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The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army (USAAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), recruited under Presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault.
The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, twelve days after Pearl Harbor. It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces, and achieved such notable success during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces as to give hope to America that it might eventually defeat the Japanese. AVG pilots earned official credit, and received combat bonuses, for destroying 296 enemy aircraft, while losing only fourteen pilots in combat.
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