Dale Burgess WWII Pic Ver2Dale Burgess

Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps

1942- 1945



Dale Everett Burgess was born in Isabella County, Ml on October 26, 1922. He was raised in Mt. Pleasant and then Farwell. He attended Central Michigan College of Education for two years, where he met his future bride. He then volunteered for the Aviation Cadet Program and was sworn into the Army Air Force on May 27, 1942. He was called up for training on November 8, 1942 and went to Santa Anna, CA for his pre-flight schooling. His primary flight school was at Dos Palos, CA and trained in Ryan PT-22 Recruits. His basic flight school was at Lemoore, CA flying BT-13 Valiants. His advanced flight school was at Williams Field, AZ. There, on October 1, 1943, he graduated and received his wings and commission.

At the end of 1943, he was sent overseas to the South Pacific where he was assigned to the 475th Fighter Group and flew Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. While assigned to the 475th he participated in bomber escorts, strafings, bombings, napalm missions and some dog fights. He also flew with Charles Lindbergh, who showed the Group how to increase the length of the missions in the P-38s.The Group island-hopped from New Guinea to the Philippines.

Among his many combat awards, Dale received 4 Air Medals and the Philippine Liberation Medal with 4 Battle Stars. While assigned to the 475 Fighter Group, the unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Dale was in the air when the Japanese surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

In his 15 months in the Philippines Dale performed 431 missions and accrued 452 combat hours. He returned to the U.S. in late April 1945 and joined the USAF Reserves, ultimately attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel.

He married Betty, whom he had fallen in love with at Central, May 20, 1945. He then attended Michigan State College and received a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1949. He was employed by the State of Michigan in July of 1950 in the Department of Public Health as an Occupational Health Engineer, where he remained until his retirement, after 35 years, in 1983. He and Betty had two children and one granddaughter.