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 Mercenaries, Were the AVG mercenaries? (8 Replies, Read 9682 times)
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
I have looked up the definition of Mercenary:
"a soldier who is paid by a foreign country to fight in its army : a soldier who will fight for any group or country that hires him"
"one that serves merely for wages"

I suppose an argument could be made for the AVG being mercenaries. But I take exception with these arguments.
1. Even though they were paid by the Chinese, all of the monies were given to the Chinese by the US.
2. Does anyone here think the AVG would fight for "any group or country"? Like maybe for the Japanese or Germans?
3. The AVG was paid good wages. Would you volunteer to risk your life by being bombed, strafed, shot at, taken prisoner, tortured..... merely for wages?
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Mercenaries
a2jacketpatches
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With such little participation on this forum, it is my best guess that
these comments posted as a new topic are a reaction to my last post in
"Another AVG group"

No matter how you slice and dice it it is what it is. I didn't mean it in a negative sense as I'm well aware of the definition without having to look it up.  Much in the same way U.S. "Advisors" lol (mercenaries) weren't? again....lol......16000 strong early in Vietnam before the U.S. officially occupied, the AVG wasn't in China either as far as the U.S. was concerned.

And to answer the questions in order -
1) OK
2) Probably not considering it was all arranged in the U.S. and the terms agreed to by AVG members. Fighting for the soon to be enemy is a ridiculous comparison.
3) Absolutely yes, that's why I enlisted in the USAF toting an M16 for 4 years at about 500- to 800- bucks a month, but my Cold War experience pales in comparison to actual combat vets from any conflict or war. I think it might be more appropriate to consider the 60 million dead in WW2 fighting for "mere wages" or ask any surviving combat veteran.

So again, I meant nothing negative at all OR to discredit the AVG. Just pointing out a little known fact concerning the Blood Chit being offered elsewhere and right here as an AVG appropriate replica. The "American" characters weren't even considered in the production of type 1 Blood Chits simply because they were not being backed by the U.S. Government....again lol. If you notice how the 2nd row from the right the two characters that represent "Foreign Person" are centered vertically as if no other characters would be added. Later on, the "American" was added to existing Chits with a purple stamp so not to waste them and also identify the airman as a U.S. Serviceman after we entered the war.





Edited by a2jacketpatches : February 9, 2016, 10:40 pm
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Mercenaries
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
Regarding issue #3.....risking your life for wages.

When the AVG volunteered to go to China, it was before Pearl Harbor was attacked. After that occurred, of course, thousands stepped up to fight. That would be their patriotic duty (passion), and of course, they were paid.
But you have to consider the US was not at war and the volunteers knew they would be in combat with the Japanese. Once the Pearl Harbor attack happened, the US was all in.
Dick Rossi told a story about a commander in Pensacola saying he needed a flight leader. One pilot said he was the most experienced. Commander asked him if he had ever been shot at, answer was no. Commander then told him he was not experienced.
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Mercenaries
a2jacketpatches
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Think you're just taking this the wrong way.

Again, I DO NOT discredit the AVG in any way, shape, or form. And my intention was not to reinvent the true definition of "mercenary" or even discuss it. With all due respect Mrs. Rossi, please re-read my post. I am simply addressing the inaccuracies described in the sale of your Blood Chit and many others. A very interesting detail (to me anyway) that any and all AVG experts should not overlook. Exactly the detail that reinforces the fact that they were fighting the Japanese before Pearl Harbor.
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Mercenaries
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
In a further response to A2jacketpatches:

"It is what it is"     

On this AVG Forum we deal with:  "It IS what it WAS"  (we call this maintaining accurate history of the AVG Flying Tigers)

Therefore, let's examine known factors in the AVG history:

1.  For the Allies (US & UK, later USSR) it was strategically vital to keep China in the war in order to pin down the Imperial Japanese Army in China, and this was coincident with Japan's priority on China----land, men, resources.

2.  The US actions were governed (pre Pearl Harbor) by the Neutrality Act.  President FDR could have been impeached by the strongly Republican Congress had they known of FDR's plans for a 3 part AVG (which included long-range B-24 bombers to bomb the Japanese home islands---an offensive weapon system!).

3.  The 1st AVG (later known as The Flying Tigers) was formed as a covert operation with presidential authority.  The cover organization was William Pawley's CAMCO.

4.  It was essential to maintain the cover, so that the description as "mercenaries" (for the contract workers providing services to the Chinese Air Force) fit well with detaching them from any association with the US govt or military.  This distraction facilitated the maintenance of the cover----and it led to much resentment by some US military in the early phases, until it became known what they were really doing and worldwide awareness of their success in fighting the Japanese.  Remember the time, the era----and judge this by the values & desperate realities of the early war years amid sagging American morale.

5.  As it turned out, most of the 300+ AVG members wanted to help the Chinese people (especially after they saw the results of the Rape of Nanking and the Japanese bombing of Kunming on 19 Dec 41), wanted to get into "the fight" early and wanted to support their country.  Most of those very few who behaved as mercenaries and who violated the terms of their contract were terminated from employment.  The books & movies make a big thing of the flamboyant nature of this AVG adventure in the CBI but one must remember that the pilots were all trained, disciplined American military officers and that the ground personnel were also trained military personnel....and should be accorded the respect which they are due.  Remember also how they had to survive with very little support from Pawley (support which had been included in the contract) and the American Military.


Thanks for your consideration......

Tripp

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


Edited by aaatripp : February 19, 2016, 6:54 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, Historian
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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Mercenaries
a2jacketpatches
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That really clears things up a quite a bit for me as a very in depth explanation as to why the Blood Chit you offer here is inaccurate. Maybe I explained using the short version of the story but it's been common knowledge to me as far back as I can remember.

My impeccable respect goes out to all who served the U.S. military in any capacity.
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Mercenaries
SilverDollar
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Thanks Tripp for the great explanation.  That's the way I remember the AVG history.  I've often told people that if what Roosevelt did was found out, he would probably serve a prison sentence.


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Sometimes a handful of patience is worth more than a truckload of brains. Author unknown.  Found in a fortune cookie and that's the honest truth.
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Mercenaries
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Yep, that's why you just won't find all the "presidential directives" of FDR in writing as he used his "fixers" like Tommy "The Cork" Corcoran to get things done quietly and behind the scenes.

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, Historian
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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Mercenaries
a2jacketpatches
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And not limited to any single President either. Gotta wonder, was it really the way it was? or is it how thy say it was to throw us all off even more.
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