Flying Tigers
revised and updated

THE WARBIRD'S FORUM

Lady Lex Flying Tiger face Ah, the fun you can have with a billion dollars! In his twenties, Paul Allen founded and effectively retired from a little firm called Microsoft, in partnership with a Harvard dropout named Bill Gates. Paul walked away with a reputed hundred million shares, giving him the wherewithal to buy, among other things, the Seattle Seahawks, a fleet of vintage warbirds including a Curtiss P-40C in Flying Tigers warpaint, and a research submarine which last month located the USS Lexington (CV-2) at the bottom of the Coral Sea, where she was sunk by Japanese air strikes in May 1942. (Well, she was sunk by American torpedoes after her crew were evacuated.) Mr Allen's RV Petrel located her, 430 nautical miles off the Australian coast and nearly two miles below the surface. Nearby were seven Douglas Devastator torpedo planes, three Douglas Dauntless dive bombers, and this lone Grumman Wildcat fighter in remarkably good condition after seventy-six years. I am especially touched by the "Felix the Cat" emblem of VF-3, looking as though it were painted yesterday. (The bomb-throwing Felix has since been inherited by VFA-31.)

It's been a long time since I enjoyed a project so much! The ebook of Cowboy: The Interpreter Who Became a Soldier, a Warlord, and One More Casualty of Our War in Vietnam will be released on May 1, and the print edition should be along at about the same time. I met Cowboy (born Y Kdruin Mlo, grew up as Philippe Drouin, and changed his first name to "Philip" when the Americans came along) in June 1964. I used him as a character in Incident at Muc Wa, a role reprised by Evan Kim in the movie version, Go Tell the Spartans. More recently I began to wonder where Cowboy had come from and what had become of him. It turned out to be a fascinating story, and one that in many ways could stand as a parable of what we call the Vietnam War but Vietnamese know as "the American War." The book is a small one but is, I think, a great read: check it out at Amazon.com.

Also featured this month are Anthony Fokker: The Flying Dutchman Who Shaped American Aviation, which ought to get a prize for the most deceptive subtitle of 2018; and Darkest Hour, a great flick that the better class of film critic seems to dislike for all the wrong reasons. For my take on them, visit the Warbird's Book Club. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
The Spadguys Speak (carrying a nuke to Sevastopol)
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more: