Rosetta Y. Burke

May 20, 2016

Rosetta Y. Burke was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 28, 1937. She was a true trailblazer serving as the first female Assistant Adjutant General of New York State and of the Army National Guard. Ms. Burke was the first female general in New York’s Army National Guard and the first female in the nation to be promoted to Major General. She became a beacon of hope for women in the military, showing that it was possible to advance and to dilute stereotypes.

Ms. Burke served with the Army Reserve from 1962 to 1992, and joined the New York Army National Guard in 1993, retiring as Major General in 1997. She is President of the National Association of Black Military Women, and an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

A former nurse, Ms. Burke is a member of the Reserve Offi cers Association, The Retired Officers Association, Association for the Military Surgeons of the United States, National Guard Association of the United States, Militia Association of New York, National Black Nurses Association, and many other organizations. 

In recognition of her devoted career and her bravery, she was awarded two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Reserve Good Conduct Awards, a National Defense Service Medal, an Armed Forces Reserve Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.

When Ms. Burke first entered the military, it was unusual for women to go into combat. More often than not, women came in as nurses or worked in administrative positions. Ms. Burke has been an inspiration and major influence in helping change that mindset.