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 4th Living Flying Tiger, Lt. Taylor of TN (2 Replies, Read 6277 times)
WLSNiece
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Here is some of what was reported.

Grand Junction, TN (WMC) -
His mother was told he was dead, but he was very much alive. Only, he wasn’t sure how, when, or if he was going to make it back home.

He is one of the few remaining famed Flying Tigers from The Greatest Generation. He is also one of the few “Diddled Dozen” still alive.

On Saturday, Lt. James M. “Buddy” Taylor, who will be 94 years old in two weeks, was honored at a class reunion for his service in the military, and as a Prisoner of War.

The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and United States Army Air Corps.

Taylor is one of only four Flying Tigers alive, and the only one who lives in Tennessee.

“There’s not that many of them left anymore,” Taylor’s son, Jim, said. “The Flying Tigers – He has lived up to that as an individual.”

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s field representative Johnny Blakely, State Senator Dolores Gresham, and State Representative Jamie Jenkins gathered with classmates and alumni of Grand Junction High School to honor Taylor at the reunion of the school. Taylor is a graduate of the Grand Junction High School Class of 1940. The classmates and alumni of all classes of the school, which closed in 1973, gathered to reunite, share memories – as well as honor one of their own.

Blakely presented Taylor with a proclamation Congresswoman Blackburn read on the House of Representatives floor, as well as an American flag flown over the United States Capitol in Taylor’s honor.

“In my occupation I have the occasion to meet a lot of great people,” Blakely said. “This is one of the great honors in my life to come and meet this man and thank him for what he’s done for our country.”

Senator Gresham presented a State of Tennessee flag to Taylor that was flown over the State Capitol in Taylor’s honor.

“Most of us were little kids, so we have no way of knowing the depths of suffering Mr. Buddy went through and any of the Greatest Generation went through,” Gresham said.

Representative Jenkins presented a framed proclamation to Taylor that was signed by Governor Bill Haslam and Speaker Beth Harwell honoring Taylor for his service and sacrifice.

The smile on Taylor’s face was hard to miss during the presentations, but also one that seems to remain constant each time one meets him.

“I’m just about speechless,” Taylor said. “We just passed Memorial Day where we honored those who gave it all. I gave some, but not it all.”

The some that Taylor gave, to those in attendance, was a lot.

Becoming a POW

Taylor wanted to join the military at the age of 19 in 1941, right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, but his parents refused to give their consent. He needed their permission since he was under 21 years of age, but he eventually convinced them to let him sign up for the U.S. Army Aviation Cadet program when he was 20 years old.

He was accepted on September 16, 1942 and became part of the “Flying Tigers” once he finished the pilot training program. After he finished the training program, he was sent to China in 1944. At the age of 22, just before Thanksgiving on November 11, 1944, he was flying missions in China and found himself in serious trouble.

He was on a mission and was in sight of the field at Hengyang when he said he saw enemy forces everywhere.

“Some were on the ground, some were taking off and coming up to fight, and a lot of others were already in the air and coming at us,” he said.

He said it seemed like if you took out one target, there were more to replace that one.

“You blasted one, when it flashed out of your sights, you looked around and picked up another. You strafed anything on the ground that came into your sights,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s plane got in trouble when it was hit by Japanese forces and Taylor found himself going down.  Taylor said he didn’t realize the plane had been hit at first until the engine quit.

The P-51B coolant system was hit by the ground fire and the engine quit while he was going at a high rate of speed during a low pass.

“It just died and wouldn’t start,” Taylor said.

To make matters worse, explosive shells hit the right windshield. Taylor made attempts to get away from the enemy forces by gliding the plane as far as he could.

Taylor realized he was going to have to bail out of the burning plane. He bailed out at 300 feet, landing close to the burning wreckage, where he threw his parachute and equipment into the fire and tried to run and hide. But, he was quickly captured by Japanese soldiers.

After he was captured, Taylor said he saw the Japanese digging his grave in front of him....

Taylor would eventually find his feet back on American soil, after an agonizing journey.

On September 12, 1945, a month after the surrender, Taylor was flown to Manila and put on a boat to San Francisco, where he was able to finally step foot back on red, white, and blue homeland on October 16, after spending almost a year as a Prisoner of War.

“He’s always been my hero, every since I was little,” Taylor’s son, Marc, said.

Now, two weeks shy of being 94 years old, the Flying Tiger can be seen at each year’s Memorial Day event and Veteran’s Day event in Middleton, TN. Still, the flying of an American flag and Tennessee flag in his name brings an unmatched ray of light and a smile from a vet that has left his blood, sweat, and tears on foreign soil, as part of such an elite group.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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4th Living Flying Tiger
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Thank you WLSNiece for posting this story.

Again, we're seeing the repeating story of 14AF personnel claiming to be Flying Tigers.
And, unfortunately we have congressmen and a senator buying into this false ID.

We have to make sure that people understand that thousands served bravely and honorably in the 14AF in China during WWII....we are not disputing that.  What we are doing is stating clear facts that only members of the AVG are Flying Tigers.  Please see our other thread "Use of the Flying Tigers name" and you will understand how this controversy developed.

The story clearly says that Mr. Taylor was sent to China in 1944----this is well after the July 4, 1942 date when the AVG was disbanded.  He went over well after the end of the CATF-----clearly 14AF.

Please note: there are 3 living AVG Flying Tigers (Losonsky, Baisden, Brown)

Comments are welcome & appreciated!


-----------------------
Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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4th Living Flying Tiger
mayor
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If I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong
These two statements clearly show that he WAS NOT a "Flying Tiger"


"
He was accepted on September 16, 1942 and became part of the “Flying Tigers” once he finished the pilot training program. After he finished the training program, he was sent to China in 1944. At the age of 22, just before Thanksgiving on November 11, 1944, he was flying missions in China and found himself in serious trouble. "


"
The P-51B coolant system was hit by the ground fire and the engine quit while he was going at a high rate of speed during a low pass. "
IP: --   

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