Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Army 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks

Remember Our Heroes

Army 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks, 26, of Dallas

2nd Lt. Burks was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany; died Nov. 14, 2007 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

McKinney Courier Gazette -- For 2nd Lt. Peter Haskell Burks, his decision to serve his country in the Army was a long time in the making.

“Peter and I had had conversations for years going back to his adolescent and young teen years that he an interest and calling to serve his country,” said his father, Alan Burks.

While commanding a unit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad on Wednesday, his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Peter, 26, received shrapnel wounds to his head and died at the scene. Five of his men were also injured.

While worried about the dangers of Peter serving, Burks said he was happy for his son for pursuing his dreams.

“I was anxious but excited for him at the same time because he was doing what he wanted to do,” Burks said. “He had found his calling and followed it.”

Burks said Peter wasn’t afraid of what was ahead of him, and was prepared for any sacrifices he had to make.

“Because he had a very strong faith in God, he felt like he was protected,” Burks said. “Should the worst come and death come his way, he was prepared for that.”

Peter was born in Atlanta, Ga., and moved to Dallas in 1987. He graduated in 1999 from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, where he played football and baseball and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2003. He spent time in France working as a tour guide, and had a community relations internship with the Dallas Cowboys. Before joining the Army, he worked in marketing for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas, the Frisco-based soccer team.

Andy Harvey, a family friend, said he remembers Peter’s maturity, even when he was a young boy.

“When Peter was growing up, he was like a little adult,” Harvey said. “He was very grounded, very serious.”

Harvey said Peter was the type of person who wanted to do good things for others.

“Peter was always looking for a way to make a difference in the world, very sincerely was always looking for that,” Harvey said.

Peter is survived by his father; mother Jackie Merck of McKinney; three sisters, Alison Burks of Celina, Sarah Burks of Dallas and Georgia Burks of Celina; brother Zac Burks of Celina; grandmother Irene Merck of Fayetteville, Ga.; grandfather Haskell Burks of Fayetteville, Ga., and fianc/e Melissa Haddad of McKinney.

Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Friday at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco.

Burks and Harvey said Peter will be missed by many people.

“Peter’s death — he’s going to leave a big empty space, a big hole in the world,” Harvey said.

Burks said his son was a good brother, son and friend to many.

“He was the complete package and there was nothing artificial about him,” he said. “He was the real deal.”

Army 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks was killed in action on 11/14/07.

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