Military and aviation history writer Bill Yenne discussed his new book, “When Tigers Ruled the Sky — The Flying Tigers: American Outlaw Pilots Over China in World War II,” with Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon, as well as his book “Hit the Target: Eight Men Who Led the Eighth Air Force to Victory Over the Luftwaffe,” which is now out in paperback.
“They were absolute heroes,” said Yenne of the pilots on whom he focused. “They flew in dangerous, dangerous skies. A flying machine when it’s being hammered with twenty-millimeter explosive shells is a fragile thing. And when a bomber goes down, there are ten bunks back at the airbase that are empty that night.”
In 1940, Pearl Harbor had not yet happened, and America was not yet at war with Japan. But China had been trying to stave off Japanese aggression for three years—and was desperate for aircraft and trained combat pilots.
General Chiang Kai-shek sent military aviation advisor Claire Chennault to Washington, where President Roosevelt was sympathetic, but knew he could not intervene overtly. Instead, he quietly helped Chennault put together a group of American volunteer pilots.
This was how the 1st American Volunteer Group—more commonly known as the Flying Tigers—was born.
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