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They Flew With Tigers is about the unheralded airmen of the 308th Bomb Group of the Fourteenth Air Force’s “Flying Tigers” in China during World War II. They have received little recognition, while their counterparts of the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces in England and Europe have had hundreds of volumes honoring them. The time to tell their epic story has finally come.
The book weaves the history of the only heavy bomb group in General Chennault’s “Forgotten Fourteenth” through the words and memoirs of ten diverse young warriors who flew a B-24 Liberator named American Beauty. It chronicles their pre-war lives and coming of age during the Depression and their quick transformation from civilian to soldier at hastily constructed training fields around the country. A rousing flight across the U.S. and overseas journey to adventurous, exotic China in 1944, reveal a tale of frightening, high-altitude drama with pathos and humor, set against the backdrop of global war. The reader will anxiously ride along with the crew as they fly their unpredictable war machine on 30 harrowing combat missions against the Japanese. The fateful last flight Horace J. Carswell, the only 14th AF airman to win the Medal of Honor, is also detailed within the pages of the book. The saga concludes with emotional homecomings and reunions when the boys put their war years behind them and quietly assimilate into post-war, mainstream America.
The manuscript is culled from hours of interviews with the crew who, along with their families, also provided diaries, letters, and military documents. Recently declassified official records of the 308th Bomb Group and 375th Bomb Squadron and historical reports from the Army Air Forces Archives at Maxwell AFB, complete the big picture of the crew’s action and service. Meticulously researched and footnoted, the book paints a colorful word picture of life in the Army Air Forces during World War II. It is unique because it represents an overall unit history of the 308th BG while focusing primarily on one particular 10-man crew. Rarely, if ever before has the heroic story of one specific, heavy bomber crew been told with such immediacy, passion, detail, and personal insight.