John Robert Burns

United States Air Force
08 December 1932 - 04 August 1966
Memphis, Tennessee
Panel 09E Line 105

7TH AF A-1 Skyraider 602ND SOS
USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Robert Burns

John R Burns

29 Apr 2003

I Considered Him My Brother --
I Know He was my Friend
by Margaret Ann Burns Hooser
(first cousin to Johnny Burns)

Clear memories exist of how Daddy stood so tall,
Mama's not around to show her photos on the wall,
And Jean has gone on too, when our Maker came to call;

The Lord was with me then as I laid each one to rest,
Heavy burden true, but this trial each one must test;
One goodbye was awkward and unlike all the rest,
When we said "Goodbye" to Johnny we sacrificed our best.

He heard a different call which carried him away,
And made him pay a price that very few have paid;

Closure comes so slow, not the like ones before,
The How, the Why, the When, we simply have to store;

His last days here we think were not so happy ones,
So I will think of him, when he was so much fun.

Goodbye, Johnny, from "Maggie"
(Margaret A. Burns Hooser)

Left to right, cousin Charles Burns; cousin Margaret Ann Burns (my mother); and Johnny Burns.
Charles' and Johnny's photos are from the Grove High School (Paris, Tenn) 1950 annual.

Johnny, the whole Burns family misses you.

This photo from the Skyraider Association site shows John's A-1 training class at Hurlbert Field, Eglin AFB, Florida. Left to right are Maj F W Macallister, Maj L B Tatum (MIA 09/10/66), Maj M Barlow, LtCol E P Deatrick, Capt J R Burns (KIA 08/04/66)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 602nd Fighter Squadron was activated at Bien Hoa Air Base in October 1964 and promptly was redesignated the 602nd Fighter Commando Squadron. It later became the 602nd Air Commando Squadron, and later still the 602nd Special Operations Squadron. In August 1966, it was the 602nd ACS, part of the 14th Air Commando Wing (Nha Trang) but based at Udorn RTAFB in Thailand.

On 04 Aug 1966, two of the 602nd's A-1E Skyraiders departed Udorn to conduct a bombing raid on a target near Kang Mong, about 20 miles east of Sam Neua and close to the Lao/NVN border. The weather was poor, with a low cloud ceiling that forced the section to operate below the deck. His wingman saw Captain Burns, in A-1E 52-133872, crash into the ground in the target area. He did not see a parachute or hear an emergency beeper, and subsequent SAR efforts failed to locate any trace of Burns. Although he initially was classed as Missing in Action, the Air Force reclassified him on 10 Oct 1966 as "Killed in Action, Body not Recovered" with a casualty date of 04 Aug 1966 ... in short, it was decided that the balance of information indicated he had not survived the crash.

And so matters stood for over a quarter of a century, until on 05 Feb 1993 the Defense Department announced the positive identification of Captain Burns' remains, which had been repatriated on 05 Apr 1992. John Robert Burns was laid to rest in Memorial Cemetery, Paris, Tennessee.

Additional information is available on the
POW Network site

As an aside, the search and rescue efforts for Captain Burns claimed a second aircraft ... a flight of F-105Ds from the 357th Tac Ftr Sqd at Takhli RTAFB had provided RESCAP services for the SAR force. As the Thunderchiefs made a final pass before departing for Takhli, F-105D tail number 61-0119, piloted by 1st Lt Allen V. Rogers, was hit by antiaircraft artillery and caught fire. Rogers was able to nurse the ailing Thud back into Thai airspace before ejecting some 40 miles from Udorn, where he was picked up following the ejection.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a first cousin (once removed),
Randy Hooser

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Apr 2003
Last updated 04/07/2008