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The Flying Tigers were a small group of volunteers part of a mass effort by the American British French Soviet Chinese and Dutch to eliminate Imperial Japan from China This American group became the hope for a battered China and a nightmare for the Japanese air force in just six months Credited with over two hundred and ninety-six victories and killing over one-thousand enemy airmen The Flying Tigers slashed a gaping maw in the Japanese air offensive over Burma and Rangoon in 1942 at a cost of sixteen Tigers The activities of the Flying Tigers were a full team effort in which each member played a significant role occupying small make-shift runways spread thinly through Indochina and Burma The success of the group depended on the dedication of the crew chiefs and ground support members the pilots themselves the brass and the Tigers that made the ultimate sacrifice It is amazing as to how such a collection of people with such varying backgrounds blended together to form such an effective teamable to do such an efficient and precise operation under terribly adverse conditions Much has been written and told of the aerial deeds of the Flying Tigers Often overlooked is the account of miracles it took on the part of the ground support people to keep the aircraft in the air An outstanding job was done by the airbase ground crews servicing and handling the planes and their guns The crew performed incredibly efficiently during heavy activity and quick turn-around When the P-40 warhawks the aircraft they flew landed after an engagement they would be fully serviced and checked air-worthy to take-off again if necessary The Tigers sometimes had only minutes to refuel and reload before they took to the skies again to stalk another attacking wave of Japanese planes Many times the ground crews worked through the night with lanterns and flashlights to repair damaged planes for the morning to
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