Romus Burgin

Last updated
Romus Valton Burgin
Born(1922-08-13)August 13, 1922
Jewett, Texas, U.S.
DiedApril 6, 2019(2019-04-06) (aged 96)
Lancaster, Texas, U.S.
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service1942–1945
Rank USMC-E5.svg Sergeant
UnitK Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Cape Gloucester
*Battle of Peleliu
*Battle of Okinawa
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

Romus Valton Burgin (August 13, 1922 – April 6, 2019) [1] was an American author and United States Marine.

United States Marine Corps Amphibious warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.


Early life and family

Burgin was born to Joseph Harmon Burgin and Beulah May (née Perry) Burgin in Jewett, Texas. [1] [2] Burgin's younger brother, Joseph ("Joe" or "J.D.") Delton (March 24, 1926 February 17, 1945) joined the United States Army, after changing his year of birth from 1926 to 1925, and was sent to Europe, [3] [4] as a member of Company "C", 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division ("Trailblazers"). [5] [6] Joseph died in Alsace-Lorraine on February 17, 1945 when he was killed by artillery fire near the river Saar and the town of Forbach, as they moved east toward Saarbrücken on the other side of the river, as part of a push against the Siegfried Line. [3] [7] [8] He is buried at the Sardis Cemetery next to his parents. [9]

Jewett, Texas City in Texas, United States

Jewett is a city in Leon County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,167 at the 2010 census. Jewett is the birthplace of Alger "Texas" Alexander, Fritz Von Erich and Romus Burgin. It was laid out in 1871 by the International Railroad Company.

70th Infantry Division (United States)

The 70th Infantry Division ("Trailblazers") was a unit of the United States Army in World War II, spearheading the Seventh United States Army's drive into Germany, south of Saarbrücken.

Saar (river) river in France and Germany

The Saar is a river in northeastern France and western Germany, and a right tributary of the Moselle. It rises in the Vosges mountains on the border of Alsace and Lorraine and flows northwards into the Moselle near Trier. It has two headstreams, that both start near Mont Donon, the highest peak of the northern Vosges. After 246 kilometres (153 mi) the Saar flows into the Moselle at Konz (Rhineland-Palatinate) between Trier and the Luxembourg border. It has a catchment area of 7,431 square kilometres (2,869 sq mi).

Military career

Burgin joined the United States Marine Corps on November 13, 1942, during World War II and was assigned to the 9th Replacement Battalion. He soon became a mortarman in K-Company (King Company from 1913 to 1957 - Kilo Company after 1957 with the new Military Phonetic Alphabet), 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (K-3-5), [1] and fought in the Pacific War at Cape Gloucester, [1] then alongside his friend, Eugene Sledge, [1] on Peleliu, [1] and Okinawa. [10] [11] Burgin was promoted to the rank of sergeant upon reaching Okinawa. [3] [12]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Mortar (weapon) Artillery weapon that launches explosive projectiles at high angles

A mortar is usually a simple, lightweight, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are typically used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition.

Pacific War theatre of war in the Second World War

The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.

Burgin was the author of the memoir Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific (with William Marvel). [1] [13] He was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions in the Battle of Okinawa on 2 May 1945, when he destroyed a Japanese machine gun emplacement that had his company pinned down. [10] He also was going to be awarded a Silver Star by Captain Andrew "Ack-Ack" Haldane for taking out a pillbox on Peleliu, but Haldane was killed by sniper fire before he could submit it. [1]

Battle of Okinawa Major battle of the Pacific War

The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Marine and Army forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. The initial invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The 82-day battle lasted from April 1 until June 22, 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Kadena Air Base on the large island of Okinawa as a base for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, 340 mi (550 km) away.

Silver Star military decoration of the United States Armed Forces

The Silver Star Medal, unofficially the Silver Star, is the United States Armed Forces's third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded primarily to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

Andrew Allison Haldane, known as Andy and nicknamed "Ack-Ack", was an officer in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He was shot and killed during the Battle of Peleliu. Haldane is "one of the most revered figures in the history of the U.S. Marines."

Personal life

After the war he went to work for the United States Post Office. [3] While in Melbourne, Burgin met an Australian woman, named Florence Risely. They married in Dallas on January 29, 1947. [3] [14] The couple had four daughters. [15] [12] Burgin is portrayed in the HBO miniseries The Pacific by Martin McCann. [10] [11] Burgin himself appears in documentary footage during the miniseries. [15] He died on April 6, 2019 at the age of 96 in Lancaster, Texas. [16]

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 4.9 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

HBO American pay television network

HBO is an American premium cable and satellite television network owned by the namesake unit Home Box Office, Inc., a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia. The program which featured on the network consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures and original television shows, along with made-for-cable movies, documentaries and occasional comedy and concert specials.

Martin McCann (actor) Irish actor

Martin McCann is an actor from Northern Ireland.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Marine recounts brutal war in Pacific 'Islands': Former Marine R.V. Burgin writes about fighting in WWII". MSNBC Interactive - April 9, 2010. TODAY books.
  2. "Veteran wants war tales of the Pacific to be remembered". The Dallas Morning News . June 26, 2005.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Burgin, R. V.; with William "Bill" Marvel (2010), Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific, Penguin, ISBN   978-0-451-22990-8
  4. Burgin, Joe D; ASN: 38482046 . - Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records). - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  5. 274th Infantry Regiment Unit Rosters: COMPANY C (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF), 70th Infantry Division Association
  6. 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division Association
  7. Casualty Listing: A-C, 70th Infantry Division Association
  8. "Approach to the Siegfried Line", US Seventh Army Report of Operations, Battery Press (c/o 70th Infantry Division Association), 1988, pp. 678–686
  9. Sardis Cemetery A-F - Leon County, Texas, USGenWeb Archives
  10. 1 2 3 "Veteran R.V. Burgin Fought In 'The Pacific'". March 11, 2010.
  11. 1 2 "Texan's Pacific war memoir used for HBO mini-series". Houston Chronicle . April 3, 2010.
  12. 1 2 Dunn, Si (March 7, 2010), "Book review: 'Islands of the Damned' by RV Burgin", The Dallas Morning News
  13. Burgin, R.V. Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific.
  14. Sloan, Bill (2005). Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944 -- The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War. Simon and Schuster. p. 21. ISBN   978-0-7432-8460-8.
  15. 1 2 Granberry, Michael (March 14, 2010). "'The Pacific,' book spotlight Lancaster veteran's battle story". The Dallas Morning News .
  16. "Romus Valton Burgin Obituary"