Richard Burgess was born in 1946 in Aberdeen, Washington. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on March 30, 1964, and graduated from basic training at MCRD San Siego, California, in June 1964. Pvt Burgess next completed infantry training at MCB Camp Pendleton, California, in July 1964, followed by service with the 106mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Headquarters & Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division at MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from August 1964 to December 1965. He then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division in South Vietnam from February 1966 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on September 25, 1966. After spending 2,354 days in captivity, Sgt Burgess was released from captivity during Operation Homecoming on March 5, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, and was discharged on December 31, 1973, receiving a Medical Retirement as a Staff Sergeant from the Marine Corps on November 1, 1975.
His Navy Commendation Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service while interned as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia from September 1966 to March 1973. Staff Sergeant (then Sergeant) Burgess' resistance to his captors use of physical and mental torture demonstrated his devotion to duty and loyalty to the United States. Despite the harsh treatment and adverse conditions encountered during his long years of incarceration, Staff Sergeant Burgess performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. By his determination, resourcefulness, and courage, Staff Sergeant Burgess reflected credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.