Utah Guard Legend Retires

Written by Maj. Lorraine Januzelli  - Published - Nov. 4, 2004


Chief Warrant Officer Markel S. Burn retires Thursday, November 4.

Photos courtesy of the Markel S. Burn Collection

Chief Warrant Officer Markel S. Burn retires Thursday, November 4.

After devoting 35 years to the Utah National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer Markel S. Burn retires Thursday, November 4.  Warrant officers generally function as “technical experts” in their field – which Burn did patently as a personnel technician – yet he will be remembered far and wide for cultivating the potential of people. 


Throughout his long career, Burn deftly navigated the ever-changing maze of regulations guiding personnel management but was never handcuffed by them.  Instead, Burn doggedly pursued numerous methods – some quite innovative – to insure Soldiers got what they deserved whether it was a promotion, transfer, lost pay, or new career path.  During the infancy of the Army’s information age, Burn was one of the original beacons. 


“I owe him my ENTIRE career. Period,” Sgt. Maj. Ross Low said of Burn.   The two men served together in various assignments over the past two decades.  “He gave my start.  He trained me.  He mentored me for over 22 years.  Many others have been a great help, but nobody’s been more influential.”


Sgt. First Class Pete West couldn’t agree more.  “I learned an awful from him just by dropping by his office – that is...when he wasn’t helping out someone else.  He’d always pull out some dusty regulation that no one else had.”  West observed that without exception, Burn read his e-mails from West at 1800.  “He liked to work the late shift,” he added.


Burn influenced the careers of so many, in part, because of his thorough knowledge of personnel regulations.  “It’s like he’s got a photographic memory,” marveled 1st Sgt. Pete Stalliviere of the 97th Troop Command.  He also noted, “He’s straight as an arrow.  His ethics are above reproach.  He’d never lie, steal or cheat and he detested people who tried.”


Burn’s military record reflects not only reflects his professionalism but also his dedicated service.  He earned many honors among which included the Meritorious Service Medal (four times), Humanitarian Service Medal, and Deteur Digniori Medal.  His assignments spanned military police, field artillery and logistics units but mostly Burn served with the 97th Troop Command.


A lifelong Salt Lake City resident, Burn hails from a particularly patriotic family.  Two brothers, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Burn and Master Sgt. Bill Burn (ret.), served along side him over the past four decades.  His nephew, Sgt. Wade Burn, currently carries on the family tradition. 


Never known to take himself too seriously, Burn leaves his fellow Utah Guardsmen and women with a memorable parting thought, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with every one of you.  Hopefully to some degree your association with me has benefited your lives and not been too painful.  Good luck to us all.”


And good luck to you, Chief Burn. 


Brig. Gen. Stanley Gordon summed up the feelings of many Utah Soldiers in regards to Burn,”Super Soldier.  Dedicated and loyal.  He took proper care of everyone.  He will be sorely missed.”