Cover photo for Thomas Nelson Burnette, Jr. (LTG, US Army, ret.)'s Obituary
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Thomas Nelson Burnette, Jr. (LTG, US Army, ret.)

October 23, 1944 — April 1, 2019

Lieutenant General Thomas N. Burnette, Jr. (United States Army, Ret.), passed away at home Monday, April 1, 2019. 

LTG Burnette was predeceased by his parents, Thomas N Sr. and Mary Gwendoline Burnette, and is survived by his children, Lisa Christine Burnette of Midway, GA, and Thomas N. Burnette III of London, England, and his wife Claudette; his grandchildren, Burnette Elizabeth “Bunny” Braun, Valades Bacchus Burnette, and Lucca Palio Milan Burnette; and his brother, Ronald James Burnette of Mansfield, Texas.  

LTG Burnette was introduced to the love of his life, Susan Elizabeth Hall, by his brother in Atlanta in 1967.  They wed in 1968 and spent the next 50 years raising an extended family, loving and supporting their friends, and cherishing every day together.

He enlisted in the Army and served as an infantryman in the 82d Airborne Division before attending the United States Military Academy.  Upon graduation with the class of ’68, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the Regular Army and spent a year as an infantry officer in Vietnam where he served with distinction.

LTG Burnette held a variety of important command and staff positions including:  Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Joint Forces Command; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, U.S. Army; Army Operations Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Division Commander, 10th Mountain Division; Assistant Division Commander, 82d Airborne Division; Brigade Commander, 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry); and Director of Force Programs Integration (Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, U.S. Army).

Other major assignments included:  Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army; Chief, Army Initiatives Group (Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, U.S. Army); and Battalion Commander, 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 87th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

LTG Burnette attended numerous military schools and courses of which the standouts include:  Armor Officer Advanced Course where he won top honors (as an Infantry Officer), and the  Army Command and General Staff College where he earned the Marshall Award as the top graduate.

His awards and decorations include:  Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with “V” device (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Distinguishing Service, Ranger Tab, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.

After retirement from active duty in 2000, he spent many years serving as a senior mentor for a number of US Corporations, Army units, and leaders assisting in their development for and deployment to combat operations in support of the war on terror.   LTG Burnette fully retired in 2012 and spent his time enjoying his family and friends.  He was a devoted husband, father, uncle, and grandfather who would do anything and everything for those he loved.

Burial arrangements will be announced in the near future. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (

The Burnette Family would especially like to thank the USMA West Point class of 1968 for their love and support during this difficult period.

Carter Funeral Home Oglethorpe Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences can be made at


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