Romus Burgin

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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.
Allegiance United States
Service/branchSeal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service1942–1945
RankUSMC-E5.svg Sergeant
UnitK Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
*Battle of Cape Gloucester
*Battle of Peleliu
*Battle of Okinawa
AwardsBronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

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

Early life and family[edit]

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]

Military career[edit]

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]

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]

Personal life[edit]

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]


  • Burgin, R.V. & Marvel, William "Bill" (2010). Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-451-22990-8.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "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. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b c "Veteran R.V. Burgin Fought In 'The Pacific'". March 11, 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Texan's Pacific war memoir used for HBO mini-series". Houston Chronicle. April 3, 2010.
  12. ^ a b 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. ^ a b Granberry, Michael (March 14, 2010). "'The Pacific,' book spotlight Lancaster veteran's battle story". The Dallas Morning News.
  16. ^ "Romus Valton Burgin Obituary"