Taps for a Warrior

Frederick M. Burr, USA, retired, passed away today at 2:55 p.m. Mountain Time at age 91. He was my father-in-law.

He became acquainted with the Army while traveling as a very young man when he visited an uncle who was on Gen. MacArthur’s staff in the Philippines. When World War II broke out, he joined Patton’s Army, serving as a sergeant on the staff of his Regimental Combat Team Commander in Europe. After the war, he became a Warrant Officer in Military Intelligence; in that capacity, he served in Vietnam, bracketed in his wartime tour by two stepsons, also in the Army.

He later served with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, in the early 1970s. CW4 Burr interviewed returning POWs from Vietnam and continued to serve in the Army until he was well-past retirement age, having been granted special dispensation due to his intelligence skills and knowledge.

When he did retire, he held the distinction of being the oldest, longest serving Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army. After retiring from the Army, he remained active in military and veterans affairs and national security organizations and even accomplished something he never had time for as a younger man–he finished college.

A couple of years ago, Fred joined my wife and my Father (along with a friend and my brother) on a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the new World War II Memorial. It was a gift my wife and I gave both our Dads, since both were World War II-Korea-Vietnam Veterans. We also visited the memorials from those two wars. For the occasion, we outfitted both Dads in caps conveying their triple-war service, and it was great to watch all their fellow veterans, young and old, as well as active duty personnel and civilians, come up to thank them for their service.

Fred was a proud man, an old school gentleman and as loyal an American patriot as anyone who ever lived. He lived a good, long life and will be fondly remembered by his large family and many friends. The nation and all of us who live in freedom, owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.

I salute you, Fred. It was an honor to be your son-in law. Rest in peace. You’ve certainly earned it.

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