March 18, 1942 

Spent day working on officers mess. MacArthur and George now in Australia. MacA. in high command of all United Nations forces. Maybe he and Gen. Geo. will do us some good here.

Gen. George’s departure on March 11th as a member of MacArthur’s evacuation party dispirited his pilots, who realized that he was very reluctantly leaving them. He promised them he would get planes up to Bataan for them no matter what. Lt. Col. Orrin Grover, previously CO of the 24th Pursuit Group, took over from George as commander of the Flying Detachment. 

February 15, 1942 

Sunday. The day I figured help would get here. But no soap. Fixed the tent up today. The A.C. can be thankful for Gen. George, he is on the ball.

From the time we left Manila for Bataan until now has been pretty near hell. Sqd’n turned Inf. and lost some of our best men fighting in the brush. We aren’t getting enough to eat, and are tiring out, all troops need a rest. I can’t see what they are thinking of in the States, they surely could have gotten some help in here, both troops and planes, U.S. aid for every place but the P.I.’s . There certainly have been some big errors made since this thing started. I hope I get a chance to tell about them. Would give a heck of a lot to see the folks and Jean.

Burns apparently refers to promised help from the U.S. (Then) Colonel George had moved his command to Bataan Field on January 17th in order to supervise operations of his little flying detachment directly. He was immensely popular with officers and enlisted men alike, evincing concern about their welfare and disdainful of the privileges of his rank. 

December 2, 1941 

Looks worse every day. Col. George called us together and told us would be only a matter of a couple days. Have oxygen masks in planes, headsets, etc. already to go. Dyess has me weaving at hot spot at present.

Other sources suggested that the meeting of the pilots of the 17th and 21st Pursuit Squadrons with Colonel George occurred on the morning of December 6th, four days later. However, the date of Burns’ diary should be taken as authoritative, being the only contemporary source.