671st BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

2Lt. Walter James Burke Jr.

Pilot,  O-800465

Killed In Training - Sep 4, 1943

671st Bombardment Squadron (L)


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Pilot Wings        Missing Man

      Born: 02-Oct-1923, Naspeth, Long Island County, New York

Entered Military Service: From: Queens County, New York

Buried: Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, New York, Plot: D, 950A

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry

Aviation Cadet

Walter J. Burke, Jr.

Walter is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Burke of 90 Thelma avenue, Merrick, and is an aviation cadet. He recently reported to the Greenville (Miss.) army flying school for further flight training. After completion of the final phase of his schooling at another southeast army airforce center he will receive his"wings" and a commission as a second lieutenant.


Lake Charles Planes Collide, Killing Two

Lake Charles, Sept. 5 (AP). - The army air base reported here today that two light planes from this field collided during flight 10 miles south of Sulpher yesterday morning killing both pilots.

The dead are Lieut. Walter J. Burke, 90 Thelma avenue, Merric, N. Y. and Lieut. Robert W. Morton, 4347 East Douglas street, Whichita, Kan. They were the sole occupants of the planes.

Extracted from Newspapers.com

Nature of Accident: Mid-air collision resulting in complete destruction of two airplanes and death of both pilots.

Cause of Accident: Wing man cut tail off leader's airplane on re-assembling in formation.

About 1030 on the morning of September 4, on a local training mission, two planes collided in mid-air when they flew into a cloud. The pilots were 2nd Lt Walter J. Burke and 2nd Lt Robert W. Morton, with the 671st Bomb Squadron. They were the sole occupants of the A-20's.
(416th BG History 1943)

9-4-43C. Vinton, Louisiana. At 0830, two Douglas A-20G airplanes collided in mid-air eight an one-half miles south of Vinton, Louisiana, killing both pilots. 2Lt. Walter J. Burke, Jr. (42-53785) was killed in an unsuccessful parachute jump and 2Lt. Robert W. Morton crashed to the ground in his airplane (4254044). The airplanes were part of a three-ship formation training flight. 2Lt. Horace F. Pair witnessed the accident and later stated to investigators, "I was in number-two position. The lead ship [Lt. Burke] signaled for an echelon to the left. I peeled off to approximately 1,000 feet and went into a Lufbery circle. The lead ship started a long gradual climb and disappeared into a cloudbank. The second ship [Lt. Morton] followed, and I was the last to enter the cloud. While in the cloudbank I couldn't locate either of the other two ships. I pulled out of the cloudbank and started climbing. At approximately 4,000 feet, I located one of the ships [Lt. Burke] and he gave the signal to join the formation. [Lt. Burke] went into a gradual turn to the left. I was cutting inside to overtake him. When approximately 300 feet to the rear, slightly above and behind the lead ship, [Lt Morgan] came in from the left and passed between the lead ship and myself, the left wing striking the lead ship's tail, cutting it off. The lead ship fell to the left; the other ship disappeared to my right. I followed the lead ship down. The pilot had left the airplane. I made several low passes over the parachute and could see no signs of life."
(Mireles, Vol. 2, Pgs. 502-503)

See also AAR 44-9-4-8

Photos and Documents
Walter J. Burke
Walter J. Burke
The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) 06 Sep 1943, Mon Page 5
The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana) 06 Sep 1943, Mon Page 1
Interment Control Form
Interment Control Form
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry

Source information can be viewed at WWII Military Service Fatalities Sources

"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band