Almost from the first days of the 23rd Fighter Group in China, the Army pilots who replaced the AVG were calling themselves "Flying Tigers," a deception encouraged by the War Department, Stilwell, and Chennault himself. So it didn't bother me when the government of China began to borrow the Tigers' fame to enhance their own self-image in the Pacific War. But now I notice a deliberate melding of the American Volunteer Group and the USAAF fliers, not only in the People's Republic but also on the former Nationalist outpost of Taiwan. Here's a "blood chit" worn by Delee Boyd Crum of Baton Rouge, a 14th Air Force pilot, on display at the Armed Forces Museum in Taipei, in an exhibition "dedicated to the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or Flying Tigers...." Read more here.
Nice email from a gent who'd purchased a flight jacket formerly owned by Evander (Van) Shapard, a flight instructor recruited in the fall of 1941, and one of those who joined a combat squadron in the spring of 1942. So the jacket could well be genuine, unlike many of those peddled as Tiger originals. I also heard from the family of John Hennessy with fresh information about his life. And I've posted a fourth installment of pilot biographies, from Maurice Maguire to Pappy Paxton. The stories of the Flying Tigers are told in 100 Fair Pilots: The Men Who Became the Flying Tigers, a $2.99 e-book available from Amazon stores worldwide and many other e-tailers. I'll be updating the text as new information comes in, as it regularly does. (The cover photo, by the way, was taken by R.T. Smith and shows Ken Jernstedt, Chuck Older, and Tom Haywood against the background of R.T.'s Number 77 Tomahawk, used with the kind permission of his son Brad.)
This was also a great month for reading. Ring of Steel is a fascinating history of the Great War from the German and Austrian point of view, with much about the home front and the fighting in the east (against Russia) and south (against Italy and Turkey).... Putin's Russia is a 99-cent bargain, with articles by four Russians and a Norwegian about the emerging disaster in the former Russian Empire.... And finally there's In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, the second volume of a new translation of Marcel Proust's masterpiece, IMHO one of the two sublime achievements of the human mind, the other being Wagner's Ring cycle of operas. Go here for more about these books. Blue skies! — Dan Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Plus these excellent places to look for more:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted September 2015. Websites ©1997-2015 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.