Burnett, Howard Reason, LT

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-16)
Service Years
1940 - 1944

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Oronzo Savino (Ron), LT to remember Burnett, Howard Reason, LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
New Eden
Last Address
Lawrence, Kansas

Casualty Date
Aug 04, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National RegistryWorld War II Fallen
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2015, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
School Assignments - StaffNAS Miami, FLAfloat Training Group Pacific (Staff)USS Enterprise (CV-6)
VF-19USS Lexington (CV-16)
  1941-1941, 139X, Naval Aviation Schools
  1941-1941, 139X, NAS Miami, FL
  1941-1942, 131X, Afloat Training Group (Staff) San Diego, CA, Afloat Training Group Pacific (Staff)
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1943-1944, 131X, VF-19
  1943-1944, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-16)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
 Colleges Attended 
Kansas University
  1935-1938, Kansas University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
BIOGRAPHY: Service number 0-104595, United States Naval Reserve.
Howard Reason Burnett was born June 5th, 1916 in New Eden, Comanche County, Kansas, the son of Howard Reynolds Burnett and Marjorie Gaylord. He was educated in New Eden and in Coldwater High School, graduating in 1934. After three years of study at Kansas University, he started work with the Kansas Electric Power Co. in Lawrence, Kansas. December 9th, 1940 he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve for four years. On April 17th, 1941, this enlistment was upgraded to a commission as Aviation Ensign. He received his flght training at Fairfax Field, Kansas City and at Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. November 15th he received his commission as Ensign and posted to the Advance Carrier Training Group, Pacific Fleet in San Diego, California. 
May 1942, Howard Burnett left for the Pacific and saw action as pilot of a Dauntless divebomber. July 1943 he returned to the US for conversion training as fighter pilot.
During the battle for Guadalcanal, Burnett was a member of Scouting Squadron 10 (VS-10) of the so called Cactus Air Force, flying the Grumman Wildcat from Henderson Field. Formally, VS-10 was a squadron based on the U.S.S. Enterprise.
On August 4th, 1944, over Iwo Jima his Grumman Hellcat was hit by anti-aircraft fire causing his plane to crash burning into the sea. Since then he is reported as missing in action or buried at sea. His name was added to the "Tablets of the Missing" on the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu on Hawaii.
In addition to his personal awards he was authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation with Golden Star for his role in the fighting of the U.S.S. Enterprise and the 1st Marine Division. 


Rank: Lieutenant 

Awarded on: 1943 

Citation: "For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot of a scout bomber, attached to a U. S. aircraft carrier, in combat against enemy Japanese naval forces in the battle for the Soloman Islands on November 14 and 15, 1942. In the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and hostile fighter planes, Lieutenant (junior grade) Burnett participated in numerous attacks on major Japanese forces, scoring as direct heavy bomb hit on an enemy vessel. By his skill, courage, and aggressive fighting spirit he contributed in a large part to the success of our forces in that area." 


Rank: Lieutenant 

Unit: U.S.S. Lexington 

Awarded on: 1944 

Citation: "For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as Division Leader attached to a U. S. S. LEXINGTON Air Group assigned to strike against enemy Japanese installations and in support of landings on an island of the Marianas Group from July 18 to 21, and on other flights against the Palau Islands, July 25 to 27, 1944. Leading his division in repeated bombing and low level strafing attacks on hostile beach defenses of designated landing areas in the face of rain squalls and heavy anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant Burnett contributed materially on our troop landings. On July 28 he led a bombing attack on an airstrip ar Palau which resulted in the destruction of four grounded enemy planes, and the next day flew in hazardously low through the formidable fire of a Japanese anti-aircraft installation and succeeded in putting it out of action. His cool courage and unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." 

Details: Second Air Medal received in the form of a golden star to be worn on the ribbon of the first Air Medal. 


Rank: Lieutenant 

Unit: Pilot U.S.S. Enterprise 

Citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as pilot of a plane in a squadron attached to the USS Enterprise, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Santa Cruz, on October 26, 1944. Leading an offensive search flight to the position of an enemy task force consisting of capital ships and screening vessels. Lieut. Burnette delivered a successful attack, in the face of severe enemy antiaircraft fire, to inflict heavy damage on an enemy heavy cruiser. Returning his damaged plane to the carrier base, he attacked and destroyed a Japanese torpedo bomber as it attacked the USS Hornet. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." 

Details: Awarded posthumously. 

Note: Entered the service from Kansas.

http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=burnett&GSfn=howard&GSmn=r&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1944&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=56116814&df=all&Source: Findagrave

United States Pacific Fleet
Fighting Squadron Nineteen
15 A
ugust 1944

Dear Mrs. Burnett;
While the Navy Department will have told you that Howard's missing in action it will not tell you of the void left in this squadron nor the deep personal loss I feel. I only wish there were some chance of his return but any such hope is too remote to even be considered. His plane was seen to catch on fire in the midst of intense anti aircraft fire 4,000 feet over a Jap base within 600 miles of Tokyo, and it is believe to have crashed.
      Redbird as we knew him, was one of the most colorful pilots in the war. He was an outstanding leader that the Navy and our country will sorely miss him. He is well known throughout the fleet for his general aggressive spirit, and in particular for his excellent work during the occupation of the Solomons. A recent citation for this work has just been received and is being forwarded to you.
      The two pictures of you which were on his desk together with other very personal belongings, are being sent to you direct while his clothes and other belongings are being forwarded through the Navy Supply Department. The enclosed check represents his personal cash and his interest in the squadron and ships messes.
      Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and write me if there is anything further that I can do or say.

Sincerely yours,

Commander, U. S. Navy.
Commanding Officer.

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