From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Joseph Bourland '33

Date of birth: January 31, 1911

Date of death: July 11, 1943

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1933 Lucky Bag:


1933 Bourland 2.jpg

From the 1953 edition of the book "Double Three Roundup," published by the class of 1933:

The MARYLAND drew '33s five striper following graduation, but Joe kept his eye on an old ambition and after 2 years with the surface Navy he volunteered for submarine duty. On the completion of the course of instruction which included frequent trips to New York on weekends to visit his future wife, he was assigned duty in the S-41, then on the Asiatic station. By the time Joe got to China, the incident perpetrated by the Japanese at Mukden Bridge had grown into a rather hot affair and while the S-41 did not have as warm a time as the PANAY, the war in China made life more exciting then it otherwise would have been.

While on the China station, Joe married Jerry Peppard of New York in Shanghai. In August 1938, Joe was ordered back to the States and assigned to the SARGO, then building at Groton. He served aboard the SARGO from commissioning until the Spring of 1941.

Following that duty he spent a year in planning in the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was assigned as Executive Officer of the RUNNER at the Portsmouth Navy Yard for service under Captain "Mike" Fenno of Corregidor gold fame. While aboard the RUNNER, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action as Assistant Approach Officer during her first patrol when the RUNNER sank 3 Japanese freighters and damaged 2 additional ships in the waters ajoining Palau.

In May 1943 Joe took over in Midway as the RUNNER'S new skipper after a short training period in Pearl during which he fired some of John Tyree's exercise torpedoes. He was officially declared missing in action as of 11. July 1943, when the RUNNER failed to return from a war patrol in the Northwestern Pacific. A summary of Japanese antisubmarine attacks received since the close of hostilities, contains no mention of an attack which could explain the loss of the RUNNER. Thus her loss must be ascribed to an enemy mine field of which there were four in the area to which she was assigned, to an operational casualty, or to an unreported enemy attack. Destruction by a mine is considered most likely of these possibilities. Joe is survived by his wife, Jerry, and two children, David Lawrence (1940) and Joanne (1942).

Five and a half years ago, Jerry married Harry A. Mullarky and now lives in Concord, California. Jerry would like to see Larry follow his fathers footsteps and make a name for himself at the Naval Academy, but she reports that presently he seems to be leaning more to the medical profession as a choice for his career.


1933 Bourland 1.jpg

Joe was lost when USS Runner (SS 275) was sunk, probably by a mine, on July 11, 1943. He had taken command of the boat at the end of May 1943; previously he was executive officer.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

From Find A Grave:

The Wellington Leader March 14, 1946

The Silver Star Medal has been awarded posthumously to Lt. Comdr. Joseph Hunt Bourland, son of W. M. Bourland of Quail, who has been missing since June 1943. The medal was presented in mid-February to the officer's five-year-old son, Larry, who is living with his mother at Bremerton, Washington.

Lt. Comdr. Bourland was reared on the Bourland Ranch at Quail and at Clarendon, where he graduated from high school. He was one of five brothers to serve in World War II. One brother, Lt. Lacy Bourland, died while serving in California.

An account of the presentation which appeared in The Bremerton (Wash.) Sun follows: The Silver Star Medal awarded posthumously to his father has been presented to five-year-old Larry Bourland by Rear Admiral Ralph W. Christie, U.S.N., commandant of the Bremerton Naval Base.

Larry lives with his mother, Mrs. Gertrude Bourland, hostess at the commissioned officers' mess here since July 1945.

His father, Lt. Comdr. Joseph Hunt, U.S.N., and all others aboard the submarine USS Runner has been reported missing since June 1943. They are now presumed dead. The submarine headed for the Japanese islands in the Kurile chain and failed to return from the first misson on which Camdr. Bourland was in command.

The Silver Star medal was presented for one of the three previous war patrols made by the officer. The accompanying citation, signed by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, reads:

"For conspiciuous gallentry and intrepidity in action as assistant approach officer on board the USS Runner during the first war patrol of that vessel against enemy Japanese surface forces in the Toagel Mlungui passage, Palua, from January 18 to March 7, 1943. Skilled and courageous in the performace of duty, Lt. Comdr. Bourland rendered invaluable service during the execution of a daylight submerged attack in restricted waters, contributing materially to the achievement of the Runner in sinking three Japanese freighters totaling 19,815 tons and the damaging of two additional ships totaling 14,189 tons and to her success in evading severe enemy counter measures. Lt. Comdr. Bourland's heroic conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service."

Comdr. Bourland had been in submarine service since 1935. At the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he was graduated two years earlier, he was reimental commander, the highest cadet honor. He attended Texas A&M College before receiving his appointment to the academy.

Adm. Christie, formerly commander of submarines in the southwest Pacific, said, "Commander Bourland was formerly under my command. He was well known, well liked and respected by all submariners and was one of the finest young ment in the force I had the honor to command."

A brother, Comdr. Wilson George Bourland, supply corps, U.S.N., now on duty in Washington, D.C., is a 1938 graduate of the academy. Three other brothers served in the armed forces during the war.

spouse - Gertrude Margaretta Peppard


From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Sargo (SS-188) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Jul 1940
  • Executive Officer USS Sargo (SS-188) 1 Nov 1940 - 4 Apr 1941
  • Duty Industrial Department Portsmouth Navy Yard 1942
  • Executive Officer USS Runner (SS-275) Sep 1942 - Mar 1943
  • Captain USS Runner (SS-275) 27 May 1943 - Jun 1943
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 Jun 1936
  • Lieutenant 1 Jul 1940
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 15 Aug 1942

Class of 1933

Joseph is one of 38 members of the Class of 1933 on Virtual Memorial Hall.