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American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) Special Collection SDASM.SC.10008
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Other Finding Aids note
  • Arrangement note
  • Related Archival Materials note

  • Title: American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) Special Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10008
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4.47 Cubic feet Ten (10) 10” tall flip-top standing boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1927-2000
    Abstract: This series contains various correspondences, articles, documents, reunion yearbooks, etc. relating to the American Volunteer Group (AVG), known as the “Flying Tigers.”
    creator: McKellar, Ed
    creator: Pentecost, Walter, 1912-1991
    creator: Pistole, Larry M.
    creator: Schreibman, Robert S.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

    Biographical/Historical note

    The 1st American Volunteer Group, also known as AVG, and more famously as the Flying Tigers—was a group of volunteer American pilots from various branches of the military, led by Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault. Answering a call from Madame Chiang Kai Shek, Chennault initially gathered together the AVG to perform a survey of the Chinese Air Force. The AVG was comprised of 3 squadrons: 1st Adam and Eves, 2nd Panda Bears, and 3rd Hell’s Angels. The group saw combat after Pearl Harbor in 1941, and went on to produce multiple victories against the Japanese, and emerged with multiple Flying Aces. Chennault employed his fighter doctrine, which was based on careful study of the enemy’s tactics, while employing their strengths in altitude. The Flying Tigers were famous too for their successes in the air battle over Rangoon. In addition to their combat victories, the Flying Tiger members and Chennault were highly celebrated, and in 1992, AVG veterans were finally recognized as members of the military services, and all members were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The ground crew were rewarded the Bronze Star. In popular culture, the Flying Tigers are readily recognizable in their iconic shark face nose art. They have also been featured in various movies, books and documentaries.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection contains various correspondences, articles, documents, reunion yearbooks, artifacts, etc. relating to the American Volunteer Group (AVG), known as the “Flying Tigers.” Much of the material is from post-war activities of AVG veterans associations. Primarily composed of paper materials, with some photographs and leather and plastic artifacts.
    Selected digitized images from this collection on Flickr.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    The bulk of this collection was donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum prior to 2007, when it was compiled from existing holdings. The contents of Box 03 and Box 04 were previously known as the Papers of Walter W. Pentecost as of August 2006.

    Preferred Citation note

    [Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

    Other Finding Aids note

    A more detailed, item level finding aid is available at http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/collections/collection_item.php?id=139

    Arrangement note

    Materials are arranged in an imposed order according to subject and material type.

    Related Archival Materials note

    The SDASM library and archives holds many photographs of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in its collections as well as multiple books on the subjects listed in the Important Personalities & Subjects section below.
    Additional copies of books represented in this collection are available in the SDASM library: Bond, Charles R. Jr. and Anderson, Terry. A Flying Tiger's diary. D 790 .B59 1984 Pistole, Larry M. The Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers. D 790 .C46 1983 Rosholt, Malcolm. Claire L. Chennault : a tribute. TL 540 .C54 .R67
    Elwyn Gibbon Personal Papers http://sandiegoairandspace.org/collections/collection_item.php?id=77
    Related Research Institutions: The Hoover Institution at Stanford University (http://www.hoover.org/library-archives) holds the papers of Claire L Chennault, commander of the 14th Air Force.
    Secondary Sources: American Volunteer Group-Flying Tigers Association. "Flying Tigers AVG - Home." Flying Tigers AVG. http://www.flyingtigersavg.com/

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958
    China National Aviation Corporation.
    China. Kong jun. American Volunteer Group.
    Flying Tigers (AVG), Inc..
    United States. Army Air Forces. Air Force, 14th.
    United States. Army Air Forces.
    China Burma India Theater (CBI)
    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
    World War, 1939-1945