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George Turner Burgard
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Birth: May 12, 1915
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Oct. 5, 1978, USA

Death: Died on his eldest son's shoulder in an airliner on the way to Southern California just before the stopover in Chicago.

April 1937 retired United States Army Air Corps Captain Claire L. Chennault accepted an offer from Madam Chiang Kai-shek for a 3 month mission of China to make a confidential survey of the Chinese Air Force. This mission laid the ground work for the organization of the First American Volunteer Group, famously nicknamed "The Flying Tigers", in 1941. Chennault's stay in China did not end until 1945 at the close of WWII.

In early 1939 the Japanese began their effort against China. The fall of 1940, Chennault was instructed by the Generalissimo to go to the United States to obtain American planes and American pilots to end the Japanese bombing.

The U.S. Military was violently opposed to the idea of American volunteers in China. However, on April 15, 1941, a Presidential Order from Roosevelt authorized reserve officers and enlisted men to resign from the Army Air Corp, Naval and Marine Air Services for the purpose of joining the American Volunteer Group in China.

December 20, 1941, 13 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a combination of the First and Second Squadrons of "The Flying Tigers", entered their first combat, shooting down nine out of ten Japanese bombers. George Turner Burgard was a pilot in the First Squadron of "The Flying Tigers". He was the second most highly decorated pilot of the AVG Campaign.

"George Turner Burgard, born in Franklin, PA, May 12, 1915. Spent his school years in Sunbury, PA where he worked for Mr. Harry Hadden on the Sunbury Daily Item newspaper. Mr. Hadden helped him to go to college by arranging a job for George at the newspaper in Lewisburg, PA where he attended Bucknell University.

George was in the class of 1940 E where he graduated Cadet (Flight) training at Randolph Air Field (AFB) in San Antonio. From there to MacDill Field in Tampa, FL and on to the AVG.

Following his tour with the 'Flying Tigers' he supported the war effort as a pilot for American Export Lines, Inc., who were under contract to the United States Navy, flying war materials to Great Britain, Africa, and South America. In that capacity, he was a member of an ATC crew who set a transatlantic crossing speed record in the summer of 1943.

Following the War he operated an import/export business in Zurich, Switzerland. He returned to his hometown of Sunbury, PA in 1950 to become partners in a machining business which ultimately built parts for NASA and the space industry. He also formed a subsidiary company in Taiwan, ROC.

George died October 5, 1978 after a battle with cancer."

"A Son's salute to George T. Burgard"

Eulogy by Son, Lee Turner Burgard, George's funeral in Selinsgrove, PA.:

"As most of you know my Dad was a most uncommon man. This I believe was a result of the role he thought he was required to play in this life.

This role, he believed, required him to be the cornerstone of strength, wisdom and courage for those people around him. This was required because it was he that others would rely on.

This is a role that my Dad would serve well and faithfully all his active days.

As a result of this role he played we might, at times, seen him as trying to run our lives-- yet these same activities in a more personal and emotional light may well have been viewed by all of us as empathy rather than an intrusion into our privacy.

How other people viewed and responded to Dad's activities did not deter him from faithfully carrying on his role in life. The lack of acclaim for deeds well done for others did not change his concern, fairness, and courtesy. His role required this behavior.

My Dad did not deal well with things he did not understand, and many times took a negative stand on those issues. Not because he was a bad person, but rather because of his faithfulness to the role he must play in life. It is extremely difficult to be the cornerstone of strength for those around you when you don't understand the environment you find yourself working in.

This flaw is truly overshadowed by my Dad's adherence to his fair play rule in all the areas that really mattered. He maintained this fairness unselfishly, where others would have given in to temptation. He was a fair man regardless of the personal cost.

Because of his view of his role in life, Dad was a lonely man who had to rely upon his own strength for comfort. Dad only let us see this loneliness as his strength left him in his last weeks. It was then that he gave us the opportunity to finally repay him--for this we'll be forever thankful.

He left much with me as I think he did with all of us. I'm only sad that I didn't have more time to enjoy him, and the opportunity to tell him what the truly meant to me.

Tonight I'm going to toast my Dad in a tribute and acknowledgment for his faith full adherence to fairness, courtesy, and concern; and I hope you all will join me, for this would have been Dad's way:

You're a GOOD man George Burgard, we'll miss you very much. I love you Dad and I'll miss you very much."


22 Apr 1943, George married San Antonio Socialite, Helen Mary Samuels (1922-1996), daughter of Ercell Carmen McGinnis (18991993) and Ray Perry Samuels (18931952), in St. Luke's Church, New York City.

Together they had three sons:
Lee Turner Burgard 1944-
Ray T. Burgard 1945
George Timothy Burgard 19461982

George was the son of Mr. and Mrs. G. T. Burgard of Sunbury, PA. 
Family links: 
  Helen Mary Samuels Burgard (1922 - 1996)*
  George Timothy Burgard (1946 - 1982)*
*Calculated relationship
Evergreen Cemetery
Snyder County
Pennsylvania, USA
Maintained by: M W Bencal
Originally Created by: Loren Bender
Record added: Sep 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42357956
George Turner Burgard
Added by: Steve Staruch
George Turner Burgard
Added by: Steve Staruch
George Turner Burgard
Added by: M W Bencal
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God Bless you, George Turner Burgard, husband of my 1st cousin, 1 time removed.
- M W Bencal
 Added: Jan. 20, 2013
Member Flying tigers
- Loren Bender
 Added: Sep. 25, 2009

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