Romus “RV” Burgin was born in Jewett, Texas, in 1922. He joined the Marines on Nov. 13, 1942. After he completed bootcamp at Camp Elliot in San Diego, Burgin began his training as a mortarman. He started with the 9th Replacement Battalion before moving to the K-Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.
Burgin first went to Melbourne, Australia, for pre-deployment training, where he met his wife, Florence, according to an interview with the American Veterans Center. After Melbourne, Burgin went to New Guinea for three months, where he continued his training and received additional recruits. He left New Guinea on May 4, 1943, serving as a gunner with the 5th Marine Division on the first day of combat in the Battle of New Britain.
Burgin moved to Peleliu and Okinawa, Japan, for 30 days to fight against the Japanese Army. During this time, he promoted to sergeant. On May 2, 1945, Burgin received a Bronze Star for destroying a Japanese machine gun emplacement that had prevented his company from advancing their position, according to Task and Purpose.
During the Battle of Okinawa, enemy fire from a machine gun nest wounded him in the leg. He went to a field hospital and recovered after 20 days. Burgin returned to K-Company and remained a part of the company until the battle was over. He served in northern Okinawa until the end of World War II. On Oct. 16, 1945, Burgin took USS Lavaca to California, where he began to transition into civilian life.
After he retired from the Marine Corps, Burgin worked at a Dallas post office as a substitute carrier and tenant. At the age of 80, he co-authored the book “Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific with William Marvel”. He was also depicted in the HBO series “The Pacific” for his actions in the battles of New Britain, Peleliu and Okinawa during the Pacific campaign.
Burgin passed away April 6, 2019, at the age of 96.
We honor his service.
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