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Berton Harrell "Tex" Burns, Colonel
United States Air Force

Source:  Irene Burns Mann, and Suzi Stephenson, daughters of Col. Burns, 2008

Berton Burns, in cockpit of B-29, during WWII

Col. Burns, early 1960s, as Base Commander,
Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

Col. Burns after retirement, c. 2000,
ready for golf


Berton H. Burns was born at Burnet, Texas, 16 Aug 1917, the son of Charles St Clair Burns. 

He attended Texas A&M  University and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Engineering.  He was married to the former Phyllis Ward; they had seven children.

He completed pilot training in 1941.  During World II, Colonel Burns flew combat missions during the Battles of Midway, Solomon Islands, India and China, and the Mariana Islands for a total of 89 combat missions. He was stationed at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, during the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

By the time he retired, he had over 6,000 hours flying time, from August 1940 to January 1964.  He was assigned to units within the Strategic Air Command.

His assignments included:

1949 to 1953

Deputy Wing Commander and Commander,
509th Bomb Wing, and
6th Bomb Wing at
Walker APB, New Mexico.

1934 to 1957

Wing Commander 
40th Bomb Wing,
Shilling AFB, Kansas.

1953 to 1954

Vice Commander, FEAF Bomber Command,
19th Bomb Wing

He attended the Air War College in 1957.

1958 to 1961

Wing Commander 
4061st Air Refueling Wing 
Malmstrom AFB, Montana.

1961 to January 1964

Division Commander
813th Strategic Aerospace Division
Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.

Colonel Burns received the following awards and decorations:
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oakleaf Clusters
  • Air Medal with 4 Oakleaf Clusters
  • Purple Heart
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Commendation Ribbon With 2 Oakleaf Clusters
  • Air Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korean Service Medal
  • Air Force Longevity Service Award with 3 Oakleaf Clusters
  • United Nations Service Medal
  • Bronze Service Star for the following campaigns:
    • <>China,
      Air Off Japan,
      Air Combat Palegang,
      Central Burma,
      Bismark Archepelago,
His hobbies included golf, hunting, and rifled, and pistol shooting.  He was active in the Texas Golf Association.

He died 7 Jan 2002 in Granbury, Texas.

For more photos and information about Col. Burns' military career, visit the website, The Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association, Inc., at this address:


Photo Album




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