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 Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945, project of the Northwest China Council (6 Replies, Read 15287 times)
annwetherell
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The exhibition "Flying Tigers: Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945" will open at the Multnomah County Central Library in Portland Oregon in late August and will run through Oct 28.  This exhibit explores the local Chinese American participation in aviation that coincided with international events and with the development and promotion of the aviation industry in Oregon. Pak On Lee, a Chinese American member of the original AVG, Maj. Arthur Chin, Hazel Ying Lee, and others are included. Ken Jernstedt knows about the project but is too frail to attend.  On Sept 8, Chinese American veterans of the 14th AF, holding their reunion in Portland, will give a public presentation. 
If any of you are in the area, please consider coming for any of this. We'd love to see you!
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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Thanks for your posting of the upcoming exhibition in Portland, OR. 

I am curious about the reference to "Flying Tigers:  Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945".  I've read your description but I'm confused by the reference to "Flying Tigers".

There were no Chinese American pilots in the AVG (The Flying Tigers).  Are they referring to Chinese Americans who returned to China to fly and fight in the Chinese Air Force?  Are they also referring to the Chinese Americans in the 14th Air Force, the successor organization to the China Air Task Force (23rd Fighter Group) which succeeded the AVG on July 4, 1942?  Thanks for clarifying for us.

Yes, Pak On Lee was an Engineering Helper listed on the HQ roster.  He passed away on May 1, 1995 in Portland, OR.

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
annwetherell
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Thanks for asking.
You are correct, there were no Chinese pilots in the original AVG. There were 11 Chinese Americans that were a part of that original AVG. Pak On Lee was an engineer/ mechanic for the AVG --therefore technically a Flying Tiger, who continued on in the 23rd FG and 14th ASG and on to end of the war. The last of the Chinese members of the AVG, Kee J. Pon, passed away in 2011.

Pak On Lee's son, Keith Lee, a Portland resident, is writing a book about his father and the other Chinese members of that group. Keith contacted me a couple of years ago about his father's materials. Pak was an amateur photographer and photographed his entire time in China.  It is fascinating stuff.

Portland was a training site in 1931-32 for Chinese American pilots (Maj. Art Chin and others) who flew for the Chinese Air Force prior to the US entrance into the war. They are included in the exhibit, along with members of the 14th AF from the Portland area.

Ann

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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Dear Ann,

Thanks for your reply and clarification.  The reason I asked was primarily due to the description as Chinese American Aviators.

Yes, indeed the 11 Chinese Americans in the AVG are (and always will be) Flying Tigers just as all members of the original group who successfully completed their contracts (or who were killed, wounded or honorably discharged by General Chennault).

1931-32 training?  Ah, that would be when John Jouett was directing the training of Chinese aviators (before the Russians, Italians, and then Chennault arrived).

We would enjoy seeing Keith Lee's photos on this Forum, if you can arrange it.
Thanks!

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
annwetherell
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There are very interesting connections between the local Chinese community and Portland aviation. In 1930 the Adcox school in Portland won a contract from the Chinese govt to train Chinese American pilots (8 cadets), and in 1931-32, the local chapter of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association founded their flight school and trained two classes of cadets (35 each) before running out of funds. In both cases their teacher was Allan D. Greenwood of the Adcox School. The cadets signed a pledge to fight and die for China, and joined the Chinese Air Force in the 4 different branches.

I don't know anything about John Jouett- thanks for the tip!

Happy Independence Day!
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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
annwetherell
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Forgot to add that I'll ask Keith about the photos. That family's story is quite amazing!
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Chinese American Aviators in Oregon, 1918-1945
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
John Jouett was an American contracted to direct the training program for aviation cadets in China.  China was seen as a "ripe market" for selling aircraft and the Italians moved into China later in the 30s until their fraudulent programs, poor aircraft quality and a/c inventory figures were finally rooted out and they were given the boot!

Jouett may not have been associated with the Oregon school since it was contracted directly by the Chinese govt. to train Chinese American aviation students in order that they may join the Chinese Air Force.

Thanks very much for this interesting information about Allan D. Greenwood and the Adcox School.

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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