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Gilbert N. Burke


My grandfather, Gilbert Burke, passed away earlier this month [March, 2016]. He and my grandmother practically raised me for many years of my childhood. I have many fond memories of them, including stories from my grandfather about working with the targeting computers for Nike missiles at White Sands in New Mexico. He would have been stationed there sometime between 1955 and 1957, before he was honorably discharged from the US Army. He had lots of interesting stories about life on the base that included things like a dead rattlesnake in the bunk of man who had a tendency of skipping out on patrols to take naps (everyone got an earful - a rattlesnake can still bite you after it's dead), and possibly a test missile that wound up in a cemetery in Mexico, where it definitely was not supposed to be.

By the time I was old and educated enough to know what kinds of questions I'd love to ask him about his work at White Sands, and a plethora of other things, he had developed Alzheimer's Disease, which ultimately led to his passing earlier this month. In trying to find out everything I can, and was delighted to have found the Nike Historical Society website. Now I know what this 'Oozlefinch' thing he mentioned from time to time is!

I'm trying to gather as much information as I can, and was wondering if anyone at the Nike Historical Society (or any associates) have any kind of roster, records, or photos of my grandfather, Gilbert N. Burke's, time at White Sands.

Thank you for providing the website to the public. I've already learned a great deal, and I imagine my grandfather would have had some interesting bullet points to add, especially, to the 'Nike Site Dangers' page - possibly including, "Someone forgot to record that third successful missile launch, you might not all get to go on leave to Vashon Island."

Thank you very much for your time, and have a nice day!

Emily A. Burke