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Like many veterans of his era, Harry Burke Jr. was reluctant to discuss with his family his time in Korea, despite his service with the famous Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Burke's daughters said he never directly mentioned the war to them. Later in life, however, he shared his experience with documentarians and became active in reunion activities of the "Chosin Few," veterans who fought in the most gruesome battles of the Korean War.

Burke died Sept. 6 at the age of 93. He was born in Detroit to parents Ida and Harry Burke Sr. His father was a World War I veteran, and several of his mother's brothers also served. Within a year of his birth, the family moved to Minnesota. He graduated from high school in 1947 and worked at the Ford Motor Co. plant before enlisting in the Marine Reserves in 1948.

Called to active duty in 1950, Burke was sent to Camp Pendleton in California for training. By September, he shipped out to Korea.

His company landed in Incheon, South Korea, and joined U.S. forces as they swiftly moved into North Korea, pushing their way to the mountainous northern border with China under the command of Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. They arrived in early November as a harsh winter set in.

In a 2010 interview with MPR, Burke described the brutally cold conditions. "I was a bazooka man," he said. "And on the 11th of November, it turned way below zero. And it stayed that way all the rest of the time we were there.

"We were never told the temperature, but when Minnesotans would freeze their feet off and no longer could keep up, we knew it was cold."

MacArthur and leaders of United Nations forces said victory would be swift and troops would be home by Christmas. But Chinese forces soon surrounded the outnumbered allied units around the Chosin Reservoir. The Americans' only option was to retreat, fighting and marching their way 70 miles south to the sea.

Fox Company helped to secure the Toktong Pass, the only escape route left for the other regiments. But the unit's stand came at a heavy cost. "When I left after five days, 83 of us out of the 240 were able to walk away," Burke said.

The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir would go down among the most iconic battles in Marine Corps history.

Just 21 when he returned home, Burke had matured a great deal in a short time. "That experience makes a man out of you," he told documentarians for the Korean War Legacy Foundation.

With the war behind him, Burke graduated from Dunwoody Institute and became a mechanical technician for Honeywell.

In 1954, he married Ruth Carlson, and they had four daughters. The family moved to Bloomington in 1956 and became charter members of St. Stephen Lutheran Church when it opened three years later.

An avid singer, Burke spent years in the church choir and was celebrated for his long service at the church's 50th anniversary in 2019. He sang with the Bloomington Sportsmen's Chorus and the Augsburg Centennial Singers. "We were always singing in the car together," said daughter Cindy Calvin.

Preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, he is survived by daughters, Susan Knight, Cindy Calvin, Barbara Tjader and Stephanie Anderson and their husbands, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He's also survived by devoted friend and companion Phyllis Berg. Services have been held.