Former Sea Technology Editor Richard Burns Dies at 86

Richard “Dick” Francis Burns, former associate editor of Sea Technology magazine, died of congestive heart failure in Potomac Falls, VA, on Jan. 24, 2018 at the age of 86.

He attended University of Detroit Jesuit High School prior to receiving his congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy from Michigan.

After graduation, he served on the USS Dashiell, USS McGowan and USS Casa Grande. From 1959 to 1962, he studied naval architecture and marine engineering at MIT. He served on the USS Shark from 1962 to 1964 and qualified in submarines and for command on Shark. He was shipyard superintendent and assistant repair superintendent for submarines in Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 1964 to 1967.

As a commander at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from 1967 to 1969, he was one of two officers assigned to start up Pera (SS). He pre-planned the Thresher-class SUBSAFE overhauls and was the co-author of the integrated submarine overhaul work packages.

From 1969 to 1972 he served on the Joint U.S. Military Mission Aid to Turkey as a senior advisor at Gölcük for the construction of two destroyer escorts. For his work in Turkey, he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

From 1973 to 1976 he served in the SSPO, which received the Navy Unit Commendation for its work on the Trident. He worked on the acquisition of the navigation subsystem for the submarine. In preparation for the sophisticated systems engineering work and integration of the equipment during Trident development, he graduated from Defense Systems Management College, Ft. Belvoir.

Following retirement from the Navy, he was a senior engineer at Vitro Corp. and an editor at Sea Technology, where he wrote about everything related to the sea, from changes and innovations in the Navy to a personal interview with the “Shark Lady” Dr. Eugenie Clark in the Feb. 1992 issue.

Burns completed more than 17 triathlons and the Marine Corps Marathon. He skied the legendary Tuckerman’s Ravine at Mt. Washington and took his family on many ski trips, when he enjoyed waking his children by singing, with uncharacteristic joviality, “Good Morning Merry Sunshine” to the tune of the Marine Corps Hymn.

Burns is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary K. Burns, née McAlister of Brentwood, Maryland; his sister Katharine Burns; his four children, Richard Burns, Jr., Chris Burns, Moira Burns, MD, and LTC Colleen Kesselring, U.S. Army (retired); and three grandchildren.


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