Flying Tigers
revised and updated

Flying Tigers: dead and missing

Chennault had 80 pilots assigned to his combat squadrons when the war began. Some never flew a combat mission, but on the other hand seven CAF flight instructors joined the squadrons in the spring of 1942. (Some Tigers don't regard these men as AVG, but they flew many combat missions, two died while on duty with the squadrons, and one was credited with two Japanese a/c.) So 80 is a reasonable figure for Chennault's potential pilot strength.

Of this number, 21 died or went missing during the AVG's combat career, which according to the U.S. Air Force extended from 7 Dec 1941 to 14 Jul 1942. Five were lost in the air over Rangoon (though nobody knows whether Leibolt was shot down or crashed because of mechanical failure):

Flight Leader Neil Martin, killed in action, Dec. 23, 1941
Wingman Henry Gilbert, killed in action, Dec. 23, 1941
Flight Leader Allen Christman, killed in action, Jan. 23, 1942
Flight Leader Louis Hoffman, killed in action, Jan. 26, 1942
Flight Leader Edward Leibolt, missing in action, Feb. 25, 1942

Nine were lost while attacking ground targets (Cole was strafing friendly troops in error when his plane exploded, probably as a result of ack-ack; nobody saw Newkirk go in, but he was strafing a ground target when he crashed):

Flight Leader Charles Mott, captured, Jan. 8, 1942
Wingman Thomas Cole, killed in action, Jan. 30, 1942
Wingman William McGarry, captured, Mar. 24, 1942
Squadron Leader John Newkirk, killed in action, Mar. 24, 1942
Wingman John Donovan, killed in action, May 12, 1942
Vice Squadron Leader Lewis Bishop, captured, May 17, 1942
Flight Leader Robert Little, killed in action, May 22, 1942
Flight Leader John Petach, killed in action, Jul. 10, 1942
Wingman Arnold Shamblin, captured, Jul. 10, 1942

Arnold Shamblin was a CAF flight instructor who became an AVG pilot in May 1942. He bailed out of his plane after it was hit by ack-ack and was either executed on the spot or died in captivity. The other prisoners survived the war.

And seven men died in accidents and air raids (Blackburn was another of the former flight instructors):

Wingman Lacy Mangleburg, accidentally killed, Dec. 23, 1941
Wingman Kenneth Merritt, accidentally killed, Jan 8, 1942
Squadron Leader Robert Sandell, accidentally killed, Feb. 7, 1942
Wingman Frank Swartz, died of wounds, Apr. 24, 1942
Wingman John Blackburn, accidentally killed, Apr. 26, 1942
Wingman Ben Foshee, died of wounds, May 4, 1942
Vice Squadron Leader Thomas Jones, accidentally killed, May 16, 1942

In addition to the combat pilots, flight instructor Marion Baugh died in a crash, ground crewman John Fauth was killed in an air raid, and headquarters staff member Joseph Alsop was interned in Hong Kong but later repatriated.

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Flying Tigers

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