Thomas E Burlile

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
11 November 1942 - 15 November 1965
London, Ohio
Panel 03E Line 052

Combat Medic

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Thomas E Burlile

The database page for Thomas E Burlile

06 Dec 1997

He was shot to death while attending the wounded.

From an anonymous comrade.
E-Mail address not available
14 May 2003

I would like to post a remembrance for my Uncle Tom. We lost him when I was only 1 year old. There isn't a day goes by but I wonder what type of relationship we could have had. You are in our hearts and minds. You are sadly missed.

Todd Buchanan

2 Jun 2004

I never got to meet my Uncle Tom but I've heard lots of stories about him from my mom, Phyllis, his sister. I've heard about the time when he was a little boy and had Scarlet Fever. I've also heard stories about how he once convinced my Aunt DeDe to do his homework for him. I've also heard stories about the amount of bravery that he displayed when he was drafted into war. I've also read about his acts of heroism in Vietnam in the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young".

I've passed along these stories to my son. Alex will giggle and let me know that he's ornery like Uncle Tom was and I smile and nod.

I wish that I had gotten a chance to know my Uncle Tom but even though I've never met him I still carry him in my heart.

Love from your niece,
Kristen McDowell

03 Jun 2007

I was 13 years old when Tommy was killed in Viet Nam. He was related to my Uncle but not to me although he was a friend to my family. I remember when his body was sent home in a plastic bubble covered casket. I remember the small spot on his temple where he was shot. I remember the 21 gun salute and the playing of Taps at his burial. It was the first time that the war struck so close to home. Tommy was the first soldier from Madison County, Ohio who had been killed in Viet Nam and the first military funeral that I had ever been to. It's a haunting memory. I didn't know Tommy all that well when he was alive, just a couple of family functions, but his death has affected me in many ways. I have since learned he died heroically and feel honored to have known his family and to be a witness to his funeral. Thank you, Tommy, for giving your life so that I and others have had the freedom to live ours.

Larry Carsey

24 Jul 2007

I did not know SP4 Burlile or any of the other scores of soldiers killed in the Ia Drang in 1965, but my heart weeps to see their names and pictures and think about what kind of lives they would have led, the people they would have touched. All I can do is express my appreciation to the families and those who survived that horrible, horrible war - may peace find us all.

John Hill

Thomas E. Burlile
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
November 1965.

Visit the
Landing Zone X-Ray site

and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial

During the fighting on 15 November, an Air Force F-100 mistakenly dropped two napalm canisters within the cavalrymen's defensive perimeter. Joe Galloway, a civilian reporter who had come into the Landing Zone, recalls the incident:

" ... suddenly I could hear [Lt Col] Hal Moore shouting loudly: "Charlie, call that SOB off of us. CALL HIM OFF!!!" I turned to my left and could see two F-100 Supersabre jets, one behind the other, headed straight for us. The first had just released two cans of napalm. The second was about to do the same. Lieutenant Charlie Hastings, the Air Force Forward Observer, was screaming into his mike: "PULL UP! PULL UP!".

"The second plane pulled up. That left the two cans of napalm loblollying end over end toward us. Gregg Dillon buried his face in my shoulder. Later he would tell me he had heard if napalm was coming in you should protect your eyes. The two cans went right over our heads and impacted no more than 20 yards from us, the jellied gasoline spreading out and flaming up going away from us.

"That 20 yards saved our lives, but through the blazing fire I could see two men, two Americans, dancing in the fire. I jumped to my feet. So did medic Tommy Burlile. Burlile was shot in the head by a sniper before he could reach the scene."

PFC Jimmy D. Nakayama was one of the two men; he died of his injuries on 17 November. The Virtual Wall cannot identify the second injured soldier.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a nephew,
Todd Buchanan

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OH State Index . Panel 03E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Dec 1997
Last updated 03/05/2008