MG Edwin Burba
G Edwin H. Burba, was born Feb. 12, 1912 in McAlester, OK. He received a commission as an Artillery Officer upon graduation from OU in 1934. For 6 years after graduation, he attended the Field Artillery Basic Officer Course and then commanded at various levels in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in OK and N.M.
During WW II, CPT Burba was assigned to 68th field Artillery Bn, 1st Armored Div. in N. Africa, later becoming the commander as a Major. His Bn was credited with destroying a substantial number of German tanks during the battle at Kasserine Pass. Wounded in Tunisia; LTC Burba was assigned to the 8th Armored Div. during its European campaign after recovering from his wounds.
In 1952 and 1953 COL Burba participated in the Korean War as Chief of Staff of the 3rd Inf. Div., participating in all of their campaigns in the vicinity of the 38th parallel. Upon his return to the U.S. he attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. He later served on the Joint Staff (J3) at the Pentagon as Chief of Operations. In 1956, he was selected for command in Europe first as Commander of Combat Command B, 4th AD at Erlangen, Germany followed by promotion to Brigadier General and commander of the 7th Armored Training Center at Grafenwohr.
In 1960 General Burba was assigned as Assistant Division Commander of the 2nd Armored Div. at Ft. Hood, TX, then promoted to MG and placed in command of the Division. He and the Division received international notoriety for the Command’s highly successful maneuvers on the Mohave Desert and a short notice deployment to Germany (Operation Big Lift). These operations were the genesis of the exercise later known as REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany). These exercises continued every year for over 20 years.
MG. Burba culminated his 36 years service as Deputy 1st Army commander at Ft. Meade, Md. where his focus turned to nurturing ROTC professors of Military Science and their cadets.
In Nov. of 1974, MG Burba was killed in a military aircraft accident, flying in inclement weather to an ROTC commissioning ceremony in the tri state area of Va. W.Va. and KY. He was survived by his loving wife, Margaret, 2 daughters and 3 sons. During his career MG Burba was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Bronze Star with V device and Oak Leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and over 10 other awards and decorations.