Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Friday, December 20, 2013


            Unit 1012 will honor and remember Saskia Burke who died on this date, December 20, 2011. We will hear from her mother, Cat Burke (a comrade of Unit 1012) who wrote this blog post on how Saskia lived and not how she died. Unit 1012 is with you and your family members.

            Our message for you is this, Cat Burke and family:

We are with you.

You are not alone.

There are many good people who will always be with you.

You have many, many friends here in America and other countries that support the grieving victims’ families.

And this is a message for the Burke Family.

Do not be afraid.

Do not forget all the things that God has done for you.

We will not forget you, we will not forsake you.

We are the Comrades of Unit 1012.

The precious memories of Saskia Burke lives forever.

Saskia S. Burke (PHOTO SOURCE: http://estesleadley.com/?p=5727)

I was on the Regulators Paintball team with my dad, my brother and many of their friends... And this is how my brothers friends always treated me!

This is me and my best friend since second grade, Amber. Momma taught us both how to be best friends, and even in death - I am still Amber's best friend!


I really had the most wonderful life a girl could ever hope to have! I was so fortunate to be born to MY family, who all loved me so completely and shared my happy life with me every day! Momma and Daddy, my older brother Ian and my baby sister Kessa – these four people were the most important people in my life, so much more to me than ‘just’ my family, because I always felt they were my closest and dearest friends as well! Parents who cherished every day with their children, and in simply being these people – they gave we three children so many cherishable moments each day! I NEVER took this for granted, because I could see how Momma and Daddy got it so right in a world where everyone else was getting wrong. They created a life for us that everyone was so envious of, as they all wanted to be part of my family too. Family is not just the people you are related to, they are all the people you love and really LIVE your life with! And this is exactly how my family LIVED, not just sometimes, but each and every day…

I WAS BORN NOVEMBER 6TH, 1993… When momma was pregnant with me, she would hold Ian on her lap everyday and tell him I was his baby. From the moment I met him, I was always his baby! I was never his annoying little sister, like the sisters of all his other friends, but more his fraternal twin – just born two years later. We were inseparable, and did everything together. Ian was my best friend and my protector for my whole life. His friends and my friends – were OUR friends always… My friends, and my brother and sister’s also, were always an extension of our family! This was the case with MY MURDERER as well! My brother met him in 3rd grade when they became friends… All our friends wanted to hang out and be in our wonderful life with us, and usually spent more time at our house than their own. Being loved and included too in our home. I never had a friend that wasn’t envious of MY family!

Ian was born with a rare condition called gastroscheses, and Momma had her hands full keeping Ian healthy and alive everyday. Because with Ian’s extensive defect, we’ve always had to live knowing he die at any time! My original due date was October 1st, but because I was too underweight – the doctors left me there, and kept momma on an IV feeding… And Friday, November 5th – Momma went into labor. It was a cold and snowy Michigan afternoon, when momma’s contractions began. Daddy rushed home from work to be with her, and together they waited late into the night for the contractions to become more regular. Daddy dosed off, and momma got up at 3am to finish packing her bag, when the hairs on the back of her neck stood up! She woke daddy, and told him to “HURRY!” Momma rushed daddy out the door, and kept telling him to hurry all the way to the hospital. Daddy kept asking ‘why’, but momma didn’t have an explanation for him… She just kept saying something’s wrong! She didn’t know what – but something was… As they pulled up to the emergency room door at 3:30 am, and the attendant brought a wheelchair, momma had a sharp pain. “Something’s wrong! Hurry!” momma said, so they bypassed the check in desk…
She was rushed straight upstairs, and at 3:35 am the nurse placed the ultrasound monitor on mommy. My heartbeat at 96, then 54, and then flatlined… The nurse ran out, and brought in the doctor. I was delivered C-section at 3:37 am… Momma remembers the doctor looking into her eyes, and saying “if I don’t take this baby right now, she won’t live.” And momma, she didn’t hesitate to say, “Do whatever you have to then to save her!” And so, with no anesthesia the doctor cut momma open and pulled me out, stillborn, and the nurse worked to revive me. Momma said she never felt any pain from the cutting. But what momma didn’t know, was that she was dying… The placenta had broken off, and momma was bleeding out. It took ten whole minutes to bring momma back to life that morning. Momma spent many days after that, in a coma.

Momma remembers being dead. It was dark at first, but then it became quite bright – and suddenly a little boy approached her. He so gently grabbed hold of her, and implored her, “You have to go back. Saskia needs you. You have to go back now and be her mommy!” Momma felt as if she was falling into the darkness, getting colder and heavier at the same time. The little boy kept calling to her, “Wake up! Wake up! Saskia needs you!” Though momma told me the story of my birth so many times we all know it be heart, she recorded it in my baby book like this: “ On the day she was born, an angel came... He took my hand, he knew my name... "Wake up, she needs you" he said to me. He told me her name, "Saskia needs you", you see. This angel the Heavens entrusted with me, "Take care of this angel, and be her mommy!”

When Momma finally woke up in the hospital, she couldn’t quite remember the name. She told daddy, “Her name starts with an “S”, and I’ll know it when I hear it again.” She made daddy go through the entire “S” section of many baby name books before she finally found it. Daddy came across a name he just could not pronounce, and Momma said “spell it for me”. As Daddy did, Momma heard the whisper inside her head - “Saskia” the little voice said… “
I was never more excited, than the day I became a ‘big sister’. My baby sister Kessa is the one person who best complimented me ever – because she tried to copy every single thing about me! We were sisters, and we did squabble often over silly things, but that’s because we were so close and spending so much time together. I taught things to Kes just like Momma had taught them to me… I even helped in Kessa’s classroom, as Momma always did art projects with all the children every year.

Till the end, my brother Ian and I were best friends too... His friend, were my friends. And we were all - family to each other, so much more than just friends, really!

From the beginning of my life, my older brother Ian was my best friend!

Our little family started out so close- knit and happy...
This was my LIFE:

I was giftedly intelligent to the brink of being brilliant, and twice I scored a perfect 600 on the California State test and received ‘Presidential Medals’. And while my family and teachers recognized this to me, I always tried to hide it from most of my friends. I didn’t want to be judged for my intelligence and thought of as a nerd; I wanted my friends to like me because I was a great person, and fun to be around. “Humble” is what momma always called me… I really loved school, and was looking forward to graduation! I couldn’t wait to surprise my family with the news that I was on my way to MSU! I was creative and uniquely imaginative – but then both my parents were artists, so I got double doses of both these traits! When I was having a ‘good hair day’ I felt pretty, but in the eyes of my family and friends I was beautiful! I was loving and kind, sweet to a fault; yet my momma taught me to be strong and stand up for what is right in this world – to never use my words to hurt others’ feelings because this can leave life-long scars, and to accept ALL people because in her words “It is in meeting people from different cultures, with different backgrounds, each with their own beliefs, hopes and dreams that make our friendships interesting. We can only grow as people by learning and experiencing as much as possible with others in this life. And like ‘oysters’, you don’t know which people are really true gems until you look inside them!” Momma always said to choose my friends based solely on one thing - to surround myself with all the goodness and stay away from those who were bad. My momma was wise, and I trusted and followed her advice always.

Momma had many great and unique qualities, but her finest was her gift of storytelling! She recounted every event in life, never forgetting a single detail, and as she told the story you could live this event too through her words… This was my most treasured and favorite thing in my whole life – listening to all of Momma’s stories.

Momma didn’t really have a ‘childhood’, and by the age of 10 she took on the responsibility of raising her baby brother. Yet my momma – gave all three of us children the best childhood possible! Not just fantastic Christmas’s and Birthday’s – she chose to devote her entire life to us, her family, always making our home such a beautiful, happy and fun place to be each and every day… Momma had such high standards and morals, and always took the time to explain things to us – especially when we did something wrong. Momma made sure we learned from our mistakes…

Momma and daddy gave us everything we could ever need or want. Two or more weekends every month, we’d even climb into the Jeep and travel great distances to explore new places and see new sights! We’ve been practically everywhere in Southern California – from Calico Ghost Town to Disneyland, we’ve done and seen it all!

Momma and daddy wanted to raise us with the things that were so important to both of them: a love and respect for family, friends and nature; an appreciation, not only for the beauty of our planet, but for our specific place here with others; they raised us – with everyday being a gift to be enjoyed and relished, as many moments as possible! Our perfect home sat in the most precious of places. We had over an acre of land to roam and play on… Setting our chairs outside at night to watch the stars come out, and playing ‘flashlight’ hide and seek… And living in the Mohave Desert, every single morning has the most amazing sunrises! The peaceful sounds of horses whinnying on the warm breeze, or the rooster calling out to tell you it’s time to get up each day, and comforting sound of the crickets singing you to sleep each night… Our family’s only luxury item, ever – an in ground swimming pool, which we indulged in everyday to cool off in the hot afternoons! We – hosted the Christmas toy drive each year with our local Fire Department. People came from far and wide with presents to drop off, see Santa, and climb onto the fire-truck with their costumed mascot… Daddy saved his vacations for the summer, and we would spend almost every weekend camping in Big Bear or Idyllwild. My family loved hiking through the woods, Jeeping on the trails, and listening to stories by the campfire at night. Daddy is ‘Mage’ of the Southwest Regulators paintball team, and when I got old enough he took me to play too. I loved learning to shoot, and I got pretty good at it! I felt like such a badass on the field, and it was funny to return to camp in the evening and have all the ‘Regs’ treat me like a little lady with so much respect for being ‘Mage’s’ daughter…

We moved to Murrieta, CA in 2008. Momma called our new house ‘the ten year plan’. I picked out our house, because I knew it had so much potential for Momma’s artistic eyes. She and I planned to make it spectacular, so that in 10 years when we sold it – we could make enough profit to open our own business together. I wanted to take business management in college, and Momma said it was up to me to decide what we would do. I was thinking maybe a wedding planner business, because I so love weddings – and Momma is so great with all the details…

I made many new friends in my new High School, but none as great as my best friend Amber. I came home from my first day in second grade, and told Momma, “I met the most beautiful little girl today. She has long blonde curly hair, and I want her to be my best friend.” From that day on, she was, and we shared the greatest friendship ever!

I lived just long enough, to fall in love. Brandon “Irish” Ramsey… I dated some, after he moved away. But I never felt anything in my heart, the way I did for him.

I was having the best life anyone could ever hope for. And I loved every single second of it.

And through the years, we remained so close and happy... Everywhere we went, and everything we did - we did together!

And through the years, we remained so close and happy... Everywhere we went, and everything we did - we did together!

And through the years, we remained so close and happy... Everywhere we went, and everything we did - we did together!

Until the end we remained so happy together!

Until the end we remained so happy together!

Until the end we remained so happy together!

Until the end we remained so happy together!

Until the end we remained so happy together!
And I had so much crazy fun!

And I had so much crazy fun!

I loved - and was loved, every day of my life!

I loved - and was loved, every day of my life!

I loved - and was loved, every day of my life!

And just once, I got the chance to fall in love...

I was looking forward to my life - and all the wonderful possibilities! I really wanted to one day BE a mother, just like mine! I really enjoyed my High School class, practicing for it...

Saskia's Memorial - Let's Go Crazy
Saskia Burke - memorial tribute video


  1. While all the others were nourishment to my life, it was only ever Saskia who nourished my soul... And LOSING HER - IS LOSING MYSELF! I miss US every quiet lonely single second...