Files and images about the American Volunteer Group commanded by Claire Chennault. The AVG Flying Tigers defended Burma and China with their shark-faced P-40 Tomahawks in the opening months of the Pacific War, December 1941 - July 1942.

The High Country


Carl Brown as an AVG pilotCarl Brown, the last surviving pilot of the American Volunteer Group, died peacefully at home in Corcoran, California, on September 8. He was two months short of his 100th birthday.

I met Dr. Brown years ago at an AVG reunion in Ojai, California, where he shrugged off his year in Burma and China: "I never claimed to do very much," he said. In my experience, that made him unique among pilots and perhaps among war veterans!

Born in Michigan in 1917, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1939. He was flying for a torpedo squadron aboard USS Saratoga when he was recruited for the AVG. Assigned to the 1st Squadron, he took part in the Flying Tigers' first fight on December 20, a melee near Kunming in which 15 pilots were credited with shooting down four Kawasaki Ki-48 medium bombers. They agreed to share the credit equally, so Brown like the others was credited with 0.27 enemy aircraft on his CAMCO bonus account. Some time after this, he was apparently seconded to the CAF flight school, perhaps to replace the dead Marion Baugh. In time he returned to the combat squadrons when the flight school was closed down, and he took part in the mission over the Salween River Gorge where Bob Little was killed while flying on his wing.

After the AVG was disbanded, Carl flew as a transport pilot for CNAC. Postwar, he went to medical school and became a doctor in 1951. After interning at Los Angeles County General Hospital, he flew for the newly formed Flying Tiger Line before beginning his medical career, specializing in neurology and anesthetics. (He also qualified as an attorney, but never practiced law.) In the 1990s Dr. Brown was the physician at Corcoran State Penitentiary in California, where the mass murderer Charles Manson was among his patients — a story he loved to tell, contrasting his role with that of Chuck Older, a fellow Flying Tiger, who as a superior court judge sentenced Manson to prison.

He leaves behind six children, many grandchildren and great-grands, and and a great hole in the sky that was once filled by the pilots of the American Volunteer Group in Burma and China. Shantih (peace) to him and all of them!

R T Smith's Lucky Sevens
Here's a nice rendering of R.T. Smith's P-40 Tomahawk by Piotr Dubowik. Number 77 is overtaking a Mitsubishi Ki-30 light bomber, called "Ann" by Allied pilots. Over Rangoon during the Christmas campaign of 1941, R.T. was credited with 3.5 Mitsubishi Ki-21 heavy bombers and a Nakajima Ki-43 fighter, so the five "meatballs" would be appropriate for any time in the early months of 1942. (In April, he would be credited with 4.4 victories, for a total of 8.9. Due to oddities in AVG reporting, his bonus account is a bit smaller.) Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Flying Tigers
3rd edition

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Half price and postpaid! I still have some copies of the iUniverse edition of Remains: A Story of the Flying Tigers. (The cover was different and the price was higher.) While they last, you can get one for $7.98 postpaid, sent by Media Mail to your U.S. postal address. PayPal rolls your credit card; I sign the book and put it in the mailbox, usually the same day.

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies: