WORLD WAR II VETERANS CONCORDIA PARISH LOUISIANA

NAVAL AIR FORCE

FRANKLIN N. (JIMMY) BURLEY

Fighter Squadron Eighteen

US Intrepid Third Fleet Pilot F6F Hellcat

Combat Missions: Okinawa, Formosa and Philippines

Japanese Battleship Fleet, Japanese Carrier Fllet

Credited with destroying 8 enemy aircraft September 6, 1944 to November 25, 1944

Awards: Silver Star

Air Medal with one Gold Star

Asiatic Pacific Campaign Ribbon

Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two Bronze Stars

Unit Commendation from Commander of Third Fleet

Listed as Naval Ace at Pensacola Naval Air Station

Franklin N. (Jimmy) Burley was born August 19, 1921 at Monterey, Louisiana son of Fillmore K. and Aletha B. Norfolk Burley, the fourth of six children.

He graduated from Monterey High School in June 1938 and entered Southwestern Louisiana University at Lafayette, Louisiana in September of 1938. While there he was a member of the Bulldog Squadron. He graduated June 15, 1942 and immediately entered the service at the United States Navel Air Station at New Orleans.

From there it was the U.S. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, arriving there September 16, 1942. After his flying training there on April 15, 1943 he was designated Naval Aviator. Training continued at Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia before going overseas.

July 25, 1943 Ensign Franklin N. Burley reported to the Composite Squadron Eighteen. May 7, 1944 Ensign Burley was promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Soon thereafter combat action began.

Burley was credited with destroying one enemy aircraft September 13, 1944, three on October 12, 1944 and four on October 21, 1944. (Probable hits were not counted). In addition the Eighteenth took part in the Fleet’s attacks on surface vessels.

Burley flew wing man to Cecil E. Harris, who with 24 planes to his credit was the second highest scoring ace in the Pacific. Harris gave much credit for his success to having such a good wing man. They were a team.

The September 24, 1944 report on total damage done by the Third Fleet was 122 ships and 61 small craft sunk, 37 ships and 109 small craft damaged, 380 planes shot down and 598 planes destroyed on the ground. They did crippling damage to airfield and naval establishments. Of course the Eighteenth Squadron was only a small part of this, but they were a part.

Jimmy Burley returned to the United States January 6, 1945 and was on leave from January 12 to February 12. He served at Alameda, California and Seattle, Washington until his release from the service September 30, 1945.

Jimmy did not remain idle. He went back to school and in 1946 had his Masters Degree in Agriculture from LSU. His first employment as a civilian was as Assistant County Agent at Rayville, Richland Parish.

In August 1946 he married Joyce Trible. To them, one daughter, Becky Lynn Burley was born. She arrived in 1948.

This fighter, who had survived so much wartime combat, acquired a brain tumor. After surgery at a V. A. hospital in Little Rock, the family was told that he probably could not expect to live more than two years. He died exactly twenty three months later, February 23, 1951.

 

Lloyd Love and Jimmy Burley, two Monterey school boys in 1938, little dreaming what was in their future.

Burley1

Ensign Burley at home on leave before going overseas.

Burley2

Lieutenant, Junior Grade Franklin N. Burley in Dress Uniform.

 

Information submitted by Imogen Burley Wallace King, his sister, who appreciates the fact that her brother Jimmy financed her college education, 1944 to 1946.