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Thomas N. Burnette
Lt. Gen. Burnette in 1997
Born (1944-10-23)October 23, 1944
Died Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{"., April 1, 2019(April 1, 2019-Expression error: Unrecognized word "october".-{{{3}}}) (aged Error: Need valid year, month, day)
Place of birth Georgia, U.S.
Place of death Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1962–2001
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 10th Mountain Division
2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (4)
Spouse(s) Susan Elizabeth Hall (m. 1968–2019)

Thomas Nelson Burnette Jr. (October 23, 1944 – April 1, 2019)[1][2] was a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army. He served as deputy commander in chief of U.S. Joint Forces Command from 1999 to 2001 and deputy chief of staff for operations and plans of the United States Army from 1997 to 1999.

Early life and education

Born in Georgia, Burnette enlisted in the Army in June 1962. He entered West Point in July 1964 and graduated in 1968, commissioning as a second lieutenant of infantry. He later earned a master's degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Burnette is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.[3][4][5]

Military career

In his early career, Burnette served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam, first as an enlistee and then platoon leader with 2nd Battalion. His command and staff positions were under the 82nd Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division and the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans.[3][4]

As a brigadier general, Burnette served as commander of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. He then became executive officer to the Secretary of the Army before being assigned as assistant division commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.[3]

As a major general, Burnette commanded the 10th Mountain Division from July 1995 to July 1997. Future division commander Franklin L. Hagenbeck served as Burnette's chief of staff.[3][6][7]

Burnette's was confirmed for promotion to lieutenant general on June 27, 1997, with date of rank effective November 1, 1997.[8][9] He was assigned as the deputy chief of staff for operations and plans of the Army Staff from 1997 until 1999, before assuming his final assignment as deputy commander in chief of the United States Joint Forces Command from 1999 to 2001.[9] At his retirement ceremony, Burnette was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.[10]

Later life and death

From 2001 to 2012, Burnette served as a senior mentor to a number of U.S. Army-affiliated corporations. He died in an apparent murder-suicide at his home on April 1, 2019 in Savannah, Georgia, where he and his wife Susan were found dead by Chatham County police.[4][11] His body was cremated upon completion of the investigation.[12]

Personal life

Burnette was introduced to Susan Elizabeth Hall (February 14, 1947 – April 1, 2019)[13] in 1967 by his brother Ronald in Atlanta, and they married in 1968. They have two children.[4]


  1. U.S. Army Register: Active and Retired List. I. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1966-01-01. p. 81. Retrieved 2021-11-23. 
  2. "USMA User Page - LTG Thomas N. Burnette Jr. USA (Retired)". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "United States Army Combat Forces Journal, Volume 47". U.S. Army Public Affairs. October 1997. p. 112. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Obituary of Thomas Nelson Burnette, Jr. (LTG, US Army, ret.)". 
  5. "Class of 1968—Register of Graduates". Official Register of the Officers and Cadets. United States Military Academy. 1969. p. 844. Retrieved 2021-11-23. 
  6. MacDonald, Thomas D., Chief of Staff; Kobylanski, Lori J., Chief, Administrative Services Division, Directorate of Human Resources (2015-04-20). Fort Drum Pamphlet 600-5: 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and Fort Drum Standards. Fort Drum, NY: 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). p. 31. Retrieved 2021-12-02. 
  7. Loeb, Vernon (2002-02-24). "Division That Follows Subtraction". 
  8. "PN346 — Maj. Gen. Thomas N. Burnette Jr. — Army, 105th Congress (1997-1998)". 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Department of Defense General/Flag Officer Worldwide Roster, December 1997". Defense Technical Information Center. December 1997. 
  10. "Defense Distinguished Service Medal to LTG Thomas N. Burnette". 
  11. "Chatham Co. Coroner identifies 2 involved in murder-suicide". 
  12. "LTG Thomas Nelson Burnette Jr.". 
  13. "Obituary of Susan Elizabeth "Sue" Burnette". 

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