Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Burlage was born in 1949 and attended schools in Maryland and Washington, DC. He moved to Pennsylvania and attended Bishop Guilfoyle High School, graduating in 1967. He attended the University of New Hampshire and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. At UNH, he played varsity football and participated in the Army ROTC program. He graduated from UNH in 1973, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve, and entered active duty.
Mike Burlage completed the Infantry Officer Basic Course and returned to the Granite State. He pursued a dual career as a Reserve Officer and a Civil Engineer for the NH Department of Transportation. He served the state in this civilian capacity for 32 years, working on the widening of I-95 in the 1970s and also working in Highway Maintenance. Mike successfully passed the Professional Engineer Examination in 1980 and became a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of New Hampshire. He was District Engineer in Southeast NH for 15 years and retired as the Assistant Director of Operations for the NHDOT in 2006.
As an Army Reserve Officer, Michael Burlage served as Scout Platoon Leader in the 3rd Battalion/16th INF for one year starting in 1976. From 1978-2001, he served in various Individual Ready Reserve or Mobilization Augmentee assignments. These included assignment as an Assistant Instructor at ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft Bragg, an assignment to South Korea in support of exercise Ulchi-Focus Lens, and short tour assignments with active Army units at Forts Benning, Gordon, Lewis, Polk, and Stewart. In addition, he contributed as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee at Fort Meade, assisting the Director of Plans, Training, and Mobilization and Security. Michael Burlage retired from the United States Army Reserves in February 2001 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, he volunteered for recall to active duty and served as a Military Advisor to various Iraqi Army Units. Lieutenant Colonel Burlage was recalled and reported to Fort Carson, CO, then to Fort Hood, TX, for initial train-up and preparation for his fist experience in military conflict. His group of 150 officers in training included only six other volunteer retirees. Their mission was to advise the Iraqi Army, so the Americans received training on how to carry out their role, on their own survival and soldier skills, and on the Arab culture since they would be living with Iraqis. Mike’s nine month tour in the theater began in late February 2006 when he traveled to Kuwait for several days of acclimation to the desert and time zones, then on to Iraq for one last week of training. The next stop was at an Iraqi base at An Numaniyah, a Shiite area 90 miles south of Baghdad, where Mike remained for five months. There were over 3,000 Iraqis at the base; and the Americans were comprised of 100 advisors. They provided training to more transport regiments in basic training and marksmanship skills; and in specialties such as truck driving, mechanic work, security, and how to react to ambushes. In this capacity as a Military Advisor to Iraqi Units, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. Upon completion of his tour of duty in Iraq, he retired from military service for the second time in December 2006.
For outstanding service to the State of New Hampshire, the Army Reserves, and as a Military Advisor to Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Burlage is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.