By Earle Rice

Profiles Claire Lee Chennault who, after retiring from the us military Air Corps, volunteered as an consultant to Chiang Kai-Shek and led either chinese language and American air troops opposed to Japan in the course of global battle II.

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Extra resources for Claire Chennault: Flying Tiger (Famous Flyers)

Sample text

Army with the rank of captain. On the morning of May 1, 1937, he headed for San Francisco where he boarded the Dollar Line’s President Garfield and embarked— China bound—on the greatest adventure of his life. En route to China, the President Garfield put into port at Kobe, Japan, for a brief layover. Billy McDonald, Chennault’s old pal from their “Flying Trapeze” days, met him at the dock. McDonald was traveling on a passport that listed his occupation as assistant manager of a troupe of acrobats.

The ensuing action extended over a span of some 130 miles (209 kilometers). Only a miracle kept the Adam and Eves from colliding or shooting one another out of the sky. “We opened fire, and the bombers seemed to fall to pieces,” said vice squadron leader Bob Neale, summarizing the action later. “I saw pieces of engine cowling fall off into space. Glass from the gun turrets flew in all directions. Engines smoked and caught fire. Tails just crumpled and fell off. ” When the melee ended, the Flying Tigers had shot down six bombers.

Chennault’s critics conceded that his fighter tactics were sound but were quick to question their effectiveness against bombers in a sky whose vastness alone made it all but impossible for the fighters to find them. q 11/21/02 1:37 PM Page 33 Letter from the Orient weeks of action. ” Chennault disagreed, attributing the lack of interceptions to the fighter commander’s improper employment of his aircraft. But Chennault recognized the need for some kind of early warning network. S. Army Air Force, sent squadrons of B-10s from San Diego to bomb March Field in a similar exercise.

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