Joseph C. Burger

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Joseph C. Burger
Joseph C Burger.jpg
Burger at Maryland in 1924
Maryland Terrapins
Position Tackle
Career history
Personal information
Date of birth (1902-05-11)May 11, 1902
Date of death February 1, 1982(1982-02-01) (aged 79)

LTG Joseph Charles Burger (1902 – 1982) was a United States Marine Corps officer and college athlete. He served as the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island during the Ribbon Creek incident. In college, he played football, basketball, and lacrosse at the University of Maryland.

Early life[edit]

Burger was born on May 11, 1902.[1] He attended college at the University of Maryland, where he played on the football team as a tackle, and on the basketball and lacrosse teams.[2] Burger earned varsity letters in football in 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924,[3] in lacrosse in 1924 and 1925,[4] and basketball in 1924–25.[5] He graduated from Maryland in 1925.[2]

Military service[edit]

After Maryland, Burger served in the United States Marine Corps. He played for the Quantico Marines football team in 1925 and 1926.[6] In 1928, commissioned as a lieutenant, Burger returned to the Quantico Marines to serve as an assistant coach, and coached again in 1931 and 1932.[6]

According to author Keith Fleming in The U.S. Marine Corps in Crisis: Ribbon Creek and Recruit Training, Burger "enjoyed an excellent professional reputation from the very beginning of his Marine Corps service".[7] As a captain, Burger was stationed in China, and his company won the Breckinridge Trophy for the best Marine unit deployed to that country.[7] He later served in World War II and the Korean War.[7] During the latter, he was the assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division toward the end of the war.[7]

Burger attained the rank of major general and took over as the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in Port Royal, South Carolina in January 1956.[7] He was the commander during the Ribbon Creek incident the following month, in which a junior drill instructor conducted a forced march that resulted in the drowning deaths of six Marine recruits.[8] After the incident, Burger was transferred out of the command "without prejudice".[9]

He later attained the rank of lieutenant general before retirement.[1] Burger died on February 1, 1982 at the age of 79 and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] Burger was inducted in the inaugural class of the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Joseph C. Burger". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame: All-Time Inductees Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine., University of Maryland, retrieved June 12, 2009.
  3. ^ 2007 Maryland Football Media Guide, p. 17, University of Maryland, 2007.
  4. ^ 2009 Maryland Men's Lacrosse Media Guide, p. 64, University of Maryland, 2009.
  5. ^ Men's Basketball All-Time Roster, University of Maryland, retrieved July 10, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Quantico Football: 1918 through 1942 (PDF), Quantico Marine Athletes Reunion Group, retrieved July 10, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e Keith Fleming, The U.S. Marine Corps in Crisis: Ribbon Creek and Recruit Training, p. 29, University of South Carolina Press, 1990, ISBN 0-87249-635-X.
  8. ^ MARINE CORPS HISTORICAL REFERENCE SERIES Number 8; A Brief History Of THE MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, 1891 - 1962, Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, 1962.
  9. ^ ARMED FORCES: The Missing Pieces, Time magazine, May 14, 1956.