Flying Tigers and the AVG
The Flying Tigers were American fighter pilots that flew for China in the early part of 1942. Commanded by an American Colonel, Col. Claire Chennault. Were later called the American Volunteer Group (AVG). They achieved good success in their aerial battles against the Japanese.
WWII AVG fighter ace, John Richard “Dick” Rossi and other members, were invited to attend the Zhijiang Peace and Culture Festival on November 15-16, 2003. Held in the Zhijiang township in Hunan Province, China.
At the newly opened Flying Tigers Museum in Zhijiang, Dick Rossi donated his G-1 jacket. A reproduction of the jacket he wore as a member of the AVG. This jacket, which was custom-made for Dick Rossi by US Wings many years ago, is now on display in the Zhijiang museum. The museum once served as the operations center and control tower at the airfield. It commemorates the AVG in their defense of China. Zhijiang was the site where Japanese troops surrendered to Chinese and American forces on August 21, 1945.
The following is a letter from Lydia Rossi (wife of Dick Rossi) to David Hack, CEO of US Wings…
Dick Rossi, who is the president of the Flying Tigers Association, was the proud wearer of one of your jackets that had been customized for him about ten or more years ago. It had the AVG insignia, the First Pursuit Squadron, his name, a blood chit, etc.
We recently had a wonderful trip through China. The Chinese government has decided that the AVG Flying Tigers represent the best example of friendship between the US and China that has ever existed. They have been giving the Flying Tigers lots of publicity and the members who were on the trip were treated as huge heroes.
Dick wore his jacket on this trip where it was quite a show stopper. It was photographed extensively (was all over the newspapers) and was quite admired even though we explained that it was a replica – not original.
When we were in the city of Zhijiang we were taken to a museum they have set up in a building which once served as General Chennault’s headquarters. While there, Dick was approached by the director of the museum who asked him to donate his jacket to the museum. We were a little shocked at first, but then decided it would be for the best – so they arranged a very nice ceremony, complete with lots of press, and Dick handed over the jacket to the Secretary General of the province. I have sent you three photos.
We would like to replace that jacket. Please tell us if you still make this type and if you still have the information about it, and how much it would cost to have a new one.
Thank you so much,
January 15, 2004
The letter reads…
Wow! Thanx! The jacket is beautiful and a perfect fit. I will enjoy showing it off.
It was very nice of you to send the jacket. As soon as Lydia and I get around to it, we will be able to send you some photos of me wearing it.
All the best!