Hall of Honor
General (Brevet) Richard M. Burrage began his military career as a
private in Company M, 143d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division, Texas
National Guard, on May 8, 1939, in Waco, Texas. He was originally
assigned to the machine gun platoon, but was later assigned as the
company mess sergeant.
General Burrage was a student at Southwest Texas State Teachers College
and left the school during his senior year when the 36th Division was
mobilized on November 25, 1940. He was a first sergeant at the time.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant on March 13, 1941, and was
assigned as platoon leader of Company A, 143d Infantry. He held other
positions before being appointed as the S-2, 1st Bn, 143d Inf in
The Division left the United States in April, 1943, and received
mountain and amphibious training in North Africa, in preparation for the
landing at Salerno, Italy. The 36th Division landed at Paestum, Italy,
on September 9, 1943, the first American division to land in
Nazi-occupied Europe. Lieutenant Burrage, as the battalion S-2, landed
with the intelligence section three hours before the first wave and
scouted out initial positions, established local security, and helped to
direct the main body of troops to their position. Lieutenant Burrage was
awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action for his performance.
Three days later the battalion moved to the coastal town of Maiori,
Italy, where it reinforced U.S. Rangers, and helped to close the road
leading from Naples to the beachhead, thus preventing the Germans from
advancing on the beaches. The War Department general order that awarded
the Presidential Unit Citation to the units that participated in this
action failed to include the 1st Bn, 143d infantry, and Btry A, 133d
Field Artillery. Captain Burrage and others spent countless hours making
telephone calls, writing letters, and researching the operations. As a
result of their perseverance, the Department of Defense issued orders to
correct their omission.
CPT Burrage held additional positions with the 143d Infantry before
being appointed Assistant G-2, HQ 36th Infantry Division, in February
1945. When truce negotiations began between the Third Reich and the
allied forces, CPT Burrage was the officer-in-charge of the team that
escorted Field Marshall Hermann Goering and his staff across the front
lines prior to the German surrender.
When the war in Europe ended, CPT Burrage was reassigned to the United
States to command an armored infantry battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. He
was released from active duty on December 15, 1945.
In 1946, Major Barrage assisted in the reorganization of the 143d
Infantry Regiment, eventually rising to the position of regimental
executive officer. In 1959 he was assigned as executive officer of the
1st Battle Group, 143d Infantry. In 1962, LTC Barrage transferred to the
75th U.S. Army Maneuver Area Command, USAR, in Houston, where he
remained for the duration of his military service.
Colonel Barrage retired after serving for 25 years in the 143d infantry
Regiment, and 11 years with the USAR. He was brevetted to the rank of
Brigadier General on June 1, 1982, by the Adjutant General of Texas.
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