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.

Tales of the Flying Tigers


A casket exhumed at Punchbowl
In April, four graves at Punchbowl national cemetery outside Honolulu were exhumed and the remains taken away for DNA testing. The bodies came from the graveyard in Toungoo, Burma, and three very likely are those of the AVG pilots killed in training accidents in September and October of 1941. The relatives of Pete Atkinson, John Armstrong, and Maax Hammer have tried for years to repatriate the graves, but it turned out that all along they were on American soil. They were exhumed in 1948, buried temporarily in India, and then moved to Honolulu, where they were listed as "unknown." That may cease to be the case in a month or two when testing is concluded. (A tip of the virtual hat to Patrick Moore, who took the photo.)

Was there ever a year when a movie about the American Volunteer Group wasn't in the works? 2016 is proving to be no exception, with Variety reporting last week: "Skydance and Alibaba Pictures are teaming up on the World War II pic 'The Flying Tigers,' which chronicles the first American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force that fought alongside the Chinese in WWII. 'Braveheart' screenwriter Randall Wallace is penning the script. Skydance's David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce along with Alibaba." For more, go here

Alas, my history of the AVG is temporarily out of print, since HarperCollins decided a few months ago to hand it back to Smithsonian Books, the original publisher. has has a few copies remaining at $15.99, and its Marketplace sellers are offering used copies and "new" ones that have probably made a round-trip to a bookstore somewhere. Even better, I'll send you an autographed copy for a penny over Amazon's price, $16 including delivery by Media Mail. If you're in a hurry, or live in Alaska or Hawaii, make it $19 for Priority Mail.

A useful companion to the history is Tale of the Flying Tigers, a collection of five short books about the AVG, now available as a paperback from and Barnes & Noble. For more, go here.

Remains - A Story of the Flying Tigers

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Flying Tigers

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies:

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Posted May 2016. Websites ©1997-2016 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.