From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Burgan '40

Date of birth: October 26, 1917

Date of death: October 11, 1943

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1940 Lucky Bag:


Bill was lost when USS Wahoo (SS 238) was sunk, likely on October 11, 1944, in La Perouse Strait off Northern Japan.

His parents were listed as next of kin.


Upon graduation Bill was initially assigned to the USS Savannah as an Ensign. After the war began, Bill was promoted to Lt(jg) on April 15, 1942, and LT on October 1, 1942.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander William Wilson Burgan (NSN: 0-85387), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the line of duty and in a position of great responsibility while serving aboard the U.S.S. WAHOO (SS-238), during the SEVENTH War Patrol of that Submarine from September 9, 1943 to October 1943, in enemy patrolled waters. He assisted his Commanding Officer in penetrating dangerous, confined and patrolled enemy waters where he contributed to the known destruction of one important enemy vessel. Other damage inflicted upon the enemy by his submarine in this area is unknown since his vessel failed to return from this patrol and it is presumed that he gave his life for his country. His conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Pacific Board of Awards: Serial 0559 (March 27, 1944)
Action Date: September 9 - October 1943
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Memorial Hall Error

Thomas is listed as a LCDR in a majority of references, including his Silver Star citation. Memorial Hall lists him as a LT.

Class of 1940

William is one of 91 members of the Class of 1940 on Virtual Memorial Hall.