47th Veteran of the Quarter, Richard Burkhalter, US Army

June 1, 2022

Richard Burkhalter was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1968 and went through basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, then onto AIT at Fort Sill, OK. While there, he received a Direct Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Chemical Corp. He completed his Officer’s Training at the Army Chemical School in Ft. McClellan, AL.

Burkhalter’s first duty assignment was in Panama serving as Test Officer with the Tropic Test Center at Ft. Clayton, Panama. His duties were to participate in the testing of equipment and clothing in the jungle environment, later to be used in Vietnam. He served in Panama for 18 months.

In January 1971, he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division as the Assistant. Div. Chemical Officer at Camp Casey. He served there until February 1972, at which time he was released from active duty in Ft Lewis, Washington.

After 6 months of inactive status, he joined the US Army Reserves and Army Reserve School as an NBC Instructor. Later, it was the 85th Division (Training) where he completed the US Army Command and General Staff College. There, he commanded the 2/353rd Chemical Training Battalion, was selected for the US Army War College, and was promoted to Colonel. Shortly thereafter, he became the Deputy Brigade Commander for the 404th Chemical Brigade for the Illinois Army National Guard in Rockford, IL, and later served as the State Readiness Officer.

Burkhalter retired from the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996 after 27.5 total years of combined active and reserve duty. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General by the state of Illinois upon his retirement. His federally recognized rank in the US Army is Colonel. His military career was unusual because he remained with the Chemical Corp his entire career.

Burkhalter received commendations, including a National Defense Service Medal, 2 Armed Forces Reserve Medals, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, 4 Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, and a Legion of Merit.

Burkhalter has worked as a Chemical Engineer for over 60 years and in 1995, he and his wife Margaret founded Covenant Engineering Services, LLC, an engineering consultant business. His focus has been designing plants that manufacture grease lubricants. He has traveled to 18 foreign countries with his work.

He is active in the community attending Bloom Church where he leads the security team and is the President of the Branson Veterans of America Chapter 913.

The Burkhalters have been married for 53 years with 2 sons, Karl and Jeff, along with 4 grandchildren. They have moved 15 times in their 53 years and count Branson as their forever home. Richard will be the first to say that all he has accomplished in his life has all been made possible by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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