35th Infantry (Cacti) Regiment Association

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  1LT Richard Burbach    In memory of our fallen brother

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother"

Bravo Company
1st Battalion
35th Infantry Regiment

Vietnam War

"Not For Fame or Reward
Not For Place or For Rank
But In Simple Obedience To
Duty as They Understood It"

National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal

The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 1LT Richard Burbach, who died in the service of his country on February 7th, 1968 in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Richard was 21 years of age. He was from West Allis, Wisconsin. Richard is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 37E, Line 79.

The decorations earned by 1LT Richard Burbach include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with V, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.

Richard is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee,WI

Forever Loved
My life has continued on all these years,they say time heals all wounds but they never mention that the giant hole that was left is still there, covered over with time but it still aches when the mind,soul and heart remembers.

Richard was the love of my life,my grade school "special" friend,my ice skating buddy.We thought we were big stuff,because we held hands sometimes,we would even take our gloves off and literally would freeze our fingers.Richard was an angelic looking but quite devilish alter boy who gave my chin a shock at communion;I was told that was showing a sign of affection in the 7th. grade.He was my high school sweetheart,the only boy I ever seriously dated,my first passionate kiss,the guy who made my heart flutter and then fall head over heals in love with. We went to parties, proms,drive-in movies,dances drove around in his 57'Chevy.

I would watched him sing lead vocals in a band called "The Break Aways". He had such a beautiful voice,I was so proud and felt like a big shot because he was my boyfriend and I thought he was one of the Beatles.

Richard was an accomplished and very proud "fishing guy" who loved to cast in the most beautiful brooks and rivers,we went to some really fabulous spots,had some awesome adventures walking the banks in our waders finding great spots for picnics and making out!!.I remember once when he was casting he caught my hair with a hook,thank God I had a lot of hair. Then there was the time he caught a huge, I mean huge snapping turtle, and could not get it loose,had to cut the line!

When Richard knew he was going to be drafted he decided he wanted to go the extra mile and go to OCS and be the best that he could be...and he did accomplish that,it was brutal,he graduated first in his class he was so proud of what he had accomplished,I WAS SO PROUD OF WHAT HE STOOD FOR!

When he finished OCS we married and packed up all of our belongings and left for our Army adventure at Fort Campbell KY.

We had a blast on that base met fantastic people who still remain friends and Richard became the youngest company commander they ever had. I was so unbelievably proud of who he was.

Then came our GREATEST accomplishment the creation of our beautiful daughter,he took such good care of us,I loved being pregnant,I loved being his wife.We delivered a beautiful baby girl in September of 1967 Richard named her Denise Marie after his favorite song "Denise"he just knew she would be his blue eyed blondie.

He was here "Front and Center" for her birth and he never let her out of his loving arms for the short 6 weeks he had with her before he was deployed.

Vietnam became his living hell because as he stated in all his letters the safety of his men laid heavily on his heart every minute of everyday.
We survived 6 months of gut wrenching torture and we almost made it to Hawaii(tickets were bought) for R and R as he stated to make a brother or sister for Denise, but on 7,Feb.1968 our dream ended and he was gone, gone forever.
Richard they told me that you died a hero...but you were always my hero,my first true love,my best friend,my husband,the father of my child. I love you and I miss you,that will be a forever thing.

Your baby girl has grown into a beautiful woman who you would be so very proud of.She is a chip off the old block!

I give thanks for the time I had with you and for the daughter you gave me,who without,I would have never made it through the hell of war and losing you!

Richard you will FOREVER be remembered.I know you are working as an angel on the battlefields of the wars that remain to devastate our world and so many more lives...Not only did you get those silver bars you got your silver wings.

Posted by: Sandra Burbach Wilber
Email: sandramary@wi.rr.com
Relationship: He is my husband
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I remember the day in December 1966 when we all graduated from OCS at Ft. Benning. We were so proud and had worked so hard to become Infantry Second Lieutenants. Six months later most of us were sent to Vietnam to be platoon leaders. Your departure was delayed pending the birth of your child. You arrived in Vietnam in October 1967 after I had been wounded. You were assigned to my Battalion and I was excited to learn of your presence when I returned from the hospital in late November. A few weeks went by and then came the Tet Offensive and all the intense fighting. News of your death arrived almost immediately. You had died in heroic circumstances. None of us who knew you would have expected anything less. You were the best. You are not forgotten, old friend. Rest in peace. I write this on behalf of all the men of 55th Company, OCS and all the men of 1st Battalion, 35 Infantry.
Posted by: Tim Peters
Relationship: OCS Classmate
Thursday, February 13, 2003

Headquarters 4th Infantry Division
General Orders Number 945 6 March 1968


For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. First Lieutenant Burbach distinguished himself while serving as a Platoon Leader with Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. On 7 February 1968, Company B was on a search and destroy mission south of Da Nang, when contact was made with a platoon of NVA regulars entrenched in concealed bunkers within a village. Lieutenant Burbach immediately deployed his platoon in an assault against the enemy. The approach was heavily protected and several men were wounded. Lieutenant Burbach decided to withdraw his platoon and find another approach. He called for a medical evacuation helicopter before beginning another assault. As the helicopter approached for a landing, it drew heavy enemy automatic weapons fire. Lieutenant Burbach exposed himself to the fire to wave the ship away and was mortally wounded by enemy fire. First Lieutenant Burbach's leadership and courage allowed his platoon to maneuver into a better tactical position. First Lieutenant Burbach's personal bravery, professional integrity and exemplary devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.