Warmest greetings to members of the AVG Forum and global supporters of the AVG Flying Tigers legacy.
This is a new thread to share with you the return of the 3 Tigers to their families, thanks in large part to the efforts of Lt. Col. Kenneth E. Tilley, USAFR (Ret.), former Historian with JPAC, Mr. Michael Linnington, former Director DPAA, the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.
Maax C. Hammer, Jr. AVG of the 2nd Squadron traveled aboard Delta Airlines flights from Hawaii to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to St. Louis, MO. He was accompanied by his military escort and arrived at the funeral home in Carbondale, IL this afternoon. There will be a visitation on Monday 20 March from 4-6pm at the Walker Funeral Home, 112 S. Poplar St., Carbondale, IL. Burial will be in a private service with military honors.
We will keep you posted regarding the upcoming returns of Peter William Atkinson and John Dean Armstrong, honoring the wishes of the families.
Maax C. Hammer, Jr. AVG 2nd Squadron "Panda Bears" will be laid to rest with full military honors in a graveside service at 10am, Tuesday 21 March at Oakland Cemetery in Carbondale, IL.
There will be a "Missing Man" formation flyover by the A-10s of the 74th Fighter Squadron/23rd Fighter Group/23rd Fighter Wing based at Moody AFB, GA. These jets display the FT designation on their tails to signify their legacy from the AVG Flying Tigers. The nose of the "Warthogs" sport the traditional shark-mouth of the AVG originally formulated by Charlie Bond & Erik Shilling on 15 Nov 1941 in Toungoo, Burma. This famous symbol, known worldwide, was passed down from the AVG Flying Tigers to the 23rd Fighter Group (of the China Air Task Force), to the 14th Air Force and finally to the 23FG, whose airmen proudly maintain the legacy to today!
We want you to know of the arrival of the remains of PW Atkinson on Monday, April 3rd at Dulles International Airport in DC, for dignified transfer to the funeral home prior to his service and burial in Martinsburg, WV.
He was in the care of Delta Airlines on the two flights from Honolulu, HI to Atlanta, GA and then to Dulles.
The photo provided by the Atkinson Family shows the U.S. Army Honors Team assembled to render honors to PWA and then transfer his remains to the hearse for the trip to WV. An Army officer escorted PW all the way from Honolulu to the funeral home in WV. The Courtesy Casualty Assistance Officer will take over duties of helping the Atkinson family with all of the preparations for the upcoming service and funeral.
The motorcycle bearing the American flag is that of Atkinson family member and Patriot Guard rider, Dennis Dupuis.
We are saddened to report the passing of the baby sister of Tiger PW Atkinson, "Aunt Mary" Atkinson Hughes. She had clung to life awaiting the return of her big brother and smiled when she received word that he had been returned to the family plot. Peter W. Atkinson now rests next to his brothers and sisters in Rosedale Cemetery in Martinsburg, WV. The flag presenter, Lt. Col. Kenneth E. Tilley, USAFR (Ret.) visited Aunt Mary after the funeral as she was too ill to attend the services. Tilley presented her with an AVG Flying Tigers pin. Earlier he had presented the folded flag from PW's burial service, just as he had 2 1/2 weeks earlier at the funeral of Maax C. Hammer, Jr. in Carbondale, IL.
Tilley will present the folded flag to members of the John Dean Armstrong family at his funeral in Hutchinson, KS on June 17th.