Edward Burdett was born on March 10, 1921, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1939 and graduated and was commissioned a 2Lt in the Army Air Forces on June 1, 1943. Lt Burdett completed pilot training while at the Academy and was awarded his wings in March 1943. After completing training in the P-38 Lightning, Burdett was assigned as a reconnaissance pilot with the 35th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in the China-Burma-India Theater from April 1944 to May 1945. He flew RF-80 Shooting Stars after the war and RF-84 Thunderflash reconnaissance aircraft in the Panama Canal Zone from January 1950 to December 1952. From August 1954 to July 1957, Burdett served with the Military Assistance Command in Italy. He served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force from August 1957 to August 1962, when he was transferred to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia. His next assignment was as Commander of the 50th Combat Support Group at Hahn AB, West Germany, from April 1964 to June 1965. He then became Vice Wing Commander of the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hahn AB, and then Commander of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, in July 1965. In August 1967, Col Burdett left England to become the Commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. While flying a combat mission over Phuc Yen Airfield in North Vietnam on November 18, 1967, Col Burdett's F-105 Thunderchief was hit and he was forced to eject. He was immediately captured and died of his injuries later that day. Burdett was promoted to Brigadier General after he was listed as Missing in Action. His remains were returned to the United States on March 6, 1974.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
Colonel Edward B. Burdett distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 30 September 1967. On that date, Colonel Burdett led a twenty ship strike force to a successful attack against a high priority military target. The destruction of this bridge seriously restricts the flow of military supplies to the hostile forces in South Vietnam. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel Burdett has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.