Christopher Hicks

In 1999 I went to Officer Candidate school. Our class Drill Instructor was SSGT Burleson USMC, OCS Class Drill Instructor. I technically worked for him for 3 months although I am sure he would tell you he worked for us. Hands down, the most charismatic man I ever met with intestinal fortitude that did not end. He was the kind of man that made you anxiously await 0400 just to see him get to work.

SSGT Burleson was a man of little words except to train and develop through directed short statements. He said much with little explanation. He was intelligent, patient, logical, methodical and drove to a common goal in every situation. SSGT Burleson set small but attainable goals and did not ever stop setting new goals. These have been the keys to my success after the military.

Shortly after our class graduated, he was promoted to Gunny and that was the last I ever saw or heard from him. Even though Gunny was NCO, Gunny Burleson was the embodiment of what I felt a commissioned military officer should be and he took pride in developing young officers.

I wrote once I would follow him behind enemy lines with a toothpick and a prayer. 11 years later, I know for certain I still would go into battle with him any day. Without his leadership and training, I would be a blue collar worker in western Pa suffering horribly from the recession right now. Instead I have a fun, stable and well paying career with a bright future..