Died March 9, 1993.
Merrill Davis Burnside was born in Evanston, Ill, in 1905. He graduated from high school at Washington, D.C., in 1923, and from Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pennsylvania in 1928 with a bachelor of science degree.
Appointed a flying cadet in June 1928, General Burnside entered primary flying school at Brooks Field, Texas, graduated from advanced flying school at Kelly Field, Texas on June 22, 1929, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve. On Sept. 4, 1929 he received his regular commission as a second lieutenant of Air Corps.
Assigned at Langley Field, Va., in February 1934, General Burnside was transferred to the Materiel Command at Wright Field, Ohio as a bombsight project officer in the Armament Branch. Entering the Air Corps Engineering School in August 1938, he graduated the next June and was assigned to the Production Engineering Section of the Materiel Command, becoming air inspector of the Materiel Command in November 1943.
Going to the Southwest Pacific in December 1944, General Burnside joined the Fifth Bomber Command, becoming its acting chief of staff the following February, assistant chief of staff for plans in April 1945, and chief of staff that June. A year later he assumed command of the 49th Fighter Group in Japan and in September 1946 he assumed command of the 385th Air Service Group in Japan.
The following January General Burnside entered the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., graduated that June and was assigned as chief of Plans, Program and Policy Division in the Office of the Director of Research and Development at Air Force headquarters, retaining that position when his division was transferred to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Materiel that September.
Entering the National War College in October 1949, General Burnside graduated the following June and was assigned as Air Force member of the Committee Coordination Division, Research and Development Board, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In October 1951 he was named secretary of the Research and Development Board.
Joining the Far East Air Forces at Tokyo, Japan, in April 1952, General Burnside was named deputy for materiel. On Nov. 15, 1954, he was appointed deputy director, maintenance engineering, of the Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, becoming director on Dec. 6, 1954.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal. He is rated a command pilot.