The Long Blue Line: Richard Burke

The Long Blue Line: The oft-forgotten story of Richard Burke

The pantheon of famous Coast Guard aviators includes such 20th century luminaries as Elmer Stone, the world’s first aviator to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean; Frank Erickson, pioneering aviator in the development of the helicopter; and Donald MacDiarmid, considered the Coast Guard’s foremost authority on maritime aviation search, rescue and survival. One individual missing from the list of famous aviators is Richard Leon Burke. In his day, military leaders, prominent politicians and Coast Guard aviators, including MacDiarmid, recognized Burke as the Service’s most skillful and experienced air-sea rescue pilot.