the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Thailand in Bangkok.
General Burke was stationed in England from November 1969 to August 1971,as an exchange officer with the Royal Air Force, serving as senior U.S. Air Force adviser to the Royal Air Force Staff College, where he also completed the prescribed curriculum.
In August 1971 General Burke was assigned to the Strategic Air Command for the first time as assistant deputy commander for maintenance, 410th Bombardment Wing, K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich. From June to September 1972, he served in a temporary duty status as vice commander, 43rd Strategic Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. General Burke then returned to the 410th Bombardment Wing as vice commander. He was assigned as commander of the 379th Bombardment Wing, Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Mich., in January 1973. General Burke assumed command of SAC's largest wing, the 2nd Bombardment Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in July 1974. He was assigned to SAC headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as assistant deputy chief of staff, plans, in June 1975 and become deputy chief of staff, plans, in September 1977. In October 1978 General Burke was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the director of operational requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition. He assumed his present duty in November 1979.
He is a command pilot with more than 8,000 flying hours including 775 combat hours in a variety of aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation emblem and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with oak leaf cluster.
General Burke was promoted to lieutenant general Nov. 1, 1979, with same date of rank.