"FIGHTING TIGERS"

BY ROBERT TAYLOR

Autographed by John Alison, "Tex" Hill, Don Lopez, Charles Older, Ed Rector, Dick Rossi, Wiltz Segura and Erik Shilling

L/E of 500. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size:31 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Price: $295


"Greetings, you American bandits of the Flying Tigers, and especially you young American kids of the USAAF who have come to take their place. The invincible Japanese Air Force will utterly destroy you on your first day of activation - the fourth of July - your Independence Day!"

Tokyo Rose was screeching her propaganda over the shortwave radio out of Shanghai as the 23rd Fighter Group prepared to assume the mantle of Chennault's American Volunteer Group - the Flying Tigers. Her rantings served only to fill the new pilots with greater determination, and to provoke Chennault into immediate action:
"We will not wait till the 4th. We'll hit them on the 3rd!" vowed General Chennault on hearing the broadcast, and that is precisely what the young American kids did. Flying their P-40 Warhawks, 29 rookie fighter pilots ripped into a force of 48 Zeros over Kweilin, chopping down 34 enemy aircraft without loss on their first day in combat - a full day before the 23rd FG officially came into being. Tokyo Rose fell silent the following day.

Robert Taylor has painted a superb picture reconstructing an action fought over the Hsiang Chiang river on August 5, 1944. Following a successful attack on Japanese forces just north of Changsha, P-40 Warhawks of the 75th and 16th Fighter Squadrons, 23rd F.G., are attacked by enemy Nakajima fighters and a massive dog-fight has developed with aircraft wheeling and turning in all directions. The action is set against the distinctive, haunting landscape of Southern China, Robert's panoramic canvas capturing all the atmosphere of a crucial aerial campaign fought in the skies above a distant land so many years ago. Just 500 prints are available worldwide each signed by five Flying Tigers.


THE SIGNATURES

Major General JOHN ALISON
John Alison served initially as Assistant Military Attache in England and later Russia. His first combat tour was with the Flying Tigers in China, serving with the 23rd F.G. where he became an Ace. He returned to China for a 2nd tour as Commander of the Ist Air Commando Force and led the glider assault carrying General Orde Wingate's forces behind enemy lines in Burma. He finished the war with 8 victories.

Colonel 'TEX' HILL
After serving as a Navy Pilot, Tex Hill volunteered for the A.V.G., becoming Squadron Leader in the 2nd Sqn. (Panda Bears) until disbandment in 1942, by which time he had 12 1/4 air victories. He remained in China with the 75th F.S./23rd F.G. before returning to the U.S. He went back to China to command the 23rd F.G., increasing his total to 18 1/4 victories.

Lt. Colonel DON LOPEZ
In October 1943, Don was assigned to the 75th Fighter Squadron/23 F.G. 'Flying Tigers', in Hengyang, China and was soon in the thick of the fighting, scoring a victory in his very first air combat. He completed his tour in 1945 as Squadron Operations Officer, having scored 5 air victories. He later became Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Colonel CHARLES OLDER (A.V.G. Folio Edition)
Resigning from the Marine Corps in 1941 to join the A.V.G., Chuck Older took part in the great 'Christmas' air battles over Rangoon shooting down 5 Japanese aircraft. With 10 1/4 victories to his credit he joined the 23rd F.G. when the A.V.G. was disbanded, flying P-51s. He led the first strike against Shanghai resulting in the destruction of 77 Japanese aircraft. He completed the war with 18 1/4 air victories.

Colonel ED RECTOR
Ed Rector originally flew dive bombers off carriers before being recruited into the A.V.G. flying with the 2nd Sqn. Ed Rector was one of the five pilots who volunteered for continuous service in China after 4th July, 1942 and joined the 23rd Fighter Group. He returned to China later for a 2nd tour of duty. He had a total of 10 1/2 air victories.

Flight Leader DICK ROSSI (A V.G. Folio Edition)
Dick Rossi resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the A.V.G. He saw combat over Burma and China flying at varying times with all three Flying Tiger Squadrons, achieving 6 1/2 confirmed victories. With disbandment of the A.V.G. in 1942, Rossi joined the China National Aviation Corporation, ferrying vital supplies on more than 750 trips across the Hump, from India into China.

Brigadier General WILTZ SEGURA
After combat training with the Army Air Corps in 1943, Wiltz Segura joined the Flying Tigers in China, serving with the 75th Fighter Squadron/23rd Fighter Group. Flying over 102 combat missions he was twice shot down by ground fire but managed to parachute from his disabled P-40 and evade capture by the Japanese. He finished the war with 6 air victories.

Flight Leader ERIK SHILLING (A.V.G. Folio Edition)
Erik Shilling was amongst the first volunteer pilots with the A.V.G. Although credited with only one air victory, Erik flew many dangerous photo missions in his P-40 modified for vital camera work, which included the removal of 4 of his machine guns. In 1942 he joined the China National Airways flying 700 round trips over the Hump.