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First Name: David

Last Name: Burchinal

Birthplace: Washington, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Arthur

Date of Birth: 17 April 1915

Date of Death: 17 August 1990

Rank: General

Years Served: 1940-1973
David Arthur Burchinal

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


David Arthur Burchinal

General, U.S. Air Force

David Arthur Burchinal was born in Washington, PA, on 17 April 1915. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1938 from Brown University in Providence, RI, where he was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Military Career

He entered pilot training at Randolph Field, TX, in June 1939, and graduated in 1940 with a commission as a Second Lieutenant and his pilot wings. His first military assignment was as an observer of Army field exercises at Fort Benning, GA. He then became an instructor at Brooks Field, TX. From 2 May 1940 until 28 July 1941, Burchinal served successively as an Engineering Officer; Transport Pilot; Test Pilot; and Assistant Adjutant at the San Antonio Air Depot, Duncan Field, TX.

Burchinal then assumed duties as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of the Air Service Command at Patterson Field, OH; in Washington, DC; and in London, England. In February 1943 Burchinal became Operations Officer and later, Deputy Commander for the 330th Bombardment Group at Alamogordo, NM, and Biggs Field, TX.

Remaining at Biggs Field, he was reassigned in July 1943 to the XX Bomber Command as Assistant A-3, for the 16th Bombardment Operations Training Wing. He was on this job only six months when in December 1943, he was named Military Air Attaché at Ottawa, Canada. After six months of Attaché duty, Burchinal returned to the U.S. in June 1944 for duties as Wing A-3 at Headquarters 313th Bombardment Wing, Peterson Field, CO.

Six months later he was en route to the Pacific area as A-3 for the 313th Bombardment Wing, based on Tinian. He later became Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the Wing and in March 1945, became Deputy A-3, Headquarters XXI Bomber Command on Guam in the Marianas Islands. In September 1945, Burchinal became A-3 for the Twentieth Air Force and, in November the same year, assumed duties as Military Analyst, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in Tokyo, Japan. One month later he returned to the U.S.

He stayed with the War Department in Washington until June 1946, working as Research Analyst, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, and then moved to Maxwell Field, AL, as student and instructor on the first faculty of the Air War College. He later became Assistant Chief of the Air Strategy Division in the Air War College; a job he held until called back to Washington in March 1949.

Upon his return to Washington, Burchinal became Chief of the Program Analysis Division in the Directorate of Program Standards and Cost Control in the Office of the Comptroller, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. In April 1951 he was transferred to the Air Force Council, also in Washington, as the first Secretary of the unit.

Two years later, in May 1953, he went to Smoky Hill Air Force Base, KS, as Commander of the 40th Bombardment Wing. In January 1954 he moved to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ, as Commander of the 43rd Bombardment Wing. In August 1955 Burchinal became Chief of Staff for Headquarters Eighth Air Force, Strategic Air Command, Westover Air Force Base, MA.

In November 1958 Burchinal returned to Washington as Deputy Director, J-3 (Operations), for the Joint Staff in the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, as Deputy Director of Plans in September 1960; advanced to the Director of Plans in January 1961; and made Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs in August 1962. He held this position, which was later re-designated Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, until February 1964. He then became director of the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Burchinal was promoted to the four-star rank of General on 31 July 1966 and assigned duty as Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. European Command. It was his final assignment before retirement.

General Burchinal retired from the Air Force on 1 March 1973.

Medals and Awards

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Silver Star Medal

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Medal

Army Commendation Medal (3 Awards)


• In June 1965 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree by Brown University.

• In August 1968, Burchinal was presented an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Utah at England's Cambridge University.

Death and Burial

General David Arthur Burchinal died on 17 August 1990. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 13 Site 5550.

Honoree ID: 449   Created by: MHOH




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