Bourke, Thomas Eugene

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Bourke, Thomas, born 05-05-1896 was a United States Marine Corps general who, during World War II, commanded Marine artillery units at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Leyte. At the end of World War II, he commanded the 5th  Marine Division in the occupation of Japan, and the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Bourke was a native of Robinson, Maryland, and a graduate of St. Johns College, Annapolis, Maryland. He was commissioned in 1917 after service in the Maryland National Guard along the Mexican border. While en route to Santo Domingo for his first tour, he and 50 recruits were diverted to St. Croix, becoming the first U.S. troops to land on what had just become the American Virgin Islands. Post-World War I tours included service at Quantico, Parris Island, San Diego, and Headquarters Marine Corps. He also served at Pearl Harbor; was commanding officer of the Legation Guard in Managua, Nicaragua, saw sea duty on board the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) and commanded the 10th Marine Regiment. Following the Guadalcanal and Tarawa campaigns, General Bourke was assigned as the V Amphibious Corps artillery officer for the invasion of Saipan. He next trained combined Army-Marine artillery units for the XXIV Army Corps, then preparing for the Leyte operation. With Leyte secured, he assumed command of the 5th Marine Division which was planning for the invasion of Japan. 5th Marine Division, nickname “Spearhead” . Created during World War II, the 5thDivision saw its first combat action during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where it earned the Presidential Unit Citation as part of the invasion force awarded and sustained the highest number of casualties amongst the invasion force. From their landing at Iwo Jima on February 19 until 26-03-1945, the 5th Marine Division suffered more than 8.719 casualties including over 2.482 officers and enlisted men who were killed in action. The division under command of 3* Lieutenant General Keller Emrick Rocky

 Bourke succeeded Rockey. After the war’s sudden end, the division landed at Sasebo, Kyūshū, and assumed occupation duties. With disbandment of the 5th Marine Division, General Bourke became Deputy Commander and Inspector General of Fleet Marine Force Pacific.

Death and burial ground of Bourke, Thomas Eugene.

Bourke retired from the Marine Corps in 1946 with a rank of Lieutenant General.General Bourke died, age 81 on 09-01-1978, in Santa Clara, California. He is buried with his wife Elmire, born Dowdell, who died very old age 96, on 06-04-1994 on Arlington National Cemetery in Section 30. Close by the graves of the Lieutenant General, Commander of the 26th Infantry Division, Willard Paul

, Major General, Chief Signal Officer, George Back, Major General, Commander 116th and 29th Division, D-Day, Charles Canham, Lieutenant General, Commanded the 5th Marine Division, Thomas Bourke, Lieutenant General, Commander 2nd Armoured Division, Ted Brooks and Admiral, Robert Ghormley, Infantry Major General, Commander 24th Infantry Division, Kenneth CramerMajor General, Commander 9th Infantry Division, Louis CraigAir Force Lieutenant General, Commander 12th and 15th U.S. Air Force, Ira EakerNavy Admiral, Okinawa Campain, Louis Denfeld, Fleet Deputy Chief Operations, Richard Edwards, Secretary of the Navy in 1944, James Forrestal and General, Deputy Chief of Staff, Bomb on Hiroshima, Thomas Handy, 1* Brigadier General, assistant Commanding General 85th Division Lee Saunders Gerow   and 1* General Lieutenant, Commanding Officer Artillery, 11th Airborne Division , Francis William Farrell . Also a remembrance stone for the, age 44, missing in action Brigadier General, Charles Keerans the assistant commander of the 82nd Airborne Division under General Matthew Bunker Ridgway.

 

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