Arleigh A. Burke, who was born in Boulder, Colo., on Oct. 19, 1901, was a United States Navy officer who served as a destroyer squadron commander during World War II and a cruiser division commander and truce negotiator during the Korean War.
In 1955 he was promoted to four-star admiral and appointed chief of Naval operations, a position he fulfilled until his retirement on Aug. 1, 1961, after 42 years of service with the Navy.
His service in the South Pacific during World War II included the battles of Empress Augusta Bay and Cape St. George, and a promotion to chief of staff of the fast carrier task force under Admiral Marc Mitscher. After the war, Burke commanded the USS Huntington for one year.
Under President Dwight Eisenhower, Burke served as the chief of Naval operations, initiating development of nuclear powered surface ships and the Polaris fleet ballistic missile program.
The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destoyers are named for the admiral, and the first ship of this class, commissioned in 1991, was christened the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51).
Admiral Burke was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald R. Ford on Jan. 10, 1977. He died Jan. 1, 1996, at age 94.
Burke is commemorated on a 44¢ stamp issued Feb. 4, 2010 (Scott 4441), in the set of four stamps honoring distinguished sailors.