Burris, James, COL

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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1965-1968, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
Service Years
1948 - 1973


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Home State
Year of Birth
Not Specified
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Home Town
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Last Address

Date of Passing
Nov 21, 2008
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
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Last Known Activity
After retiring from the Army, he was senior vice president of human relations for BSAF North America in Parsippany, N.J. He retired from BSAF in 1986 and established a human resources firm that was a consultant to the chemical industry.

In recent years, Colonel Burris worked as executive vice president with Boyden International, an executive search organization, as a consultant until he retired because of illness.

The former Lutherville resident, who had lived in Havre de Grace since 2006, was an avid reader of military history.

Colonel Burris was a communicant of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 3.

A funeral service with full military honors will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 5 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Surviving are his wife of 30 years, the former Margaret Contessa; four daughters, Elizabeth Harwood and Martha C. Berry, both of Chattanooga, Tenn., Cecilia Porter of Cummings, Ga., and Sarah Stone of Charleston, S.C.; a brother, Robert Burris of Aurora, Colo.; and nine grandchildren. An earlier marriage to Marion Grandy ended in divorce.

From FindAGrave.com
James Curtis, of Havre de Grace, MD, and Edgartown, MA, died at home on November 13, 2008, after a long battle with cancers related to Agent Orange. The son of Hazel Marriott and John Cecil (Skeet) Burris, Jim was born in Tulsa, OK in 1930 and never forgot growing up during the dust bowl days and the ravages of the Depression. Despite 25 years of Military Service in various command and staff positions around the globe, Jim maintained his great affection for Oklahoma and continued connections with childhood friends through the years. He chronicled his experiences from that era in history in a book that will be completed by his wife, Marge. Mr. Burris attended Tulsa Central High School and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1954. He graduated from the Army's Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS and earned a Master's Degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University while in the service. Decorated for valor in infantry combat, LTC Burris was awarded 3 Silver Stars, 2 Legion's of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, 2 Bronze Star medals for valor, 39 Air Medals for combat assaults in Vietnam, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and various awards and decorations from Allied Nations. He also earned the Ranger Tab and Master Parachutist's Badge. Following retirement from the military in 1973, Mr. Burris held several executive positions in the private sector and also established his own consulting firm. During his military and private sector careers Jim Burris was sought as a mentor, coach and confidant, and was appreciated for his candor, wisdom and counsel by many who knew him. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, the former Margaret Contessa; and 4 daughters; 9 grandchildren; his brother Robert and family of Aurora, CO. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., December 3, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Owings Mills, MD and Burial with Full Military Honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 5, 2009. 

Other Comments:

Col. James C. Burris, Vietnam War veteran

Col. James Curtis Burris, a highly decorated career Army officer who fought in the Vietnam War, died Nov. 13 at his Havre de Grace home of cancers related to exposure to Agent Orange. He was 78.

Colonel Burris, who was born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1948.

Born into a military family, Colonel Burris was the grandson of two Civil War veterans and the son of a World War I veteran. He enlisted in the Army in 1948 and was selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1954.

Assigned to the infantry, he served in Korea and South and Central America. He completed three combat tours of duty in Vietnam during the 1960s, where he was a combat leader with the 101st Infantry Division. During his 25 years of service, Colonel Burris held numerous command assignments throughout the world.

He was decorated for valor and heroism during combat with two Bronze Stars, three Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross and 39 Air Medals for combat assaults in Vietnam.

Other decorations included the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Ranger Tab and Master Parachutist's Badge, plus numerous decorations from foreign governments.


 Ribbon Bar

Master Parachutist

 Unit Assignments
1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
  1965-1968, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1949-1954, United States Military Academy
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