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.

Flying Tigers
3rd edition


Marriage certificate, Olga Sowers KimbellOh my goodness, it seems that young Olga Sowers was married twice before she met Harvey Greenlaw in 1933. Here's a reproduction of her first venture into matrimony, which I suspect was an elopement, given that it was performed by a justice of the peace and the witness appears to have been the groom's brother. Olga is shown as 18, though she was actually 20, her mother having subtracted two years from her age so she'd fit better among her classmates in the Los Angeles schools. Ray Kimball, the groom, is five years older and already divorced, though his occupation is given as "student." The wedding took place in April 1928 in Santa Ana, an hour's drive south of Los Angeles.

The second marriage certificate is harder to make out. The ceremony took place a bit more than two years later, in December 1930, and it appears to have been blessed by the family and the church, since Olga's two sisters signed as witnesses, and the affair was solemnized by a "Priest & Minister of the Gospel." Henri Withington, the groom, is likewise 25 years old and a divorced man; online sources say that he ran a Los Angeles music store with his father. Olga is shown as single, suggesting that her marriage to Ray Kimbell had since been annulled. Go here for a larger image.

Losonsky and Baisden at the reunionFrank Losonsky and Chuck Baisden, ground crewmen in the 3rd Squadron Hell's Angels, made it to what was billed as the 75th reunion of the Flying Tigers at the Dekalb Peachtree Airport in Atlanta last month. It was in September 1941 that they and two hundred other young Americans began training in Burma to fly for the Chinese Air Force in what was arguably the first U.S. covert operation of the 20th century. The Commemorative Air Force sponsored the event, along with a gathering of Curtiss P-40s with their iconic shark-mouth warpaint. Losonsky enjoyed a ride (presumably his first) in the back seat of a modified P-40, making two barrel rolls over the airport. (Photograph by Thom Patterson.)

And here's a wonderful video about the search for the CNAC Flight 53. It's also a nice summary of the Chinese National Airline Corporation and, to a lesser extent, of the Flying Tigers. (The gun camera footage illustrating the latter is actually from the days of the China Air Task Force and the 14th Air Force, not the AVG.) It also gives a good idea of the difficulty of building and maintaining the Burma Road. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Remains - A Story of the Flying Tigers

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies: