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American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) Special Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Other Finding Aids
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) Special Collection
    creator: Schreibman, Robert S.
    creator: Pentecost, Walter
    creator: McKellar, Ed
    creator: Pistole, Larry M.
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10008
    Physical Description: 4.47 Cubic Feet It contains correspondence, articles, documents, reunion yearbooks, artifacts, etc., relating to the American Volunteer Group (AVG), known as the “Flying Tigers,” the China Air Task Force, the United States 10th Air Force, and the United States 14th Air Force, all of which have used the Flying Tigers designation. The collection consists of seven flip-top archival boxes; three measuring 10.5”x15.5”x7’, two measuring 10.5”x15.5”x5”, and two measuring 10.5”x12.5”x5”.
    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.”

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use

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

    Biographical / Historical

    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

    The collection is broken down into pre-war, wartime, and post-war eras, but each era may contain material on the subject from later years. The collection begins with background information on the China-Japanese War in early 1941, prior to the involvement of the AVG, with an emphasis on assessment of Chinese air power. The second section documents the establishment of the AVG, which became known as the Flying Tigers. The third section documents activities of the United States Air Force from July 4, 1942 on, the official date of the disbanding of the AVG. The fourth section covers activities of the AVG Veterans' associations, including incorporation and the application for veteran status. The last section covers the activities of the 14th Air Force Association, including merchandising, books/brochures/periodicals, and a number of the Flying Tigers reunion booklets. Each section will contain some or all of the Series listings noted below.
    Selected digitized images from this collection.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    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

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

    Other Finding Aids

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


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

    Related Materials

    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

    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
    China Burma India Theater (CBI)
    World War, 1939-1945
    Schreibman, Robert S.
    United States. Army Air Forces
    Pentecost, Walter
    Chennault, Claire Lee
    McKellar, Ed
    United States. Army Air Forces. Air Force, 14th
    China National Aviation Corporation
    Flying Tigers (AVG), Inc.
    China. Kong jun. American Volunteer Group
    Pistole, Larry M.