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Madison native, Sgt. Major Melissa Burke, retires from the Army after 30 years of service.

After 30 years of service to her country, Madison native Sgt. Major Melissa Burke will retire from active duty service in the U.S. Army on Jan. 31.

After graduating from Morgan County High School in 1991, Burke entered Army Basic Training in January 1992. Burke completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and graduated Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, beginning her career as a Paralegal Specialist.

Burke currently serves as the Command Paralegal for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood. She is the senior enlisted advisor to the Staff Judge Advocate, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood; responsible for enlisted paralegal assignments, training and professional development of over 150 legal personnel assigned to III Corps; advises the Staff Judge Advocate on all matters concerning legal personnel; advises the III Corps Command Sergeant Major on all III Corps senior NCO legal cases.

Burke’s awards and decorations include the Legion Of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (9th Award), the Army Commendation Medal (7th Award), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (5th Award), the Army Good Conduct Medal (9th award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service, Humanitarian Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (5th award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (4th award) and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

Burke was the 5th recipient of the Sgt. Eric L. Coggins Award of Excellence.

Burke said her favorite thing about her job was, “Taking care of soldiers and their families, seeing people grow and learn, while making the Army a better place.”

On the subject of enlisting now in the Army, Burke said she would encourage anyone who wants to serve their country to consider the Army as an option.

“Serving your country is a very honorable and rewarding experience,” Burke said.

Her most rewarding experience, she said, was being able to affect so many soldiers’ and civil servants’ lives in a positive way. She said, from being a course developer, instructor and mentor, instilling in our leaders and soldiers confidence and character is what she liked the most.

Burke said she’ll miss the life of a soldier but it was time for her to move on to new opportunities.

“As of now, I’m going to relax and unplug from the lifestyle and calendar for a while and enjoy family and friends along with traveling,” Burke said.


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