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


Lynn Evans The odyssey of the three Flying Tigers killed in training accidents will come to an end this month when John (Dean) Armstrong is buried in Hutchinson, Kansas. Here his neice, Lynn Evans, holds a copy of the Armstrong portrait commissioned by Bill Pawley in the late 1940s when he was trying to ingratiate himself with the nascent Flying Tigers Association of AVG veterans.

Lynn and her cousin, Karen Beauprie, are the daughters of Armstrong's sisters. Both women were born after the Second World War and knew little about their uncle, whose death was not mentioned in the family for fear of upsetting his mother. It wasn't until 1995 that Lynn read about the US Air Force finally recognizing the Tigers as war veterans, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and eligble for veterans' benefits. Even then each cousin simply assumed that the other branch of the family had retrieved the DFC. Not until a family reunion in 2004 did they realize that no one had claimed the medal. They decided to find their uncle and give him a proper burial in his home town.

Armstrong and the other two pilots killed in training were buried in the St. Luke's graveyard in Toungoo. I looked for it in 1991 when I was researching the AVG but couldn't find it. Similarly, when Lynn and Karen found somebody able to make a closer search in 2004, they learned that the grave markers had been removed and dumped elsewhere, and the churchyard used for housing. They then turned to documentary research and discovered that in fact four bodies had been disinterred in 1947 but could not be identified. (Likely the grave markers had been removed during the Japanese occupation, as happened to the churchyard in Rangoon where several Tigers were buried. They now lie under the runway of Mingaladon airport, extended by the Japanese.)

The four sets of remains were buried temporarily in India, then exhumed again and taken to the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii. After much battling with the bureaucracies involved, the cousins -- now joined by the heirs of Maax Hammer and Peter Atkinson -- managed to get the three most likely remains exhumed for a third time last year for DNA testing. All three have been positively identified and returned to the United States, 76 years after they left it. See the story in the Topeka Capital-Journal for more about Armstrong's journey. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Flying Tigers
3rd edition

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Half price and postpaid! I still have some copies of the iUniverse edition of Remains: A Story of the Flying Tigers. (The cover was different and the price was higher.) While they last, you can get one for $7.98 postpaid, sent by Media Mail to your U.S. postal address. PayPal rolls your credit card; I sign the book and put it in the mailbox, usually the same day.

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies: