Veterans History Project: An Interview with Robert Burns

Library of Congress Veterans History Project

Interview conducted by Jeanne Czarnecki and produced by David Addison. Recorded at Valley Haven, Santa Cruz, October 25, 2016.

Robert Lee Burns was born on 3 October 1926 in Oakland, California and moved to Washington, DC with his family. At age of 17 in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and graduated the following year from boot camp and Quartermasters School in Bainbridge, Maryland. He was deployed to the Philippines and worked alongside the SeaBees in the Leyte Gulf. Shipped to Morotai in the Dutch East Indies, Burns met up with his assigned Amphibious Landing Craft, an LCR 226. His job as quartermaster was to keep the ship's 24-hour log and obtain chart maps for officers above deck. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, naval war activity ended and his craft was decommissioned. Buns reached the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade). Discharged from the navy, Burns attended George Washington University and graduated with a major in economics and minors in history and political science. He had a long career as a military adviser to U.S. Military Command in France, Germany, the State Department and NATO. During the Cold War, he spent 5 years on the Palestine Desk from 1950 to 1955. He also worked as a political counselor to the Hague and in Wellington, New Zealand.
Creator: Burns, Robert; Czarnecki, Jeanne; Addison, David
Date: 10/25/2016
  • Santa Cruz (County)
  • 2010s
  • 1940s
Rights: Permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact Santa Cruz Public Libraries for assistance.
Identifier: VH-BURNS


Burns, Robert, Jeanne Czarnecki, and David Addison. “Veterans History Project: An Interview with Robert Burns.” 10/25/2016. SCPL Local History. Accessed 18 May 2024.