More detail on this person: MARIUS BURKE, JR of Merritt Island, FL Marius joined the Naval Reserve and a year later, he accepted a commission with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Major. A graduate of the service's flight training program, he flew fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft for the Marines and Navy, including time on aircraft carriers that took him to many countries and continents worldwide. His love of travel and exploration never stopped. In 1963, following his active duty career, he joined Air America, flying secret missions throughout Southeast Asia on behalf of the U.S. government. He performed this work with quiet courage, never bragging about the lives he saved "military and civilian" while experiencing his own close calls with death. On his office wall is a small picture frame containing the bullet and helicopter fragments that landed in his lap during a particularly harrowing flight. During the last year of the Vietnam war, he was one of several Air America pilots that evacuated Danang, Nha Trang and Saigon. Iconic photos and film on April 30, 1975, captured these brave pilots landing on rooftops, picking up desperate Americans and Vietnamese and shuttling them to waiting ships. On that day, Marius flew for 15 hours straight, getting out of the cockpit only twice. He wrote of this experience, "I salute all those fine crews and support personnel of Air America who made it happen." Following the Vietnam War, Marius settled in Utah, and started several real estate and construction businesses. However, his passion for flying drew him back, and he joined the Army Reserve and Key Airlines, an air ambulance company, and later Air Methods, where he eventually became the Director of Operations until he retired. Marius and his wife, Vinetra, relocated to Merritt Island where he reconnected with many Air America members and he also joined the local chapters of the Navy League and Daedalians, making new life-long friendships. His success in the military, in business and in life was due to his fierce determination, loyalty, and a bit of luck. He faced his diagnosis of mesothelioma with that same level of fortitude and grit. While the disease robbed him of his health, it did not deprive him of his good humor. Preceded in death by siblings, Evelyn, Irene and Linda, surviving are his wife of 56 years, Vinetra; children, Craig (Jill), William (Carissa), Susan (Kenneth) and Edward (Allyson); grandchildren, Porter, Matthew, Crestone, Emmeline, Richard, Richly, Jane and Emma; siblings, Mary Ann Kaufman (Stu) and Bruce (Rose). He is preceded in death by his sisters Evelyn, Irene, and Linda. At his request, Marius will be cremated without a service. The family plans to hold a memorial in the future. Published in Florida Today October 31, 2020.
Burial information: Florida Memorial Gardens, Rockledge, FL
This information was last updated 11/09/2020
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 12/27/2020
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association