Mrs. Ardinell Kuster of this city received word last Friday that her son, Cpl. Robt. Burnett, was missing in action in Korea. The telegram received is as follows:
"Washington, D. C.,
January 5, 1951.
Mary Ardinell Kuster.
The Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deepest regret that your son, Cpl. Robert R. Burnett, has been missing in action in Korea since 1 December, 1950.
Upon receipt of further information in this office, you will be notified immediately. Confirming letter follows. Delay in notification is regretted.
Edward F. Witsell,
Major General U. S. A., the Adjutant General of the Army."
Cpl. Burnett served three years and four months in World War II in the Seabees as a Carpenter's Mate 3c, most of the time in the South Pacific.
On August 17, 1948, Bob, as he is called by his many friends, enlisted in the regular army. He was stationed in Okinawa about a year and last June and July was home on furlough.
He was a member of the Second Division which last July 18 left the states for overseas duty, and his regiment, the Ninth, was the first infantrymen to enter Korea to fight against the Chinese Communists.
Mrs. Kuster states that the last letter received from Bob was written on November 17 during a lull in the fighting. He stated that was the first time his outfit had been in buildings or eaten chow without carrying rifles since they landed in Korea.
Mrs. Kuster's son, Pfc. Don Burnett, is stationed in Camp Joseph H. Pendleton near Oceanside, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps August 16, 1950.
The Western Star, April 9, 1954
Memorial Service for Bob Burnett SundayHas been Declared Dead By the United States Army
A Memorial service for Sgt. Robert R. Burnett, son of Mrs. Ardinell Kuster of Coldwater, will be held in the Presbyterian church in this city at 2:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon, April 11. The services will be in charge of the pastor, Rev. Lyle H. Gillham and the Wm. H. Finney Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The Coldwater soldier was in the group of Americans who first went into Korea and was reported missing in action on December 1, 1950. In a letter received by Mrs. Kuster on March 15, 1954, Wm. E. Bergin, Major General, United States Army, The Adjutant General wrote in part:"I am writing you concerning your son, Sgt. Robert R. Burnett, Infantry, who was reported missing in action in Korea on December 1, 1950. American prisoners of war who were released by the Communists have been interrogated to obtain information about other missing persons. This information is being compiled and associated with the records of personnel concerned. These statements are analyzed carefully and evaluated in an effort to make a correct determination in each case. Such a statement has been received from a released prisoner who had knowledge of your son while in the prison camp in North Korea. This man disclosed that your son died as a result of malnutrition and dysentery. The exact date of his death could not be ascertained from the reports; however, the time was given as February, 1951. Therefore the Department of the Army has determined that the date of his death shall be recorded as February 28, 1951, the latest date in which he could have been presumed to have been alive. I sincerely regret that this message must carry so much sorrow into your home and I hope that in time you may find sustaining comfort in knowing that he served his country honorably."
From the President:
Mrs. Kuster has received the following message for framing from President Eisenhower:
"In grateful memory of Sgt. Robert R. Burnett, who died in the service of his country in the military operation in Korea on February 28,1951.
He stands in the unbroken line of patriotic who have dared to die that Freedom lives, and through it, he lives - in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men."
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER,
President of United States of America.
The Western Star, October 21, 1955
Receives Letter Regarding Son's Body
Mrs. W. Kuster of Coldwater received the following communication from Washington, D. C., concerning the identification of the remains of her son, Sgt. Robert R. Burnett:Mrs. Mary A. Kuster,
Dear Mrs. Kuster: I am now in a position to furnish you with some definite information concerning your son, the late Sergeant Robert R. Burnett, who, as you were informed by the Adjutant General, died while in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp.
The Far East Command has just notified me that your son was returned to us by the Communists during the mutual exchange of remains. This exchange was the result of the prolonged negotiations between the United Nations Military Armistice Commission and the Communists regarding the recovery of those servicemen who were interred in territory under the control of the opposing forces.
Your son's identification was established when the remains were removed to our scientifically equipped laboratories at camp Kokura, Kyushu, Japan, for systematic examination. The examination, which was performed under the direction of professional anthropologists and specialized technicians, resulted in a very favorable comparison of the physical characteristics of the decedent, such as race, height, age and dental pattern, with similar information available in your son's army records. After a careful consideration of all of the evidence in the case, your son's identification was conclusively established.
Robert's remains will be returned to the United States in the near future for final interment.
Please accept my sincere sympathy in the great loss that you have sustained in the death of your loved one.
ROY A. WALL,
Chief, Memorial Division.
The Western Star, October 28, 1955
Final Resting Place Leavenworth Cemetery
Wednesday evening of last week Mrs. Ardinell Kuster of Coldwater received word that the remains of her son, Sgt. Robert R. Burnett, who died in a Communist prison camp in Korea, would be buried in the Leavenworth Kansas National Cemetery on Friday, October 28, at 2 p.m., in accordance with her wishes. Mrs. Kuster was given the choice of three national cemeteries and chose the one in Kansas. It is a beautiful burial ground and will always be a memorial shrine in honor of those who gave their lives for their country.
Memorial services were held in Coldwater following word from the War Department that Sgt. Kuster had been killed.
(Note from Shirley Brier: "The last sentence in this printed story says Sgt. Kuster - it should read Sgt. Burnett. Leavenworth Cemetery records don't show him buried there.")
Name: BURNETT, ROBERT R.
Branch of Service: Army.
Home of record (county): COMANCHE.
Date of casualty: 01 DEC 1950.
Category of casualty: Died While Captured.
(*For persons who died while missing or captured, the date of casualty is the date died or declared dead, not the date declared missing or captured.)
Death of Mrs. George Hackney, The Western Star, March 17, 1922. She was the great grandmother of Robert Burnett and the mother of Elizabeth Ann (Hackney) McGaully, who was the grandmother of Robert Burnett and the mother of Ardinell (McGually) Burnett Kuster.
Robert Emmet McGaully, a Spanish American War veteran, was the father of Ardinell (McGually) Burnett Kuster, and the maternal grandfather of Robert Burnett.
Anthony James "Tant" Hackney, a WWI veteran, son of George Hackney, brother of Elizabeth Ann (Hackney) McGually, uncle of Ardinell (McGually) Burnett Kuster and granduncle of Robert Burnett.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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