Rudolf A. Burkard
Biography: Rudolph Albert Burkard, “Rudy”, was born in 1917 in Denton, Nebraska. He was the youngest son of Anthony P. Burkard and Mathilda M. Borgman. Rudy had two brothers and four sisters. His enlistment record indicates he completed grammar school and worked as a general farm hand prior to entering the service. At some point, Rudy moved to California and on September 9, 1943, in Los Angeles, he married the former Ida Alice Elizabeth Kullberg who was born in Norway, Kansas.
Service Time: Rudy entered the Army on Sept. 10, 1941, at San Francisco, CA. On December 15, 1941, Private Burkard was transferred from Battery D, 31st Field Artillery Battalion to Headquarters Battery, 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion, stationed at Riverside Farm Bivouac Area. On January 9, 1942, Rudy was promoted to Private First Class. On February 6, 1942, he was transferred to the Medical Corps and assigned to the 607th’s Medical Detachment.
He spent 1942 moving back and forth between the unit’s companies, apparently learning to diagnose and treat the men’s medical conditions. On December 4th of the same year, he was transferred permanently to Company A. Rudy was promoted to Technician 5th Grade on January 20, 1943. The unit trained at various locations in California, including Sunnyvale, Camps San Luis Obispo and Cooke and at the Desert Training Center. They also trained at Camp Hood, Texas, where the Tank Destroyer Center was located.
The 607th arrived in Liverpool, England, on April 21, 1944, and continued training for a number of weeks. On June 17, Company A landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, with towed 3” anti-tank guns. They joined Patton’s Third Army, participating in the drive to Le Mans and the envelopment of the Falaise Pocket in August. Advancing to the Moselle River in September, they supported operations against Metz into November, converting to the M36 self-propelled tank destroyer that same month. They joined the drive toward the Saar River, capture of Saarlautern, Germany, and the subsequent fight against the Siegfried Line in December. Deployed to the Ardennes sector in January, 1945, they were again committed against the Siegfried Line in February in the Schnee Eifel.
On March 15, the battalion conducted maintenance of equipment and reconnoitered for firing positions to support the 87th Infantry Division’s drive toward Koblenz, Germany. The following day, as the companies began moving to their ready positions; Sgt. Rudolf A. Burkard was shot and killed by an intoxicated member of his company. The offender was arrested and immediately place in Divisional confinement awaiting a courts martial. On April 3, 1945, the offender was tried by General Court-Martial, appointed by the 87th ID Headquarters, and found guilty of murder. Sgt. Burkard was awarded a Purple Heart and was also eligible for the following medals; Good Conduct, American Theatre, World War II Victory and the EAME with four campaign stars.
Rudy was buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, Plot E, Row 12, Grave 75, Hamm, Luxembourg. The photos of Rudy used in this tribute were provided by the family. Thank you also to the personnel at the Luxembourg American Cemetery for providing the grave marker photo.