Re: Grandfather's Military Record
The "Flying Tigers" was a private organization, known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), funded by the Chinese through a firm called Central Aviation Manufacturing Company (CAMCO). CAMCO was a front for financing the group with U. S. funds (similar to the way U. S. Agencies have funded covert operations around the world over the past 40 years or so) but, of course, no records survive to substantiate this. The group operated with the Nationalist Chinese air force against the Japanese. When the U. S. officially entered the war in December 1941, CAMCO was dissolved, AVG was disbanded and most of its pilots and personnel were inducted into the Army Air Corps and wound up assigned to the 14th Air Force, doing the same thing they'd been doing before except for a lot less money. 14th Air Force's shoulder patch featured a flying tiger in comemoration of AVG's nickname. Claire Lee Chennault, "President" of CAMCO and nominal leader of the AVG, was appointed Commanding General, 14th Air Force when it was organized. Your uncle may well have served with the group, despite having no record of involvement in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. Jim Howard, who won the Medal of Honor flying with 9th Air Force in Europe, resigned his commission as a navy pilot in 1941 to fly with AVG and was one of the group's aces (six and a half victories). When CAMCO was disolved and AVG disbanded, he refused to be drafted and returned to the U. S. Soon after arrival, he accepted a commission in the Air Corps and went packing off to the European Theater. He'd simply had enough of the Orient.