- "Him, nah he isn't a pyro. He got his nickname cos the bastard is shit scared of the dark. With those fucking 'Air Pirhanas' who can blame him?"
- — James Palmer on his best friend
Tom generally thinks of himself as rather non-descript and plain. Luckily, such features aren't a drawback on the battlefield. He is short compared to his two friends, and his build is also far from spectacular. Training with the COG means that he is at the level to work effectively on the field, but beyond that his physical strength is not sufficient for heavy work. He has brown hair, often ruffled and unkempt, and brown eyes. He also has a customised harness, which provides a strong light from a shoulder mounted flashlight, courtesy of Rick Furzeland. This is used due to his fear of the dark.
Matching his appearance, Tom is rather withdrawn and lacks self-confidence, especially around people he does not know. He is only ever completely open to his two best friends, and those he truly feels friendly towards. This is often a sign of when Burch is truly used to another person. Burch often suffers from anxiety, which often kicks in when he is truly pressured within a group. He suffers from a fear of the dark, brought on when he saw one of his squad ripped apart by Kryll early into his tour of duty. Since then, he always avoided dark patches as much as possible, and eventually was given his light harness to allow him to travel through darker areas without major upset.
- the term 'Air Pirhanas' is a term often used by one of Tom's best friends, James Palmer, who likes to name the different things he encounters. 'Air Pirhanas' refers to the Kryll.