Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers

Mr. Nunville US. History

Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 – July 27, 1958) was an American military aviator best known for his leadership of the American "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China Air Force in World War II. Chennault was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fighter-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the U.S. Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment. Chennault retired from the United States Army in 1937 and went to work as an aviation adviser and trainer in China. Starting in early 1941, with funding and control by the U.S. government, Chennault commanded the 1st American Volunteer Group (nicknamed Flying Tigers). One mission which never came to fruition was the bombing of Japanese cities; the bombers did not arrive before Pearl Harbor. (B-29's started bombing from China in 1944, but they were not under Chennault's command.) He headed both the volunteer group and the uniformed U.S. Air Force units that replaced it in 1942. He feuded constantly with General Joseph Stillwell, the U.S. Army commander in China, and helped China's leader Chiang Kai-shek to convince President Roosevelt to remove him in 1944. By that time, however, Washington saw China as a backwater in the war.

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