In Memory of
U.S. Army Captain Rapid City, South Dakota
Pennington County

February 11, 1925 -- June 15, 1954
Died Non–Battle in Air Crash at Camp Ripley, Minnesota


Robert H. Burton was born on February 11, 1925, to Robert and Ethel Burton in Academy, South Dakota. He had three sisters. Robert graduated from Platte High School in 1942 and attended Black Hills Teachers College in Spearfish. Burton first entered the service during WW II, where he was a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific theater from April of 1943 to September of 1946.

After WW II, Captain Burton was married on October 3, 1947, and he and his wife had two children, Peggy Lee and Robert, Jr. He had been employed as a car salesman in Rapid City for several years and as a National Guard pilot for the 109th Engineers Headquarters starting in October of 1953.

At approximately 2:30 P.M. on June 15, 1954, while “piloting a National Guard liaison plane [a single-engine L19] in a mock strafing attack at Camp Riley, [Minnesota],” Captain Burton’s plane hit a power line and crashed into a 2 ½ ton truck. Captain Robert H. Burton was killed, although an observer in the plane was rescued by guardsmen on the ground.

Captain Burton was buried with military honors on July 18, 1954, at Black Hills National Cemetery. He was survived by his widow, his children, his parents, and his three sisters: Mrs. Victor Pengar, Mrs. Robert Calhoon, and Mrs. Ivan Ellis.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Drew Fredericksen, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 11, 2004. Information was provided by newspaper clippings sent by Ellen Bishop of Rapid City, and other documents provided by the SD National Guard Museum. No family contact made.