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 I Get It Now (4 Replies, Read 9321 times)
SilverDollar
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A few days ago, I started rereading Charles Bond's book (paying attention more closely) and came to a point where suddenly a light bulb popped up over my head.  I finally get it.  I finally understand why there is such a problem with the 14th AF claiming that they too were Flying Tigers and the AVG veterans getting so upset with them.  I understand now the huge contribution Chennault and the AVG made in such a short time and the resentment they had when Bissel and Stillwell started to hassle them.  (I know I'll be preaching to the choir here, so all choir members please bear with me.)  :neu: 
Chennault and the AVG came along when China literally had no viable air force to speak of.  They were for a short time effectively the Chinese Air Force itself.  Plus, they really put a dent in the Japanese expansion especially with the mission over the Salween River.  Their accomplishments are of monumental proportions.  There's no other way of saying it.  The Eagle Squadrons were made up of American volunteers also and did a great job too, but the RAF, with their Hurricanes and Spitfires wasn't  in the terrible condition the CAF was.  When Bissel and Stillwell came along, it was almost like they were appropriating an elite fighter group right out of the Chinese Air Force.  It's all clear to me now why the memory of the AVG should never be allowed to drift off into oblivion.  Thanks for listening to my gushing. 

Edited by SilverDollar : August 2, 2015, 9:09 pm

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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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I Get It Now
JackYao
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Flying Tigers (or the AVG) is an Airforce unit under the Chinese Airforce but not the US AAF.  So, a real flying tiger is an American volunteer who had severed in the Chinese Airforce and could eventually become a member of the US 14th Airforce after the Flying Tigers (or the American Volunteers Group) ceased its operation in 1942.  But not all 14th Airforce pilots are flying tigers.

By the way, yesterday (8/2) afternoon, I had a phone conversation with Mr. Keith Lee (a regular contributor to the flying tigers public discussions) about the most recent "Flying Tigers US six-cities exhibits and tour" organized by the Flying Tigers' museum from Kunming, Yunnan Province.  One of the things we discussed is about what is a "true" flying tiger.  We both agree with the "definition" I have provided in the last paragraph.



Edited by JackYao : August 3, 2015, 9:40 am
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I Get It Now
SilverDollar
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Thanks Jack.  The last line in your first paragraph says it all.  The only true Flying Tigers in the USAAF are the 5 pilots that stayed and which ever enlisted men who also stayed.  Just because a veteran was stationed in China does not make them a Flying Tiger.  I've been reading about the sacrifices the volunteers made and it was no picnic.  Fortunately, only a small handful of men decided to leave the AVG but the greatest majority of them stayed during all the hard times when they really didn't have to.  A 14th AAF pilot had no choice to leave.  That makes the commitment of each AVG member who stayed to the end of the contract that much more special.  It's unfortunate that the AVG had to be disbanded but maybe that was a blessing in disguise.  There was just too much politicking going on in that theatre.  Stillwell---Not a friend of air power. 


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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.
IP: --   

I Get It Now
susan_jimison
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Here is a perfect example of just saying "My father was a Flying Tiger" he goes even further to say AVG. The 597th did serve but his father was in no way --shape-- or form a Flying Tiger.   



http://sampan.org/2015/08/artist-and-author-sam-hom-channels-tra uma-into-hope/
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I Get It Now
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
SD----yes, the 5 AVG pilots who joined the USAAF (CATF/23FG) were indeed Tigers in the US Army Air Force.  They were Tex Hill, Ed Rector, Frank Schiel, Gil Bright & Charles Sawyer.  There were groundcrew who stayed as well.

There were additional AVG Flying Tiger pilots who joined the USAAF.  George Bray McMillan returned as a P-38 squadron CO and was KIA while on a ground attack mission in June, 1944.  Bill Reed returned, after attending bond drives stateside, and was KIA while flying a P-40 in the 14AF in December, 1944.  Also, R.T. Smith returned as pilot of a B-25 "BARBIE III" with Chuck Baisden as his flight engineer and top turret gunner.  Roy Hoffman returned to China and died while a member of the 14AF.  There were likely additional AVG as well, including ground crewmen.

Sue, welcome to the choir!

Tripp


Edited by aaatripp : August 15, 2015, 2:25 am

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Tripp

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