|Birth: ||Sep. 1, 1947|
|Death: ||Nov. 26, 1972|
“Self Sacrifice: Sacrifice of oneself or one's own interests for the benefit of others. On Nov. 24, 1972, Captain Michael D. Burmeister was a part of training mission leaving from . When his F-106 Fighter lifted off the end of Hamilton's runway no one knew this would be the last time anyone saw him alive.
His aircraft would suffer a mechanical failure resulting in a forced landing just north of the base at 9:55 a.m. The accident report later concluded that the speed brake for F-106 S/N 59-0089 might have come open during flight. This would have caused the aircraft to enter a stall (loss of lift) at a much higher speed. Burmeister’s wing man saw him disappear through the thick overcast shortly after takeoff. Seconds later smoke drifted up through the overcast, and Burmeister’s wing man notified Hamilton of an off-base crash.
It was also concluded the Burmeister had plenty of time to bail out of his aircraft but decided to stay in the aircraft because he knew there were homes just north of the base. Burmeister summoned all of his strength to maneuver the large jet away from home and crashed into a hillside. He was killed instantly by the impact. Debris from the aircraft was thrown over a quarter mile away from the impact site. The engine of the F-106 came down on Bahia Lane.
The Air Force camped for two weeks on Bahia Lane during the cleanup. The property owner who had the jet come down in his backyard remembers being kept from going into his own backyard by two Air Force Security Police (Air Force version of MPs). The Air Force had to keep coming back many times after the initial two weeks as more pieces were found of both the pilot’s body and the plane. Except for the tail section, the plane had essentially exploded into many small pieces.
To this day there is no memorial to 25-year-old Captain Michael D. Burmeister except a small 12-by-6-inch plaque at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., that marks his grave. He gave his life so that others may continue to live. If it were not for his sacrifice, many more would have lost their lives that day.”
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
El Paso County
Plot: 003 E 072
Maintained by: Angela Owens Jando
Originally Created by: HEE
Record added: Feb 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17930807