U.S. WWII Army Air Force Flying Tigers Named Uniform Set with Carl Spaatz Signed Determination of Death Letter
Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. This set comes from the phenomenal "named uniform collection" originating from Indiana from which we purchased; Eddie Rickenbacker's WW1 Visor Cap, Jimmy Stewart's WW2 Army Air Force Uniform, Sergeant Bilko's 1955 Phil Silver's Show Visor cap, Frank Luke’s WWI visor cap, General Patton’s WWII garrison cap, WW2 Captain of the Enola Gay Paul Tibbets’ uniform, WWI Aviator Quentin Roosevelt Uniform Set, Colonel Jonathan "Skinny" Wainwright’s uniform, General William Mitchell Named set and Naval Aviator David McCampbell named uniform all of which sold in a matter of days.
As with any historical collectible provenance plays an important factor in value. The big problem with provenance is proving it. We offer no more provenance then what is presented in this listing. We are transparent in what we offer for sale by providing detailed descriptions and multiple high-resolution photos. To be clear, we'd never sell something we knew to be incorrect. Additionally, we offer a 30-day money back return policy so you may examine items in person and draw your own conclusions.
The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 19411942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, comprised pilots from the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), recruited under presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The shark-faced nose art of the Flying Tigers remain among the most recognizable image of any individual combat aircraft or combat unit of World War II.
The 23rd Fighter Group was established in World War II as the 23rd Pursuit Group of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Redesignated the 23rd Fighter Group before its activation, the group was formed in China on 4 July 1942, as a component of the China Air Task Force and received a small cadre of volunteer personnel from the simultaneously disbanded 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) the "Flying Tigers" of the Chinese Air Force.
To carry on the traditions and commemorate the history of the AVG, aircraft of the USAF 23rd Fighter Group carry the same "Shark Teeth" nose art of the AVG's Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, along with the "FT" (Flying Tiger) tail code. The 23rd Fighter Group's aircraft are the only United States Air Force aircraft currently authorized to carry this distinctive and historical aircraft marking.
Claire L. Chennault, meanwhile, had been recalled to active duty with the rank of brigadier general and placed at the head of the China Air Task Force (later to grow into Fourteenth Air Force). The 23rd Fighter Group became a component of the Task Force and was assigned three squadrons, the 74th, 75th, and 76th Fighter Squadrons.
The group inherited the mission of the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers" (AVG). Five of Chennault's staff officers, five pilots and 19 ground crewmen entered the United States Army Air Forces and became members of the 23rd Fighter Group. Approximately 25 Flying Tiger pilots, still in civilian status, volunteered to extend their contracts for two weeks to train the new group following the disbanding of their organization. The original aircraft of the group were a mixture of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks from a batch of 50 sent to China for the AVG between January and June 1942, and a follow-up shipment of 68 P-40Es transferred from the 51st Fighter Group in India and flown over the Hump by personnel to be assigned to the 23rd, also mostly from the 51st Group.
Others from the ranks of the original Flying Tigers left China when their contracts expired, although some returned to duty later with the Army Air Forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. In addition to inheriting operational responsibilities from the AVG, the 23rd Fighter Group also benefited from the knowledge and experience of the AVG pilots, and took on the nickname of the disbanded unit.
Col. Robert L. Scott Jr., already in India as a commander of the Hump operation, became the first commander of the 23rd Fighter Group. He would later author the military classic, "God Is My Co-Pilot." On the very first day of its activation, the 23rd Fighter Group engaged three successive waves of enemy aircraft and promptly recorded the destruction of five enemy aircraft with no losses.
The next three years saw the 23rd Fighter Group involved in much of the action over southeast and southwest Asia. It provided air defense for the Chinese terminus of the Hump route but its operations extended beyond China to Burma, French Indochina and as far as Taiwan. The unit helped pioneer a number of innovative fighter and fighter-bomber tactics. The group used its so-called "B-40" (P-40's carrying 1,000-pound bombs) to destroy Japanese bridges and kill bridge repair crews, sometimes demolishing their target with a single bomb. The unit gained another increase in capability with its conversion to the North American P-51 Mustang aircraft in November 1943. Representative of the encounters undertaken by this small and often ill-equipped group was the defense against a major Japanese push down the Hsiang Valley in Hunan Province 1725 June 1944. Ignoring inhibiting weather conditions and heavy ground fire, the 23rd Fighter Group provided air support for Chinese land forces and repeatedly struck at enemy troops and transportation. Its efforts in this instance earned it the Distinguished Unit Citation for "outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy." In 1945 it help turn the Japanese spring offensive and harassed the retreating Japanese by strafing and bombing their columns.
Included in this grouping are the following:
Ike jacket named to 2nd Lieutenant Philip E. Clow ASN n-701723 of Plainfield, Illinois. Complete with Flying Tigers shoulder patch, aviator wings, rank insignia and more.
Named Garrison cap denoting the rank of a 2nd lieutenant.
Named Purple Heart medal in presentation box.
Detached original unissued Flying Tigers shoulder patch (in addition to the one on tunic).
Detached original unissued China Burma India Theater (CBI) shoulder patch.
A letter of Determination of Death dated June 14, 1946 signed be CARL SPAATZ, Commanding General, Army Air Forces.
Copy of Individual Report of Downed Aircraft dated 21st November, 1944
Lieutenant Clow a member of the 16th fighter squadron was went missing in action over China on November 19th1944. He was flying in a P-51 mustang type F-51C-10-NT plane number 43-24970. It was reported that he crashed into friendly territory but no trace was ever found.
Of particular note is a personal letter on watermarked Army stationary addressed to his mother Mrs. Charles J. Clow that was signed by Carl Spaatz giving a determination of death and including some personal details about Lieutenant Clow such as a reputation for ability and sound judgment and initiative and proficiency which marked him
A heart heavy grouping that many U.S. families were all too familiar with in WW2.
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