Training Pilots in the Spirit of General Chennault
Yesterday we Honored the memories of Genearal Claire Lee Chennault upon the Grand opening of the
General Chennault Flying Tiger Academy, 80 Years after he first went to China.
Members of the Chennault Foundation were present with great stories of the past. The Grand opening paved the way for the future of the Flying Tiger Academy to continue training the pilots of today in the Spirit of General Chennault.
After witnessing the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army in China, Claire chennault committed to remain there in August of 1937, first of military Aviation advisor to generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the early month of the sino-japanese war, then as director of a Chinese Air Force flight school centered in Kunming. In early 1940 Soviet supplied air asset begin to pull out of China and far gone by the summer. This left China defenseless against the relentless bombing of the Japanese Air Force. The American volunteer group (AVG), later known as The Flying Tigers was largely the creation of General Claire Chennault as the way to get U.S. Air assets engaged and air defense of China to fill the void left by the withdrawn, via air support.
At the time the US was not at war with Japan. Therefore all operations in China to defeat the Japanese using U.S. assets and Personnel were done under the Chinese flag with volunteers from every branch of war department. General Chennault learned many lessons from his observations of the Soviets failure to inflict effective losses on the Japanese in the air. With inferior equipment out number and logistically challenged the AVG shot down 296 enemy aircraft from December 20th of 1941 to July 4th of 1942 while only losing 14. At any given time during this General Chennault had no more than 66 operational aircraft in his Arsenal.
- Mo Rolfs, the Director of Flight operations for Flying Academy
Rolfs is a former fighter pilot with the US Air Force 23rd Squadron, which absorbed the Flying Tigers after WWII. His flight career began in 1975.
- Honorable Consul General Li Qiangmin
- Maj Gen William Chen, US Army (Ret)
- Jeff Greene, Sino-American Aviation Heritage Association
Rides in the Redbird Simulators were available with a delightful meal setup in the hangar surrounded by the Academy’s aircraft ready for training.