I joined the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) of the US Army Reserves (USAR) in 1962 to further my education with a Bachelor in Nursing. This was the era of the Vietnam Conflict/War. Because I already had 5 years experience as a registered professional nurse, I was sworn in as a First Lieutenant.
I used my civilian jobs and experience, at and in the reserve unit, to show the regular (full-time) personnel that we (degradingly called 'Weekend Warriors') were not only, capable, but possibly more qualified at handling the job we were assigned to than the ones trying to knock us instead of accepting a helping hand. To this end I was able to show that I deserved my promotion and additional responsibility. Similarly, I used my military training and experience at and in my civilian jobs.
My civilian occupations, following graduation from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in 1957, include being a staff nurse, head nurse and Public Health Staff Nurse in New York City Health and Hospital Corporation; St Joseph Hospital School of Nursing Instructor; New York State (NYS) Department (Dept) of Mental Hygiene Nurse Administrator and later Utilization Review Coordinator. In 1981, I moved to Albany, NY to become the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Community Residence Coordinator and in 1983, I retired from NYS Dept of Correctional Services as a Superintendent (Warden) in 1992.
I finally obtained my Bachelor in Nursing Degree (BSN) from Adelphi University in 1970. I graduated from C W Post Center, Long Island University in 1973 with a Master of Professional Studies (MPS). My military education includes the AMMED Component General Staff Course, Chief Nurse Orientation Refresher Course, Reserve components National Security Course, Army War College Correspondence Course, and both the Force Integration Course and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.
My military career includes promotions from First Lieutenant to Colonel with various responsibilities as Education Coordinator, Assistant Chief Nurse, Administration/Personnel Officer, Chief Nurse, and Resource Consultant in the transfer from the 808th Station Hospital to the 912th Surgical Hospital to the 74th Field Hospital to the 815th Station Hospital to the 364th General Hospital in the Army Reserves. I transferred and joined the New York Army National Guard in 1993 and was assigned to Headquarters as the Chief Nurse. In April 1994, I assumed the position of Assistant Adjutant General, New York Army National Guard. I was promoted to and federally recognized as Brigadier General on July 28,1995. I retired on my birthday in 1997 culminating a military career of 35 years of service. The Adjutant General recommended me for the Brevet Promotion to Major General and to the Selective Service System in the position of State Director for New York. I served in that position, finally resigning in 2013.
I had many good and bad experiences during my 35 years and 16 days. For me, the bad experiences were related to my ability to overcome the negative impact I felt, at the time, caused by the specific individual(s), not the summary of the 30 years of the Reserves nor the 5 years of the National Guard. And the good outweighed the bad as I met so many people, made so many lasting friendships, attended and completed so many schooling opportunities, both civilian and military, and reached a pinnacle I never dreamed of attaining.
I have one son, Tirlon Burke and one grandson, Yxlphrm Burke.