All about the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers," the Japanese and Chinese military during the Second World War, the Northrop Flying Wing, Poland's experience of war and exile, and other subjects that take my fancy from time to time. Enjoy! -- Dan Ford

100 Hawks for China


Sgt Pak On Lee
Fans of the Flying Tigers have long been mystified by those Chinese names on the AVG roster, most often with the label "engineering helper." There were six of them, graduates of a seven-week training school at the Allison engine plant in Indianapolis. (They trained on the fifty Allisons purchased as spares for the AVG Tomahawks.) They sailed to Rangoon on Boschfontein with the last contingent of Flying Tiger pilots. Go here for their story, as told in an interesting self-published book by the son of Pak On Lee, one of the Chinese-Americans who served their adopted country as members of the American Volunteer Group. (At left: Sergeant Lee as a USAAF noncom in 1945)

Sea Classics
Sea Classics is a new magazine from the Challenge suite of war titles. Its August issue begins a major two-part article (hyped a bit, I'm afraid) about the roly-poly Brewster Buffalo in peace and war. "To many it seemed the company might as well have been owned by Heinrich Himmler or Heidiki Tojo, for one could maintain that the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation did more for the Axis powers with its gross mismanagement, unreliable products, failed delivery schedules, labor riots, strikes, and shocking sex acts on the factory floor than many less overt enemy actions." Well, my goodness!

Switching gears a bit, I've been revisiting that Great American Novel, Raintree County, by Ross Lockridge Jr. The book was published in February 1948 and rose to the top of the best-seller lists one month later, at which point its author ran a vacuum cleaner hose through the vent window of his Kaiser sedan and settled down in the back seat to die. I was astonished to find that the book is mostly ignored today, with a sales rank of 116,872 at Go here for the beginnings of my tribute to this American classic.

And a bit of self-promotion: See "The Write Stuff" in the summer issue of UNH Magazine. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford