U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Collection: Jack Burgeman Papers

Manuscript Collection #677-002
Burgeman, Jack
Physical description
0.155 Cubic Feet, 8 items , consisting of correspondence, war diaries, photographs, newspaper, and a poem.
Preferred Citation
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation Collection: Jack Burgeman Papers (#677-002), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1943-1946) including correspondence, war diaries, photographs, newspaper, and a poem.

Biographical/historical information

Jack Burgeman was a crew member aboard the battleship USS ALABAMA (BB-60) during its Pacific campaigns in World War II (February 1943-January 1946) as part of the Navy's 3rd and 5th fleets. He also served as a PNA-3 during the Korean War. The bulk of the collection consists of a typescript memoir of Burgeman's war diary that begins with details of his boot camp in Great Lakes, IL, assignment to the ALABAMA, traveling to the Pacific theatre through the Panama Canal, crew activities, and extensive battle accounts (February 1943-January 1946).

Scope and arrangement

In his diary Burgeman gives details of action he saw aboard ship when the ALABAMA and other ships conducted bombing raids on the Gilbert Islands (November 1943); Marshall Islands (January 1944); Palau, New Guinea, Truk, and Ponape (March-May 1944); Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands (June 1944); the Philippine Islands (September 1944); Okinawa and Formosa (October 1944); and the Japanese home islands (July 1945). Battle details and logistical matters are noted in the memoir, including the numbers and types of Japanese planes shot down, enemy casualties, Japanese air attacks on the ALABAMA, kamikaze assaults, run-ins with enemy submarines, amphibious marine landings, re-supplying practices of the U.S. fleet, task group and commanding officer changes, and the effects of typhoons on the ALABAMA's routine.

Mentioned throughout the memoir are various U.S. Navy vessels that were attached to the same task forces as the ALABAMA, fought with the ship, or were engagednearby. These include the battleships USS COLORADO (BB-45), USS IDAHO (BB-42), USS INDIANA (BB-58), USS IOWA (BB-61), USS MARYLAND (BB-46), USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB-59), USS MISSISSIPPI (BB-41), USS MISSOURI (BB-63), USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62), USS NEW MEXICO (BB-40), USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55), USS PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38), USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57), USS TENNESSEE (BB-43), USS WASHINGTON (BB-56), USS WISCONSIN (BB-64); aircraft carriers USS BUNKER HILL (CV-17), USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), USS ESSEX (CV-9), USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-22), USS INTREPID (CV-11), USS LEXINGTON (CV-16), USS SARATOGA (CV-3), USS YORKTOWN (CV-10); heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA-35); and light cruiser USS SAN DIEGO (CL-53). Also noted was Great Britain's HMS KING GEORGE V.

Further memoir entries mention a visit of Admiral Richard Byrd, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the peace talks, Japan's surrender, capitulation proceedings aboard the USS MISSOURI, the American occupation of Japan, and treatment of U.S. soldiers in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. Briefly mentioned were the characteristics and attitudes of Filipinos on the island of Samar, a comparison of the dress and condition of British and American sailors and ships, and details of where the crew took liberty. The memoir gives particular note of trips to Honolulu, commenting on prostitution, the ethnic groups in the city, and tourist attractions (January 1944). The memoir ends with the return of the ALABAMA to the U.S. and Burgeman's discharge from the Navy (August 1945-January 1946).

The remainder of the collection include a letter from Burgeman to his brother that mentions naval tactics, industrial targets, night bombing, and censorship; part of a printed war diary and detailed history of the ALABAMA; an issue of the World War II Times dedicated to the ALABAMA; a Christmas poem written by Burgeman; a photograph of a "crossing-the-line ceremony" (equator) on the ALABAMA (1943); and a photograph of Jack Burgeman during the Korean War (1951).

Administrative information
Custodial History

June 10, 1994, 8 items; Papers of Jack Burgeman, USS ALABAMA crew member, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, and a poem. Gift of Mr. Jack Burgeman, Chicago, IL.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Jack Burgeman

Processing information

Processed by D. Jones, September 1997

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Burgeman, Jack--Diaries
Corporate Names
Alabama (Battleship : BB-60)
Missouri (Battleship : BB-63)
United States. Navy--Officials and employees
Atomic bomb--United States--History--20th century
Capitulations, Military--Japan
Prisoners of war--Japan
Prisoners of war--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, Japanese
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean
World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Ocean--Naval operations, American, [British, etc.]
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
Hiroshima-shi (Japan)--History--Bombardment, 1945
Nagasaki-shi (Japan)--History--Bombardment, 1945