This well preserved camouflaged McCord M1 helmet was recovered in a large hole in a sector held by the 2nd Battalion of the 393rd Infantry. The right side of the helmet shows evidence of a serious blow, the liner bears crudely painted marking. They read: “burke” and “B-2419”.
A match was found in the team’s data base and its owner identified. Corporal James A. Burke, 33472419. He belonged to Company H, 393rd Infantry. James Burke was not a member of the 99th Infantry Division Association and a request for information was published in the « Checkerboad », the association newspaper. Sid Salins stepped forward. As a former company H mortar man, Sid had a vivid recollection of Burke:
“… Jimmie was in the 4th mortar squad and I was in the 5th. My foxhole was a few feet from his. We used to live in two man foxholes and they were four in an oversized dugout. They had been told several times not to use it because it was too big. The day before Christmas, their hole took a direct hit from the German artillery. Burke was severely wounded and had to be amputated but Charles Hettel, George Carrick and Harold Bryant were killed.”
This ill fated dugout was not reoccupied and ended up as garbage pit for the platoon. Discarded equipment such as shoes, canteens, mess kits, ration cans, jerry cans, mortar containers, radio batteries soon filled the hole and covered the helmet. James Burke passed away on July 30, 1982 in Pennsylvania, long before his helmet surfaced.