Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Flying Tiger pilot and plane, 1944, China (refers to the last photo in this post)

The "Flying Tiger" insignia was designed by the Walt Disney company, who also did logos for submarines like the Pogy SS 266, the Drum SS 228, and the Nautilus SSN 571 (which Walt signed and once was at the USS Nautilus museum in Groton Ct) among other individual logos.

"Before the war had ended, Disney had created some 1,200 cartoon insignias. With the exception of Bambi, virtually every Disney character appeared at least once on a logo. The most requested character was Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy and even Grumpy of the Seven Dwarfs appeared on decals. Mickey Mouse was never linked to a combat unit. His affable, nice guy image made him better suited for the home front defense industry. Snow White appeared as a military nurse, and Flower the Skunk was on the emblem of three chemical warfare units. Dumbo the Flying Elephant appeared on bomber planes and bombs. In cases where Disney characters seemed out of place, the studio created new mascots, as it did for the Mosquito Fleet, the Flying Tigers and the Seabees." http://www.atissuejournal.com/2010/08/10/wwii-military-logos-by-disney/

After looking around the internet, I can only find two sites that show images of the Disney created designs http://www.skylighters.org/disney/ Use the forward (yellow pointing gloves) arrows to see more on that site

Here is a fantastic site with a couple dozen, all in color http://www.2719hyperion.com/p/service-with-character-disney-world-war.html

The Chinese characters read: "This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him"

Above photos and some following info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers

The group consisted of three fighter squadrons with about 20 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces. Arguably, the group was a private military contractor, and for that reason the volunteers have sometimes been called mercenaries. The members of the group had lucrative contracts with salaries ranging from $250 a month for a mechanic to $750 for a squadron commander, roughly three times what they had been making in the U.S. forces. Plus a $500 bonus for each aircraft they destroyed.

The Tigers' shark-faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any individual combat aircraft of World War II, and they demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers

General Hap Arnold said this about the Flying Tigers "You know, you AVG (American Volunteer Group) boys have an impressive combat record over there," and he added "but you know, more than the planes you destroyed, your main contribution was really the morale boost you gave this country" He continued; "The six or eight months you fellas operated in the beginning of the war, there wasn't much good news for us. We, nor the British or anyone else were able to beat the Japanese in those early months of the war. You guys were really the glimmer of hope because you were the only ones getting results. That meant an awful lot back here."

Many became captains in the airlines such as Pan Am, others became test pilots, some went on to very successful military careers including Major General.

There was a doctor, a lawyer and one that was both. The presiding judge in the infamous Charles Manson murder trial was a Flying Tiger. Several became successful in agriculture, businesses like restaurants and manufacturing. One member who wrote television scripts in Hollywood.

There were some who pursued successful non-flying careers in aviation as consultants, or one who was a state aviation director. One of the group helped pioneer the development of the jet engine and held many patents for engine components used today.

One group member distinguished himself as a state senator for over 20 years. Another became an Olympic diving coach on top of other successes.

Read more about the Flying Tigers at http://www.flyingtigersavg.com/tiger1.htm
photo from http://www.johngutmann.org/


  1. I was searching for information on supporting vehicles that these pilots and mechanics would likely to be using in CBI theatre, which brought me here.

    1. I don't believe I've seen anything about the supporting vehicles. I can say that I've posted a lot of WW2 vehicles, but nothing that was specific to China, Burma, India. Sorry