The following letter was sent to my grandfather by the commander of the 348th Fighter Group in May of 1945.
Headquarters 348th Fighter Group
Office of the Group Commander
23 May 1945
Subject: Letter of Appreciation.
To: Captain George M. Barnes, 341st Fighter Squadron, APO 74
It is my desire to express my sincere appreciation for the splendid cooperation and willing support you have given me since you assumed command of the 341st Fighter Squadron.
During this time you lost many of your experienced pilots for various reasons, and in consequence, was confronted with the difficult problem of training inexperienced replacements, who were assigned to your unit with only a few hours of overseas flying time. Most of these pilots had never flown the airplane used by our group. The measure of success you attained in the task of qualifying these pilots to fill the vacancies in your unit is easily seen. With your able assistance, these young pilots, only a few months out of flying school, have developed into dependable combat pilots and have taken their positions in your unit without decreasing the efficiency of the missions flown in any manner.
In addition to the necessity of maintaining a system for training newly assigned pilots, your squadron was given the difficult task of making the transition from the P-47 to the P-51 type airplane. For proof of the outstanding work you did in making this transition, it would only be necessary to mention some of the favorable comments received from higher headquarters. However, concrete evidence of the success of the transition is available at this time. During the month of April this group established a world’s record for tonnage of bombs dropped by a fighter group. Had you not fully acquainted your men with the P-51 airplane, this would not have been possible.
The splendid results you have attained in the execution of the problems mentioned above, and all others that have come about during your tour of duty as Squadron Commander, definitely establishes the fact that you possess every qualification of initiative and leadership. I highly commend you for your outstanding performance of duty and am proud to have had the opportunity of serving with you.
Robert R. Rowland,
Colonel, Air Corps,