The last "Flying Tigers" pilot in Beijing passes

16:42, August 24, 2010      

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Peng Jiaheng, the only pilot who was awarded the Flying Merit Cross by the U.S. Government in mainland China and the last pilot of the "Flying Tigers" World War II pilot group in Beijing, died at the age of 90 on Aug. 22.

Now that Peng has died, Wang Yanzhou and Wu Qiyao, who are from Shandong and Zhejiang province, respectively, are the last two remaining pilots of the "Flying Tigers" in mainland China.

Peng Jiaheng was born in Indonesia in 1921. He enrolled in the Whampoa Military Academy in 1937 and went to the United States to learn to fly airplanes a few years later. Peng returned to China to become a member of the famous "Flying Tigers" in China in July 1944.

During China's war against Japan, Peng Jiaheng engaged in 64 air battles against the Japanese army with outstanding achievements and, therefore, Peng was honored with the Flying Merit Cross and the Aviation Medal issued by the U.S. Government on Aug. 14, 1945.

Peng retired at the Civil Aviation Administration of China in 1986 in Beijing and donated the Flying Merit Cross to the Beijing Anti-Japanese War Memorial Hall in 2005.

"Flying Tigers" was the popular name of the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force in 1941-1942. They were mostly former United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps pilots and ground crew, recruited under presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault.

The group consisted of three fighter squadrons with about 20 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces.

By People's Daily Online
Additional support provided by LOTO

(Editor:李牧(实习))

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