An exhibition to commemorate military cooperation between the Republic of China (ROC) the US during World War II opened yesterday in Taipei, marking 70 years since the establishment of the Flying Tigers air squadron.
The exhibition, which features photos, relics and a combat flight simulator, memorializes the contributions of the squads of US and Chinese pilots, and brings back old memories for some.
“As soon as I stepped into this room, I felt 30 years younger,” said former Flying Tigers pilot Chen Hung-chuan (陳鴻銓), now 93, who reminisced on the glory of serving his country3.
Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) spoke at the event’s opening in Taipei, praising the “crucial role” the Flying Tigers played in destroying Japanese supply lines in China.
The experience gained from the Flying Tigers, organized by US Captain Claire Chennault, forged a strong friendship between the two countries and helped lay the foundation for the present-day ROC Air Force, Yen said.
Also at the opening was Nell Calloway, Chennault’s granddaughter and head of the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in the US, who said she was impressed with the exhibit.
“I am overwhelmed and grateful to the people of the ROC for taking the time to bring this memory and to keep this memory alive,” she said.
The exhibition at the Armed Forces Museum will be open to the public for free through March 31 next year.
The Flying Tigers consisted of a group of American volunteer aviators Chennault recruited to help the ROC combat Japanese forces in P-40 “Warhawk” single-propeller aircraft.
Formally called the American Volunteer Group at its inception, it later transformed into the China Air Task Force, 14th Air Force and Chinese-US Composite Wing.
After the American airmen left, the ROC pilots became the backbone of the country’s air force.