Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 4 News List

TV series focuses on Flying Tigers’ wartime exploits

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A four-part TV series documenting the exploits of the Flying Tigers during World War II is being broadcast this week.

The first installment of the documentary series on the squadron that operated in the Chinese-Burma-India region — known as the “CBI Theater” during the conflict — was aired on the Public Television Service’s (PTS) channel 13 at 10pm yesterday and the rest are to run through Friday.

“The Flying Tigers squadron forms a very important chapter in Taiwan’s wartime history, where the Republic of China [ROC] and the US air forces worked together with outstanding camaraderie, spirit and cooperative fellowship,” Air Force Chief of Staff Liu Shou-jen (劉守仁) said.

“Many pilots lost their lives delivering supplies into [China’s] Yunnan [Province] to aide the war cause. Their sacrifices were not in vain, because victory was achieved in the end. Through this documentary, we give witness to this piece of wartime history and commemorate all those who took part in the Flying Tigers’ exploits, so that they will not be forgotten,” Liu said.

PTS general manager Sunshine Kuang (曠湘霞) said that the documentary took three years to complete, with the production team undertaking research, interviewing survivors and filming on location in Taiwan, the US, Myanmar, India and China. Two media companies in China also took part in the project.

Kuang said the series is special because next year is the 70th year anniversary of the end of the war.

Veteran BBC filmmaker and producer Steven Seidenberg, who was the lead director for the project, said he had been fascinated with the Flying Tigers as a child, so directing the documentary was a dream come true.

Led by US General Claire Chennault, the Flying Tigers began training in 1941 with an assembly of volunteer fighter pilots forming the Aviation Volunteer Group based in Kunming, China, who fought against the Japanese and helped train the ROC’s fledgling air force.

After the US entered the war, the Flying Tigers units were reformed to become the 23rd Fighter Group of the US Air Force.

Their missions involved delivering material supplies and, most famously, flying over the “hump” — the Himalayas — as they traveled between Allied bases in India and southwestern China.

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