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Army Air Corps -
WWII Theater Made US Army Air Corps 14th Air Force Bullion Shoulder Sleeve Patch
Item #: MCJ41
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Beautiful, WWII theater made, US Army Air Corps, 14th Air Force shoulder sleeve patch. This insignia is in excellent condition and worthy in any SSI collection. This patch is direct embroidered on velvet.  

World War II
American Volunteer group
Flying Tigers

With the United States entry into World War II against the Empire of Japan in December 1941, Claire Chennault, the commander of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) (known as the Flying Tigers) of the Chinese Air Force was called to Chungking, China, on 29 March 1942, for a conference to decide the fate of the AVG. Present at the conference were Chiang Kai-shek; his wife, Madame Chiang Kai-shek; Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, commander of all U.S. forces in the China Burma India Theater; and Colonel Clayton L. Bissell, who had arrived in early March. Bissell was General Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold's choice to command the USAAF's proposed combat organization in China. As early as 30 December 1941, the U.S. War Department in Washington, D.C., had authorized the induction of the Flying Tigers into the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF). Chennault was opposed to inducting the Flying Tigers into the Army. Stilwell and Bissell made it clear to both Chennault and Chiang that unless the AVG became part of the U.S. Army Air Force, its supplies would be cut off. Chennault agreed to return to active duty but he made it clear to Stilwell that his men would have to speak for themselves.  Chiang Kai-shek finally agreed to induction of the AVG into the USAAF, after Stilwell promised that the fighter group absorbing the induction would remain in China with Chennault in command. With the situation in Burma rapidly deteriorating, Stilwell and Bissell wanted the AVG dissolved by 30 April 1942. Chennault, wanting to keep the Flying Tigers going as long as possible, proposed the group disband on 4 July, when the AVG's contracts with the Nationalist Chinese government expired. Stilwell and Bissell accepted.
China Air Task Force
Chennault was recalled to active duty in the USAAF on 15 April 1942 in the grade of Major General. Chennault was told that he would have to be satisfied with command a China Air Task Force of fighters and bombers as part of the Tenth Air Force. Its mission was to defend the aerial supply operation over the Himalayan mountains between India and China – nicknamed the Hump – and to provide air support for Chinese ground forces. Bissell had been promoted to brigadier general with one day's seniority to Chennault in order to command all American air units in China as Stillwell's Air Commander (in August 1942 he became commanding general of the Tenth Air Force). Friction developed when Chennault and the Chinese government were disturbed by the possibility that Chennault would no longer control combat operations in China. However, when Tenth Air Force commanding general Lewis Brereton was transferred to Egypt on 26 June, Stillwell used the occasion to issue an announcement that Chennault would continue to command all air operations in China.  The CATF had 51 fighters in July 1942: 31 Curtiss 81A-1 (export Tomahawks) and P-40B Tomahawks, and 20 P-40E Warhawks. Only 29 were flyable. The 81A-1s and P-40Bs were from the original 100 fighters China had purchased for use by the Flying Tigers; the P-40E Warhawks had been flown from India to China in May 1942 as part of the 23rd Fighter Group, attached to the AVG to gain experience and provide continuity to the takeover of operations of the AVG. Both fighters were good medium-altitude day fighters, with their best performance between 15,000 and 18,000 feet, and they were excellent ground-strafing aircraft.  The 11th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), consisting of the seven B-25s flown in from India, made up the bomber section of Chennault's command. These seven B-25C Mitchells were the remnants of an original 12 sent from India. Four were lost on a bombing mission en route and a fifth developed mechanical problems such that it was grounded and used for spare parts.  The AVG was disbanded on 4 July 1942, simultaneous with the activation of the 23rd FG. Its personnel were offered USAAF commissions but only five of the AVG pilots accepted them. The remainder of the AVG pilots, many disgruntled with Bissell, became civilian transport pilots in China, went back to America into other jobs, or joined or rejoined the other military services and fought elsewhere in the war. An example was Fritz Wolf who returned to the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant, senior grade and assigned as fighter pilot instructor at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida.  The 23rd Fighter Group with the 74th, 75th and 76th Fighter squadrons, its table of organization rounded out by the transfer of men and P-40s from two squadrons of the 51st Fighter Group in India.  A fourth fighter squadron for the 23rd Group was obtained by subterfuge. In June and July 1942, Chennault got the Tenth Air Force to relocate the 51st FG's 16th Fighter Squadron, commanded by Major John Alison, to his main base in Kunming, China, to gain combat experience. Chennault took them into the CATF – and never returned them.
On 19 March 1943, the CATF was disbanded and its units made part of the newly activated Fourteenth Air Force, with Chennault, now a major general, still in command. In the nine months of its existence, the China Air Task Force shot down 149 Japanese planes, plus 85 probables, with a loss of only 16 P-40s. It had flown 65 bombing missions against Japanese targets in China, Burma and Indochina, dropping 311 tons of bombs and losing only one B-25 bomber.
The members of Fourteenth Air Force and the US press adopted the name Flying Tigers for themselves after the AVG's dissolution. Especially the 23d Fighter Group was often called by the same nickname.
Fourteenth Air Force
After the China Air Task Force was discontinued, the Fourteenth Air Force (14 AF) was established by the special order of President Roosevelt on 10 March 1943. Chennault was appointed the commander and promoted to Major General. The "Flying Tigers" of 14 AF (who adopted the "Flying Tigers" designation from the AVG) conducted highly effective fighter and bomber operations along a wide front that stretched from the bend of the Yellow River and Tsinan in the north to Indochina in the south, from Chengtu and the Salween River in the west to both East and South China Seas and the island of Formosa in the east. They were also instrumental in supplying Chinese forces through the airlift of cargo across "The Hump" in the China-Burma-India theater. By the end of World War II, 14 AF had achieved air superiority over the skies of China and established a ratio of 7.7 enemy planes destroyed for every American plane lost in combat. Overall, military officials estimated that over 4,000 Japanese planes were destroyed or damaged in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II. In addition, they estimated that air units in China destroyed 1,100,000 tons of shipping, 1,079 locomotives, 4,836 trucks and 580 bridges. The United States Army Air Forces credits 14 AF with the destruction of 2,315 Japanese aircraft, 356 bridges, 1,225 locomotives and 712 railroad cars.
Chinese-American Composite Wing
In addition to the core Fourteenth Air Force (14AF) structure, a second group, the Chinese-American Composite Wing, existed as a combined 1st Bomber, 3rd Fighter, and 5th Fighter Group with pilots from both the United States and the Republic of China. U.S. service personnel destined for the CACW entered the China theater in mid-July 1943. Aircraft assigned to the CACW included later series P-40 Warhawks (with the Nationalist Chinese Air Force blue sky and 12-pointed white sun national insignia, rudder markings, and squadron/aircraft numbering) and B-25 Mitchell medium bombers. In late 1944, USAAF-marked P-51 Mustangs began to be assigned to CACW pilots—first P-51B and C series followed by, in early 1945, D and K series. The latter were a reduced-weight versions sharing many of the external characteristics of the D series aircraft including the bubble canopy. All U.S. pilots assigned to the CACW were listed as rated pilots in Chinese Air Force and were authorized to wear the pilot's wings of both nations.
Members of the 3rd FG were honored with a Distinguished Unit Citation (now Presidential Unit Citation) for a sustained campaign: Mission "A" in the late summer of 1944. Mission "A" halted a major Japanese ground offensive and resulted in the award of individual decorations for several of the group's pilots for the planning and execution of the mission. Most CACW bases existed near the boundary of Japanese-Occupied China and one "Valley Field" existed in an area within Japanese-held territory. Specific field locations included Hanchung, Ankang, Hsian, Laohokow, Enshih, Liangshan, Peishyi, Chihkiang, Hengyang, Kweilin, Liuchow, Chanyi, Suichwan, and Lingling. Today, the 1st, 3rd and 5th Groups of CACW are still operating in Taiwan, reorganized as 443rd, 427th and 401st Tactical Fighter Wings of the Republic of China Air Force.
Price: $100.00 USD (Sale Pending)