Howard Burdick was born on December 12, 1891, in Brooklyn, New York. He enlisted for flight training in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1917, and then completed flight training at Camp Everman, Texas, and the School of Military Aeronautics at Ithaca, New York. He then attended the School of Aerial Gunnery in Canada before deploying to England by ship, where he joined the 147th Aero Squadron. Burdick next joined the 182nd Aero Squadron, followed by the 39th Training Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Lt Burdick joined the 17th Aero Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group in August 1918, flying the Sopwith Camel, and was credited with the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft in aerial combat in September and October 1918. After the war he returned to the U.S. and was discharged in 1919. Howard Burdick died on January 20, 1975, and was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California. His son, Clinton D. Burdick, served in World War II and shot down 5.5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, making them the only father and son aces in U.S. Military History.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Howard Burdick, Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action northwest of Cambrai, France, September 28, 1918. Attacked by two Fokker biplanes, Lieutenant Burdick outmaneuvered both machines, shot one into flames and routed the other one. Later, seeing three Fokkers attacking an American aviator, he at once dove into the combat to his assistance, shooting down one and driving off the other two. His quick and unhesitating attack, single-handed, on the three Fokkers save the life of his fellow pilot.