134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

First Sergeant Thomas L. Burton

Company H and Headquarters Company

1st Sgt. Thomas L. Burton

Thomas Lindsey Burton was born in Reidsville, NC in February of 1924. His family farmed tobacco. His father died when he was 13 years old and he, with the assistance of tenant farmers, continued to farm the land until he was out of high school.

He learned to fly light aircraft during his senior year of high school, but didn't get to do much of it due to the war in the Pacific and Europe. He moved with his best friend (also a fledgling pilot) to Baltimore, MD where they secured employment with Glenn L. Martin aircraft company, working bucking rivets on an assembly line. His best friend's draft number came up and Burton decided to have his "pulled" also; as the two young aviators planned to enlist in the Army Air Corps together. Burton was dismayed to find out early in the process that he was colorblind and was subsequently "washed" out of the Air Corps-to find himself assigned to an infantry unit. The story he told was he was not, at this point, assigned to the 35th Infantry Division. At some time late in basic training he ended in the hospital due to an injury-and his unit was deployed-and when discharged from the hospital he was reassigned to the 35th / 134th Infantry Regiment with "a bunch of Nebraskan National Guardsman" to finish basic training. He would later relate:"These were the finest bunch of guys I have ever known..."

Soldiers Burton served closely with in Company H, and names often mentioned and familiar to Burton's family, were "Robert Divine," "Cluckey" [Frank L. Cluckey, Jr.], and "Denhard" [Fred W. Denhard]. Burton also spoke with the highest respect of the leadership qualities of Captain Charles E. Hake.

Burton was fought in all five campaigns of the European Theater and was wounded three times. He would mention regularly that [he] "...almost froze to death in Bastogne," but as the heroes of that generation were so inclined, he rarely would talk about the horrors of combat.

After leaving the service Burton graduated from Elon College (now Elon University) with degrees in business and english. He worked for the North Carolina Department of Revenue as a field auditor for thirty-five years, retiring as a District Supervisor in 1986.

Burton was Past Master of Salem Lodge # 289, a member of the Scottish Rite, and was very active with Burkhead United Methodist Church. He was married to Jo Ann Pegg for 52 years and they had two children, Brad and Joanie.

Burton died due to complications from a stroke in June of 2006 and I miss him terribly. He was my hero.
Please visit his memorial website at: http://display.mem.com/ContentDisplay.aspx?ID=5846550&lang=en
I would enjoy hearing from any that knew my dad!

Brad L. Burton, Mills River, NC
January 2012

1st Sgt. Burton (right) with "Pop" Seagraves - Belgium 1944

1st Sgt. Burton (far left) - Hannover a few days after war's end

Thanks to Mr. Brad L. Burton, 1st Sgt. Burton's son, for these photos and information.

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