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A Tiger Zoo--Flying Tigers AVG, CBI, & 23rd Fighter Grouping + Other PTO ETO Heroes


josesharontraders
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josesharontraders

what an amazing collection, love it

Thank you for your comment, bro.

 

Right before my travel end of September, will catch the hobby mood and the time to bring out new research on the patches and a picture list of all the new items in the Flying Tigers AVG zoo collection.

 

Good weekend to you.

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josesharontraders

Let me input the master patch comparison matrix at higher grade for all eyeglass-wearing persons like me. Hahahah:

 

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Here again is the AVG Patch matrix with another variant at the bottom right.

 

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josesharontraders

Period Flying Tigers AVG Patches.

The below study calls for understanding the chronological timeline and the intertwining events in the last 3 months of the life & times of the Flying Tigers First American Volunteer Group (AVG) leading to their departure which started mid June 1942 up through the formal end on July 4, 1942.

Pre-Amble About AVG Period Patches. The following is a consolidated AVG Flying Tigers master patch discussion. AVG Pilot RT Smith mentions in his memoirs he went downtown with Chennault’s Executive Officer for the AVG Flying Tigers, Skip Adair, on Tuesday & Wednesday, May 12 and May 13 1942: ¨Went to town with Skip after dinner, rode around & stopped in some shops to look at silk & embroidery work.¨ [And the next day, I contend they went back to finalize Tiger, banner & patch designs] ¨Skip & I went into town & fooled around after dinner…¨Prior to this there were strained relations between Chennault and his AVG because of already overt United States Army Airforce (USAAF or earlier ¨USAAC¨) missions in early April being directly assigned to the AVG that impliedly did not cover the defence of China’s sovereign territory controlled by Nationalist leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek & allies, per their CAMCO (Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company) contracts. Some AVG pilots, like Ben Foshee (died of wounds from Pao Shan bombing), Wingman Frank Swartz (bombed at the Magwe, Burma airfield together with his crew chief), Jim Jones, John Donovan & Bob Little (killed by an explosion in his bomb rack as his left wing separated above the Salween front in southern China), Lewis Bishop (shot down in Lao Cai May 12,'42, Fr. Indochina; beaten, starved & imprisoned until escaped with 4 U.S. marines from a moving prison train; and aided by Chinese peasants & Nationalist soldiers in May 1945, returning stateside to discover his wife with new baby had re-married) & John Blackburn (by accident), in April to mid May 1942 were shot down or did not return from those fighter cover, bomber escort & strafing missions with the USAAF to Chiang Mai, Thailand & to the Hanoi-Haiphong area for French Indochina-based Japan AAF airfields, which made many think how tragically unnecessary those deaths were: ¨It wasn't worth it¨, wrote many AVGers in their memoires. The alarming rate of attrition of pilots and 60% reduction in ¨go-go¨ available P-40Bs & 40Ns, Tomahawks & Kittyhawks--down to just over 20 useable ships in bad condition--added to the force of events culminating in a mass resignation of pilots—save the loyal group of Tex Hill, Charlie Bond, Frank Schiel, Bob Neale etc.—per the below April 1942 letter to Claire Chennault.

To assuage them, we strongly state and believe as most likely, that Col. Chennault sent his right hand emissary & 2nd-in-command, Skip Adair--described by 1st Squadron Pilot Charlie Bond as, “the trusted supplier and recruiter for the AVG”--to then downtown Jinxing Street inviting Pilot RT Smith, a well-liked rep and spokesman for the disgruntled & very sore AVG personnel, to commission Chinese tailors to design & weave a quick order of unit mementos composed of AVG shoulder patches of the Flying Tiger,silk Peacock insignia, department banners, etc., as giveaways.They were told on April 21, 1942 that the AVG would cease and be supplanted by the USAAF's China Air Task Force (CATF) on July 4, 1942. Hence, rumours swirled from whom would the AVG take their orders--the India Air Task Force-USAAF, which morphed later into the 10th Airforce & ATC, down in British India or AVG Kunming?--and why were Chennault and other GHQ personnel already sporting USAAF officer's insignia?; making them feel further left out as sacrificial pawns in an expanding air battle when non-sovereign China territory was included in missions? It is logical that silk was the only abundant supply of clothing material in the area, given the indigenous mulberry trees that made up the mountainous Yunnan forests, the leaves of which were the staple of silk worms. Gabardine flown in from India was the only other new material available for clothing until after early June 1942, when USA logistics arrived over the Himalayan ¨hump¨ in full force. Whereas, many of the Chinese populace avidly purchased on the side deceased AVGers’ clothing & firearms after the pilots' auctions, as noted in many an AVG diary about privateering activities.

Here are majority of pilots' looming threat of resignation for the preceding reasons. These dudes were mostly composed of the 2nd & 3rd AVG Squadron pilots, the Pandas & Hell's Angels.

 

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Why The Tigers Were So Disgruntled On May 21, 1942 at the All-AVG Kunming Meeting with Gen. Chennault & USAAF Gen. Bissell? On May 21 there was a definitive update meeting about the February to April rumours of merging the AVG with the incoming USAAF, the former reliant on follow-up American supplies of spare parts, props, & whole P-40 upgrades like the P-40N bomb rack-equipped ¨Kittyhawks¨ over the Burma Road (until it was shut down in early May with the fall of British Burma and the retreat to India of Gen. ¨Vinegar Joe¨ Stillwell's combined British & Chinese armies) and mostly ¨over the Hump¨ through the Himalayas since February 1942. It was reconfirmed now with greater detail from the first announcement a month ago, April 21, that the First American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers were to cease and be supplanted by US Army Airforce units, of the CATF (or China Air Task Force), on July 4, 1942.General Chennault’s explanation of winding up AVG-scaled compensation post-merger was quite satisfactory. However, at same meet USAAF General Bissell’s offer to sign up the AVG as Army Reserve, instead of Regular Army, was taken as an impediment in the men's career path of finding a regular job. Bissell’s pessimistic warning that were the AVG unwilling to enlist on the spot, they would not be allowed passage home using the early U.S. Air Transport Command's (ATC) ferry flights and had to make their own arrangements--and once landing in the U.S. they risked being met by draft officers ready to enlist them as privates!!--did not go well with the then distraught and trepidation-wracked AVG members, ¨outnumbered and without reinforcements¨ from the ¨damn slow U.S¨, who singularly held since December 1941 the air defence of China's surrounded and remaining mountain-ringed provinces of Yunnan & Sichuan against ¨the whole Japanese Air Force..¨This did not even count ¨useless and risky¨missions to defend the losing Chinese Army & British Army in British Burma. Author Dan Ford explained more recently that the AVG were disappointed--not in the money or the compensation of differences as announced by Gen. Chennault & well-received as ¨fair and just¨at the beginning of the meet--but much, much more were they dismayed for not being offered regular commissions in the USAAF by Gen. Bissell. The writer observed in his book that the AVG were many-a-victim of the Great Depression; and would have enlisted, per Flying Tigers' memoirs, if they found secure & satisfactory regular paying jobs in the Army, than scrounging for scarce civilian jobs once the AVG China gig ended in July 1942.

After the AVG in July 1942, the majority of veteran Flying Tigers pilots and some crews were signed up by Pan Am-controlled China National Airways Company (CNAC) for $750 a month, as well as being granted some 2 to 3 months paid downtime back in the mainland, transport costs included, another personal grievance the battle-fatigued AVG men and women as a whole sourly resented in respect the insensitive USAAF's competing demand to enlist in harms way & continue with the fight immediately. If one goes through almost all AVG diaries, for example, in Charlie Bond's, James Howard's or RT Smith's there is a plethora of comments from their fellow group of AVG how they decided back and forth too many times--even when the end of the Flying Tigers AVG was still rumour in early March 1942--to join up with the USAAF as a preference relative to CNAC, or find a job stateside.

(AS AN ASIDE ABOUT BATTLE FATIGUE: Author Daniel Ford's research of US Army communications in the CBI mentions in one of the reports of the same mid May 1942 period, it was officially noted to Washington D.C. the conduct of Gen. Chennault's insistence to fly into Kunming at least 8 or 9 professional prostitutes from British India to boost the AVG Flying Tigers' morale from battle fatigue. This event was not much unlike American servicemen visiting Patpong in Bangkok or around TuDo Street plus the non-MP patrolled ¨soup kitchen¨ district in wartime Saigon, Vietnam War. The general argued that syphilis, a rampant sexual disease, would not bring down his much needed pilots and crew were they to take pleasure from a regulated brothel. Contrast this small pleasure for the AVG versus the continuing resignations of 8 or 9 demoralized Kunming AVG ground personnel filing their resignations in batches from April 17 to as late as April 20,1942 for a total of almost 20 good men lost. This was also the same day future MOH AVG Pilot Greg ¨Pappy¨ Boyington was dishonourably discharged for insubordination.)

 

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May 22, 1942, the 1st Series AVG Souvenir Patch Distribution Just After the May 21 End-Of-The-AVG Announcement. From long research of AVG diaries, memoires and museum registrar-curator's comments at the SDASM, I believe with highest probability that the first set of rushed patches were given out on May 22,1942 in Hostel 1, during the big ¨congregation¨ of AVG pilots & ground crew invited in and around RT Smith’s room ¨for a bull session & light refreshments¨.The AVG's 2nd (Pandas) & 3rd (Hell's Angels) squadrons were billeted there, including Chennault's private quarters. In the RT Smith's memoire of that day, such farewell-themed gathering took place. The patches appeared rushed simply because the first sets turned out stringy and not closely knit in spite of their shiny mandarin-like colours, exactly like what tourists get when they buy the on-the-spot weave products from a silk worm factory highlight tour, visiting China today.

 

AVG Flying Tigers Second-in-Command Skip Adair also distributed another set of similar AVG patch series to Kunming HQ AVG staffers, as these colours were more prevalent in GHQ, mess hall, clerk's dispatch room, motor pool, radio room & medical staff of the AVG in pictures--and also many decades later, attributed to the latter group than to AVG pilots or ground crew by our fellow collectors, curators, or attributed on current pictorial books of the AVG Flying Tigers as well as indicated in museum displays today.

 

Here below are the very very First Series AVG Flying Tigers patches. --The first patch from the left, selected by RT Smith, were prevalently for AVG Flying Tigers pilots;

--the middle patch, Skip Adair mostly gave out, were prevalently for admin and logistics persons.

--the third patch on the right, most probably given out by RT Smith, were prevalently for ¨mechs¨ and ground crews.

 

Many of what patches could be attributed to an AVG, corresponded more than not to those job ratings.

 

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The 2nd Series Official AVG Variant Patches As Follow Up. By early June 1942, much better tightly-woven AVG silk variant AVG patchesprobably from the same Jinxing Street tailors, were produced that would last longer, being sewn on a tunic shoulder. There were really no other tailors except on ancient Kunming's Jinxing Street near the arch entrance, the only structure left of that era, unbroken by mobs of young Cultural Revolution fanatics who tore up Kunming's ancient walls, to build communes.

Here is a sample 2nd Series Official AVG Patch with tighter weave worn by Pilot Chauncey ¨Link¨ Laughlin, member of the group that strafed and prevented the Japanese crossing over the Salween River into China.

 

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Here is Flying Tigers Ace Link Laughlin in Kunming Air Base wearing his oversized USA-made tunic and that 2nd Series ¨tightly woven¨AVG Patch & what I believe was his French Indochina bomber wings award as displayed in the San Diego Air & Space Museum per picture I took in June 2019 this year. (As a qualification, he was also later to receive a Chinese Army Airforce 2-star Wings award, that looks quite similar).

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Here is downtown Jinxing Street in early 1942, and Jinxing Street with only the arch remaining with new cemented columns support in modern times. The old ancient wall surrounding the city at the time of the AVG Flying Tigers was brutally torn down by young fanatics of the Cultural Revolution for material to set up communes in the hinterlands. In happier times, if any there be in the last 150 years in China, Jinxing Street was the small commercial hub where tailors and other merchants & traders congregated.

 

Also beyond the AVG Patches of the Flying Tiger ordered by Pilot RT Smith and AVG 2nd-in-command Skip Adair, it was mentioned they ordered other silk embroideries, which we assume to have been peacock patches and banners, which are cherished by serious collectors today.

 

The Rarest Flying Tigers Period Patch--the Silk Peacock Patch & the earliest of the AVG patches, the Numbered, Leather Peacock Patch. Jinxing Street tailors in Kunming, wartime China also weaved the Official Silk Peacock Patch found mostly with Flying Tigers members assigned at the Office of the Commander for the AVG. It should be noted that some AVG in the Kunming GHQ, and pilots & crew preferring to wear thick pilot jump suits, early on had ordered leather insignia renditions of their numbered Peacock Pins, making those early April 1942 patches some of the rarest AVG breast or shoulder insignia ever, whilst squadron insignia of the Adam & Eves, Pandas, or Hell's Angels for pilots, mechanics, armorers & other crew are found mostly painted on the Flying Tigers' jackets. One can see some of the AVG crew and pilots, though a bit dark and grainy, with this earliest insignia Peacock patch in the late Larry M. Pistole's book, The Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers. I strongly believe, especially from the notes of AVG George Paxton, the opportunity to source leather material & commission their fabrication in British India was presented in late February to March 1942 because of the many flights from Rawalpindi or Calcutta by the AVG pilots & Pan Am Africa crews (CNAC-affiliated) that were organised by Pappy Paxton, the finance officer of the Flying Tigers more often based in Calcutta, British India, to ferry new U.S.-supplied P-40N Kitthyhawks and/or P-43s for the Chinese Army Airforce, after President Roosevelt followed up his January 1942 order to his disorganised Army Airforce of sending concrete support because,¨China must not fall¨.

 

Here is my Silk Peacock patch taken with flash, thanks to RT Smith & Skip Adair, and a picture I took in June 2019 from the San Diego A&S Museum of the very earliest Flying Tigers patch, the leather Peacock patch of circa Feb-March 1942.

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AVG Flying Tigers Period Souvenir Insignia Objectives. The end result of displaying period AVG veterans insignia was for the outgoing Flying Tigers personnel to appear elevated in the eyes of all, less diminished in front of the newly arriving USAAF logistics personnel and inexperienced gaggle of future CATF-CBI pilots in late April to June 1942. These AVG patches of the Flying Tiger effectively served as an award for going through such fearful odds, like Lord Macaulay's ¨Horatius at the Gate¨; and mitigated the outnumbered Yanks' emotions from their worn-out conditions, battle attrition and cumulated, latent fear of violent death as their AVG careers waned. To fall as your tour of duty was about to end was simply a tragedy. The first series period AVG patch today is the sum embodiment of the life and times and values of the Flying Tigers, still lovingly cherished with quiet passion by all worthy collectors & curators today.

Other Observations On AVG Flying Tigers Period Patches. One can comment that many pilots and AVG staff preferred to use these better silk-woven variants, as seen in AVG Pilot Ace Link Laughlin's oversized tunic in late June 1942 (see prior picture) & also the zoomed picture of the ¨tighter woven¨ patches sewn on the USA made tunics worn by then USAAF General & Commander of the First American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers Claire Lee Chennault & his trusted second, Skip Adaire, in circa early June 1942, Kunming. (see below picture). Hence, many of the AVG patches owned by fellow collectors today represented the earliest, official first series patch giveaways that were significantly delicate than these subsequent variant patches, the latter more often actually sewn on tunic shoulders. Also, many AVG groups, ground crew, medical, clerks, and support services--already redundant with all the USA-funded preparation activity for the CATF's 23rd Fighter group base activation in July 1942--actually started their departures by middle of June 1942 and kept these official insignia mementos, especially the unsewn patches, as proof of their times in wartime China.

Here are General Chennault Commander of the AVG Flying Tigers with his 2nd-in-Command, and official supplier and recruiter of the AVG, Skip Adair, wearing their British-style khakis but displaying their breast badge wings as newly commissioned U.S. Army Airforce officers, with the Disney Flying Tigers pins on the right of each.

Note also, Gen. Chennault wears the Official 2nd Series AVG ¨tightly woven¨ Patch, while Skip Adair wears on his shoulder the 1st Series AVG Patch that is quite more delicate by the way these were rushed in mid-May 1942 with thin-layered silk weave.

 

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To continue, here is Skip Adair with the Official 1st Series AVG Patch sewn on his tunic's left shoulder, comparing it to exact patches in the hands of serious Flying Tigers collectors today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why There Were Unofficial Period AVG Flying Tigers Patch Variants, Even Made in India, attributed to the Chungking-based AVG. Early in the mornings of May 23 to May 24, 1942 an air wing of pilots & P-40E ¨Kittyhawks¨--coincidentally many of the intentionally segregated ¨non-striking¨ personnel--such as Charlie Bond, Flight leader James Cross, MOH James H. Howard, George Burgard, Erik ¨Mortimer¨ Shilling & Frank Schiel, etc. were moved up, by plane to Chungking to patrol that Northern sector and stanch further bombing on ¨the most heavily bombed city in the whole world in WW2¨. The ground crew, medical staff, and ¨most of the mechs [mechanics]¨ also set out overland and were scheduled to arrive in Chungking on the evening of May 26—a duration of 2 days--commenting to Charlie Bond as they arrived, that ¨the road from Kunming to Chungking was worse than the Burma Road¨. So they were not likely present in the noisy nearby downtown Kunming Hostel 1 during that May 21 evening in RT Smith's farewell party and AVG Patch memento distribution. Neither were these early-to-bed pilots on off-duty status until the next day like the other AVGers mentioned in RT Smith'sand Arvid Olson'smemoires. They were mostly the 1st Pursuit Squadron ¨Adam & Eves¨, the group closest to the airfield & billeted in Hostel 2, which was renovated for some weeks after they moved out and ready by June 12, for RT Smith's group to move in, per AVG memoire.

 

And so, this wing of 1st squadron pilots, their ground crews and other logistical AVG staff, definitively did not receive the quickly taken up souvenir patch handouts. Hence, for example, one can see unofficial variations & alternative insignia--including the uniquely rare gabardine & bullion Flying Tigers ¨V¨ breast patches mostly owned by this ¨Chungking AVG Flying Tigers¨ group--that soon followed from custom orders by Bob Neale and others, that were made in Karachi, Rawalpindi or Calcutta in British India, favourite AVG ferry flight stopovers, during the many early June 1942 ferry trips of P-43s for the Chinese Airforce and additional P-40Ns ¨Kittyhawks¨ for the incoming CATF. Please also note that even AVG Pilot Link Laughlin scratched off his name from the notice to Colonel Chennault, as he sided more with the non-striking pilots. I guess we'd call them ¨scabs¨ or the ¨union buster scabs¨ or simply ¨the Chungking scabs¨ today…hahahahah. Incidentally on the side, gabardine, a form of tightly woven worsted wool, was prevalent in India, thanks to the invention of Thomas Burberry, founder of Burberry, in the 1800s and prevalent in follow on breast insignia of the Tigers. Indeed, the variations are better made like what you find in 100% silk Tommy Bahama hula shirts today--hahahaha--or in the smooth & fine silks offered in Hong Kong-based Shanghai Tang stores, for example. Look at some museum samples of Flying Tigers Ace of Aces Bob Neale's China-made AVG patches, and an India-made one from his uniform sold to a fellow collector some 3 years ago.Also below is Flying Tigers Pilot Charlie Bond's unofficial AVG Patch made by the same Jinxing Street tailors in Kunming since he was part of Bon Neale's Chungking squadron.

 

Here are AVG Ace of Aces Bob Neale's custom China-made patch from Jingxing Street, picture of which was taken by fellow forum member Steve or ¨ocsfollowme¨ in his visit to the SDASM in 2014. I shall also render the photo I took from my June 2019 visit of the same patch, but I think now in bad shape from what I surmise are mould penetration under the glass & frame seals as well as from exposure to light...tsk tsk tsk. (I didn't have the heart to complain as yet to such nice managers & friends of the museum who entertained me and family even to their basement work area).

 

Also here is his Custom British India-made AVG shoulder patch on a khaki uniform, sold some years ago by AVG Flying Tigers expert Ron Burkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Chungking Group & Other China-made Period AVG Patch Variants. Here are 1) forum moderator Bill Scott's client's AVG patch variant (boo hooo...he didn't remember to call me to offer it some years ago...); 2) fellow collector Rick or ¨walika's¨ AVG patch variant;

 

 

 

 

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and 3) lastly an additional Jingxing Street tailors-made custom, museum-displayed AVG Patch Variant owned by Pilot Charlie Bond, again one of the Flying Tigers personnel assigned to Chungking. Note please, too, how nicely and tightly the silk weave turned out for these insignia lasting longer sewn on a shoulder tunic, although this latter one has deteriorated a bit.

 

Also, here are pictures of gabardine cloth & bullion breast insignia of the Flying Tigers ¨V¨ badge, most likely ordered by AVG finance man George ¨Pappy¨ Paxton staying half his time down in Calcutta, in behalf of mostly the Chungking group or even whichever AVG was still willing to spend on souvenir memorabilia in the last 40 days of the Flying Tigers gig. It should be noted that from the Chungking group of mostly ground crew, mechs and 1st Squadron, Gen. Chennault was able to sign up at least 5 AVG holdover pilots and 10 more willing to extend as a courtesy to their leader for 2 to 3 weeks after July 4, 1942 Flying Tigers gig ending--to help train and familiarise incoming CATF 23rd Fighter group pilots of the USAAF.

 

 

 

 

 

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OOPS! I forgot to mention the preceding picture with his Flying Tigers ¨V¨ breast bullion badge, made in British India circa end May-June 1942, is AVG Ace Chauncey ¨Link¨ Laughlin.

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Post AVG Reproduction Patches Ordered by Chennault. Both myself and Mr. Al Valdes, the Curator of Collections & Registrar of the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM)--a lifetime specialist in the Flying Tigers to say the least--who drives a car with the words,¨Fei Hu¨, on the license plates, and easily identifiable to San Diego kidnappers..hahahahaha--and conformed by SDASM's Museum Head Terry Brennan strongly contend with evidentiary material that Major General Chennault also placed additional period CBI, China-made reproduction orders for AVG patches after the disestablishment of the Flying Tigers AVG on July 4, 1942.He had convinced some 5 AVG Pilots and 23 AVG staff to stay & sign up with the USAAF's CATF 23rd Fighter Group, with 10 more AVG pilots retained as a courtesy to the General for a little over 3 more weeks until near the end of July, to help train tardy incoming U.S. airmen. In irony, 40% of the AVG pilots--like Frank Schiel & John Petach-- who stayed on without rest or ever returning to visit their stateside families were shot down and killed, a premonition many of the departing & unwilling to sign-up AVG expressed in their memos. At this point in time, to get back to one's home in America, to rest for a while, watch a movie, wake up in a peaceful orderly place, talk to an American girl, and later have a hamburger or two were far higher priorities than any big money contract with CNAC or last minute offers of regular Army commissions. The material used was wool and bullion wire sourced from American military materiel flown in by U.S. Ferry command flights. I strongly believe his intention was: 1) to stockpile these reproduction patches for the future Flying Tigers Association activities he was organizing on the side in 1943; & 2) to award these prevalently blue AVG patches of the Flying Tiger to his few loyal original AVG who remained with him, setting them apart as veteran instructor-leaders amongst the thousands of U.S. personnel in the CATF's 23rd Fighter Group squadrons.

 

Pictures. Here is the 23rd Fighter Group airfield of the China Air Task Force (CATF), the former Airbase of the ¨Flying Tigers¨ in Kunming, China just shortly after the turnover to the US Army Airforce in mid 1942. Note the surrounding mountains have been quarried no end to harden the airfield and create a giant perimeter drainage system. Even the silkworms couldn't find mulberry leaves to eat in the devoid mountains near the base, to produce the silk for the AVG patches....hahahahaha. For sure, there was no ¨lorax¨ in wartime China.

 

 

 

 

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The Early Flying Tigers Association. Here also is a letter from then CBI 14th Airforce General Chennault's AVG Flying Tigers trusted finance man, George ¨Pappy¨ Paxton, forming finally the Flying Tigers Association and signalling the first acts of the company like applying to Congress to recognise the AVG as vets; the finances of the company and how to make more based on the Tigers' fame; the issue of the AVG Flying Tigers membership card being colourless unlike the original series cards with the colourful Disney Flying ¨V¨ Tiger; a schedule of a meet to take up the foregoing business of the new company in a formal agenda, etc. We can see Gen. Chennault through Pappy Paxton emphasising the wide promotion of the Tigers' fame to commercialise some steady livelihood for the former members.

 

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The Early Flying Tigers Association. Pages 3 & 4.

 

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Here are two such definitively CBI China-made period sample reproductions likely produced by the same Jingxing Street tailors in Kunming, the only specialty place in town during the war, also because of the equal cut, size, placement & angle of the patch elements, save for the wool & bullion material. The first one was donated to the SDASM by Atty. Robert S. Schriebman, a California tax attorney and adviser to the Flying Tigers Association, who helped the AVG Flying Tigers attain U.S. Veterans recognition by lobbying the Pentagon to recommend the de-classification of intelligence & wartime notes by then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt;

 

Atty. Schriebman's China made AVG Reproduction Patch (last of the AVG Association's inventory), at the San Diego Air & Space Museum circa 2014. And, as explained by Curator & Registrar of SDASM, Flying Tigers expert Mr. Al Valdes:

 

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The other much less preserved patch, together with his CBI insignia, was gifted by AVG Ace Pilot & Texas (National Guard Gen.) David Lee ¨Tex¨ Hill to the Mayor of Villefranche-sur-Mer at a town event in 1952 during a South of France goodwill tour of AVG Tex Hill, as token of appreciation to their local French political hosts. The former Flying Tigers AVG member along with fellow WW2 plus Korean War aces visited the Vice Adm. Commander 6th Fleet & crew of the USS Columbus during a December 1952 Christmas season tour sponsored by the USO. The Côte d'Azur port of Villefranche-sur-Mer was one of Europe's finest and deepest ports in the Western Med & Gulf of Lyon, used by allied post-war cruise ships and naval capital ships. The 18 1/4 air combat kills triple ace pilot and fellow veteran heroes accompanied Hollywood actors & singers as part of USO entertainment, providing morale to Europe-based American troops, for imminent transfer to the ongoing Korean Theatre of Operations (KTO).

 

Here is AVG Tex Hill's circa 1942 to end of 1943 China-made AVG Reproduction bullion patch made with American forces supplies flown over ¨the Hump¨ (the Himalayas), given to by Chennault to the few AVG holdovers of 5 pilots & 23 ground staff. This was presented and discussed among the curators of the SDASM in June 2019 with unanimous collegial findings in the above.

 

Also a view of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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josesharontraders

Side Story: The First U.S. European Command Port. As mentioned, Gen. Tex Hill and company visited the Commander of the Sixth Fleet Vice Admiral Anderson & the crew of the USS Columbus (CA-74)then based in Villefranche-sur-Mer. The vessel served as the tactical Command Flagship for the Sixth Fleet Commander-in-Chief U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic And Mediterranean (Oct 1952-Jan. 1953) overseen in Stuttgart, W. Germany by the U.S. European Command.

 

The 6th Fleet used Villefranche-sur-Mer as its home port from 1948 up to 1966, when French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew from the NATO military alliance. Today the fleet's command is based in Gaeta, Italy & another part in Naples. When one of the fleet's squadrons is on mission inside the Med usually accompanied by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)or the ¨Ike¨, the squadron is designated, ¨Carrier Task Force 60¨or ¨CTF-60¨. With France rejoining NATO it is unlikely ¨the Sixth¨ shall return to the old port, because new NATO member Montenegro's Southern Adriatic Sea ports offer much deeper bays and are closer ¨SOSUS¨ (and now augmented by the Navy's ¨DRAPES¨) listening posts to the Eastern Med's high risk neighbors and their ocean assets, such as Greece, Turkey, Syria (here an overlap with U.S. Central Command), and the Agean Sea route of Russia's upgraded Black Sea Fleet, a near peer rival.

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josesharontraders

Here below is also a comparative illustration of the 2 China-made AVG Reproduction patches from the CATF 1942-43 period to 1949, when Chennault and George Paxton vacated China; and when these types of patch rendering of the Flying Tiger--almost equal to the original 1st & 2nd May-June 1942 Series AVG Patch souvenirs--was sadly lost, including the cheaper fabrication costs & methods of the Kunming tailors.

 

 

 

 

 

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josesharontraders

Here also inside a box are AVG Ace Gen. (Natl Guard) Tex Hill's CBI patches accompanying his AVG CATF period 1942-end 1943 reproduction bullion given to AVG holdovers with Gen. Chennault, which he gifted to the good people of Villefranche-sur-Mer through its then Mayor, a member of the ruling Carlini clan of Alpes Maritimes départment/region, in his December 1952 goodwill visit with the USO to the South of France.

 

Kindly view at the bottom of the box:

 

 

 

 

Conclusion.I hope this was educational and helpful knowledge for all history buffs, researchers, and fellow collectors. My objective was not only to preserve the value of our collections but to recognize our duty to pass along this foregoing memory--the remembrance of all intrepid American veterans & their noble allies who came to the rescue of freedom against brutal oppression.

josesharontraders

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
josesharontraders

AVG Flying Tigers Patches Notes

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

 

Here are some accompanying observations in support of the preceding study. It's been a month without any comment from fellow collectors, so I proceed with a smattering of additional evidence and AVG-patch related digressions.

 

Preponderance of the Rare Silk Peacock ¨Unity¨ Patch Worn by the Chungking-based 1st Squadron Adam&Eves Pilots, Ground Crew & AVG Flying Tigers logistics staff. (May 23, 1942 to early June 1942, before AVG disestablishment July 4, 1942) Pictures from Larry Pistole's, The Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers.

 

Page 186, the Silk Peacock Patch of Flt Leader Ed Liebolt 1st Adam & Eves.

 

 

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josesharontraders

Page 121 1st Sqdrn Ground personnel & Pilots with rare Silk Peacock Patch Chunking, China late May 1942. This particular page in Larry Pistole's book was discussed extensively by Lee Turner Burgard, the pilot son of AVG Ace Pilot of the 1st Squadron Adam & Eves George Burgard in order to place a perspective to his dad's rare AVG Silk Peacock Patch being sold in the early 2000s to others, now in this collectors possession. He cited the ground personnel and Flt. Leader Ed Liebolt wearing rare silk Peacock patches that were almost exclusively prevalent to the Chungking-based 1st Squadron from May 23, 1942 onwards to the third week of June 1942 just before AVG July 4, 1942 disbandment. From this squadron Chennault successfully retained 5 AVG Pilots and 23 HQ and technical staff holdovers on top of the additional 10 pilots to stay as a courtesy until July 19, 1942 when the U.S. CATF was fully activated. The high price of this was the death of 40% of the holdover pilots, to wit: Frank Schiel (one of the 5 AVG-to-CATF holdovers with Tex Hill, Ed Rector, Charles Sawyer & Gil Bright), Pete Petach (shot down, priors: volunteered to stay 2 more weeks & just married to AVG Nurse Red Petach who was secretly pregnant), and Arnold Shamblin (shot down, captured, tortured & murdered by the Japanese Kwantung Army, priors: volunteered to stay 2 more weeks).

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josesharontraders

Nope, No Such Thing As leather or embroidered 1st Squadron Adam&Eves, 2nd Squadron Pandas nor 3rd Squadron Hell's Angels Flying Tigers Patches. Please read the preceding study that says the AVG Flying Tigers could not find material until AVG HQ officially spent and sourced silk & embroidery material for them on May 13, 1942 after the group was told of the end of the AVG on July 4, 1942. Prior to that, per AVG diaries expression of regrets of not bringing more jackets from the U.S. mainland, even a leather jacket in Karakorum-grade weather Yunnan Province to keep an AVG warm was too precious & scarce to strip for decorative insignia. Also, Kunming was so bereft of any clothing save silk material that better off Chinese families avidly waited outside the Hostels to buy any clothes from privateering AVG personnel winning the post mortem auctions of killed AVG members' clothes, ammo & arms, or jostling to buy British or US forces-sourced clothes smuggled in with the sporadic March 1942 onwards ferry flights of new P40Es or from daily Pan Am controlled CNAC (China National Aviation Corp.) pilot friends to the AVG flying in from British India.

 

If ever there were any such patches, they were made with US forces supplied materiel during the CATF period instigated by the impromptu first version of the Flying Tigers Association, called ¨AVG Memorial Fund¨, raising money by selling such patches to avid souvenir hunters amongst the 23,000 CATF fans (July 1942-Dec 1943 & later the 55,000 14th Airforce Dec 1943 actual-Feb 1946), plus any other visitors.

 

​Hence, conclusively & definitively, the squadrons just painted their distinctive unit insignia on their precious jackets, for example, as follows:

 

Pages 198 & 201 mid June 1942 Farewell Class Photo of 3rd Sqdrn Ground Personnel, earliest to depart.

 

 

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