Burns, Rex L. (804th)

Rex-L.-BurnsRex L. Burns

Biography:  Rex Lonier Burns was born in October 1919, in Midlothian, Texas.  He was the son of John Mahoney Burns and Catherine Messer Burns of Tatum, New Mexico.  He attended Tatum High School and played for their football team for six or more years, dropping out after each season.  He went to work as a bartender after his football career ended.

Service Time:  Rex entered the service on March 9, 1941, as part of the New Mexico National Guard and was assigned to its 104th Antitank Battalion, which would later become the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion.  He received credit for their three campaigns, Rome Arno, North Apennines and the Po Valley.

The photo to the left was taken while the unit was stationed in Belfast, Ireland, in August of 1942, which was prior to their move to Algeria in North Africa.  Rex was honorably discharged on May 30, 1945.

When Rex left the service, he returned to his former occupation of bar-tending.  He held down many jobs over his lifetime, never really finding that one “right” job.  In 1946, he eloped with the former Matta Lena Green who was the daughter of Emmitt Green and Virginia Houston Green of Tatum, NM.  The couple lived in Tatum but later moved to Lovington, NM.  They had seven sons and two daughters.  Rex loved sports and spent many an hour as a spectator.  He was also a member of the local VFW and the American Legion.

I want to thank Rex’s son, Barry, for providing this information and photograph.