China Pilot: Flying for Chiang & Chennault

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9780028811260: China Pilot: Flying for Chiang & Chennault

At the end of World War II, young American pilot Felix Smith had to choose between returning home to a job with a commercial airline and remaining in Asia. Life in the Midwest, however, could not compete with the seductive mystique of China, so Smith chose to stay, becoming one of the first pilots to fly for General Clair Chennault's Civil Air Transport (CAT). Chennault, famous as the founder of the mercenary organization, dubbed as the "Flying Tigers", late established the CAT to fly food and medical supplies into devastated post-war China. For over 30 years, Smith lived as a civilian among the local people and flew over 8 million miles on flights of mercy - flights that cost the lives of many of his comrades.

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About the Author:

During his thirty-year career in Asia, Felix Smith flew ten different types of airplanes more than eight million miles. He lives in rural Wisconsin.

From Publishers Weekly:

After WWII, Claire Chennault, founder of the Flying Tigers, organized a collection of pilots into a company called Civil Air Transport (CAT), which delivered food, ammo, medical supplies and reinforcements to the Nationalists during China's 1946-1949 civil war. The author of this vigorous, anecdote-packed memoir was one of their number. Here he recalls his adventures in the wild blue yonder and some of the raffish characters he met on terra firma, many of them straight out of "Terry and the Pirates": Y.L. Yang, the Cigarette King, who helped finance the airline; Chiang Hseuh-liang, the Young Marshall, whose feud with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek became legendary; James "Earthquake Magoon" McGovern, the Falstaffian CAT pilot who went down in flames on a relief mission to Dienbienphu. Smith describes CAT's involvement on the margins of the wars in Korea, Laos and Vietnam and its role in establishing the Nationalists on Taiwan. He further reveals how the airline retained its private identity after becoming a major air arm of the CIA. His view of the various wars is unabashedly romantic, but the memoir as a whole is wonderfully entertaining. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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