From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Jump to: navigation, search

Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: October 26, 1917
Date of death: October 11, 1943
Age: 25

Lucky Bag

1940 Burgan LB.jpg

From the 1940 Lucky Bag:


Baltimore, Maryland

He may be little, but he makes himself heard. This "mighty mite" is a fiery little rebel, and loves his arguments. Whenever conversation lags, "Salty" is only too willing to come down with that yarn about the good old days on the "Lady Lex." "Quaint" nautical expressions make those yarns a treat to the hearer. Shortly after liberty call, Bill usually has in his company a member of the fair sex: and no "bricks" either! Bill has had his troubles with academic departments, too, but he has always managed to crash through the storm intact. To use his own words, "Oh well, it all evens up in thirty years service."


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.

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 Navigation

Class of 1940
William is one of 89 members of the Class of 1940 in Memorial Hall.
<< Richie Henderson '40 John Harris '40 >>