Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, one of the Navy’s most accomplished and distinguished leaders, is best known to many for his roles as commander of the Little Beavers of Destroyer Squadron 23 in the Pacific and as Chief of Naval Operations for six years under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
After his retirement in 1961, he traced his 38-year active-duty career in oral histories published by the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps History Division. In the latter, he recalled toying as a midshipman with the idea of becoming a Marine, inspired by a meeting with Major General John Lejeune at the Naval Academy. Following commissioning, Ensign Burke served five years on the USS Arizona (BB-39), then received orders to Base Force staff in 1928. He was soon in action with the Marines.