Thomas E. Bourke

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Thomas Eugene Bourke
Thomas e. bourke.jpg
Thomas E. Bourke, USMC
Born (1896-05-05)May 5, 1896
Robinson, Maryland
Died January 9, 1978(1978-01-09) (aged 81)
Santa Clara, California
Buried Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1917–1946
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Service number 0-96
Commands held 5th Marine Division
10th Marine Regiment
Inspector General of FMFPac
Battles/wars Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
Nicaraguan Campaign
World War II
Awards Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (2)

Thomas Eugene Bourke (May 5, 1896 – January 9, 1978) was a United States Marine Corps general who, during World War II, commanded Marine artillery units at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Leyte. At the end of World War II, he commanded the 5th Marine Division in the occupation of Japan, and the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.


Bourke was born on May 5, 1896, in Robinson, Maryland, and later attended high school in Boonsboro, Maryland. He later attended the St. Johns College, Annapolis, Maryland, and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree. Following his graduation, Bourke sereved with the Maryland National Guard along the Mexican border, before he accepted the commission as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on February 5, 1917.

While en route to Santo Domingo for his first tour, he and 50 recruits were diverted to St. Croix, becoming the first U.S. troops to land on what had just become the American Virgin Islands.

Post-World War I tours included service at Quantico, Parris Island, San Diego, and Headquarters Marine Corps. He also served at Pearl Harbor; was commanding officer of the Legation Guard in Managua, Nicaragua; saw sea duty on board the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48); and commanded the 10th Marine Regiment.

Following the Guadalcanal and Tarawa campaigns, General Bourke was assigned as the V Amphibious Corps artillery officer for the invasion of Saipan. He next trained combined Army-Marine artillery units for the XXIV Army Corps, then preparing for the Leyte operation. With Leyte secured, he assumed command of the 5th Marine Division which was planning for the invasion of Japan.

After the war's sudden end, the division landed at Sasebo, Kyūshū, and assumed occupation duties. With disbandment of the 5th Marine Division, General Bourke became deputy commander and inspector general of Fleet Marine Force Pacific. Bourke retired from the Marine Corps in 1946 with a rank of lieutenant general.

Bourke died in 1978. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
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Bronze star
Bronze star
1st row Legion of Merit with Combat "V"
2nd row Bronze Star with one 516" gold star Navy Presidential Unit Citation with one star Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal Mexican Border Service Medal
3rd row World War I Victory Medal with one clasp Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal American Defense Service Medal with Fleet clasp American Campaign Medal
4th row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four 3/16 inch service stars World War II Victory Medal Navy Occupation Service Medal Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars

See also

External links

  • NPS biography of Thomas Bourke
  • Thomas Eugene Bourke, Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps, Arlington National Cemetery profile.
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