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"To lead is not about trying your hardest to prove one's admiration or formality, it's the stuff you naturally have inside you. All you have to do is be genuine."-Vice Admiral William H. Burke
William Harry Burke was a Vice-admiral of the United Nations Space Command Navy. He was well commemorated for his service during the notorious anti-piracy operations and overseeing the development for the longsword initiative and deployments of naval assets during the Epsilon naval war exercises as well as administrating the Reach maritime defense fleet. Burke was a key figure who made up the UNSC Naval command holding the position of Vice Chief of Naval Operations from October 5th, 2470 until the changing of command on June 11th, 2472. He is married to former politician Maria Kestle Burke.
Burke was born in the inner colony world of Reach on September 15th, 2412. Many described Burke as an independent, but yet affable individual. He excelled in his academics which granted him admission to the UNSC Naval Academy where he obtained a bachelor's in aeronautical engineering and proceeded to attend the naval surface warfare officer school. His father was the CEO of Reach Galactic Airlines and his mother was a former pilot for the UNSC Air Force. Coming as an only child with a very wealthy childhood, Burke was well respected in his community for helping others in need over himself and was found having a deep affection with animals in which he established the "roof over head" foundation just at the age of 12 which was recognized to shelter stray animals. His outstanding amiability grabbed the attention of former captain Micheal Bradley who Burke looked up to as a mentor and inevitably made him have a passion for joining the UNSC.
"He told me he wanted to be the best pilot there ever was like his mom when I've met him at just twelve years old. I didn't see that in him, instead all I have seen was a young man with a pure heart who will go out of his way to put others first and become the finest leader to be apart of us. I guess you can say I told you so."
-admiral Micheal Bradley
Upon completion of ascertaining his bachelors, Burke received a commission and went foreword to become a Jian fighter pilot for the UNSC Navy. Attending the Jian flight academy at Tribute, he received the top stick reward for his exceptional skills as a fighter pilot and navigator and was assigned to the 111th Naval Air Squadron before almost being medically discharged in his duties after a training accident involving a civilian freighter in which the civilian pilots were found to be intoxicated. Thinking that this will determine the end of his naval career, he was approached by admiral Bradley who offered him a unique position as a navigator aboard the UNSC Terrance.
Even in his early career as a navigator aboard the Terrance, Many described his actions to go even beyond a traditional navigator taking leadership roles at times and often boosting moral during dire circumstances while still performing to the highest degree. This captivated the attention of the captain going as far as to write a letter to UNSC high command of his disposition to promote him to a more prestigious and suitable position as an executive officer aboard the UNSC Lautenberg. When the Lautenberg's captain resigned his duties, he passed down its command to Burke believing that his crew will be trusted in Burke's hands. With a total of nine tours under his command amongst both space and maritime vessels, Burke received a promotion to rear admiral. It was shortly after where Burke received the news of Micheal Bradley's death which had affected him deeply.
While the death of his close mentor was unforeseen, this had not affected his operational performance as rear admiral believing that Bradley would have wanted for him to continue performing admirably as he was known for from the start. When the UNSC initiated the next generation multi fighter program, rear admiral Burke was placed to oversee construction for the longsword initiative due to his innate history as a former pilot. Many years later, Burke was promoted to Vice admiral which was a big stepping stone for his naval career. This enabled him to oversee deployments for Reach’s maritime operations. He alongside Admiral John W. Halberd were tasked in administrating all naval assets during the annual Epsilon Naval War Exercises. On October 5th 2470, Burke was given the opportunity to become Vice Chief of Naval Operations which he held for two years before his death.
His passing on June 11th 2472 marked a strategic loss of leadership for the UNSC and for especially the second fleet. Burke suffered from a form of heart disease before he was due for admiral. Some have said that his duties as vice admiral go beyond than just vice admiral or admiral with many having high expectations of him. His legacy still lives on after the commissioning of the UNSC “Burke” a strident class heavy frigate to some, but an embodiment of once admirable and honourable conduct and leadership to others.