75th Anniversary Reunion of the AVG Flying Tigers
We are happy to report a very successful reunion this past September at PDK airport in Atlanta, GA. The AVG Flying Tigers and their families were guests of the Atlanta Warbird Weekend conducted by the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.
Two of the three living Tigers attended the reunion and our Chairman of the Board, 3rd Squadron Crew Chief Frank Losonsky went aloft in the backseat of a 2-seat P-40, fulfilling one of Frank's lifelong dreams. A GoPro camera in the cockpit confirms Frank's thrill as the Curtiss-Wright Warhawk completed two barrel rolls......SIERRA HOTEL, Frank!! The last living AVG Flying Tiger pilot, Dr. Carl K. Brown, was not able to attend the reunion.
Family members visited the Museum of Aviation at Warner Robins AFB and viewed the 27 AVG portraits to commemorate Tigers who were lost during WWII. It was a poignant moment for all as the family members stood in front of their Tiger. For me, it was especially emotional as Thursday, Sept. 22nd was the exact day seventy five years later from the crash of my cousin, Maax C. Hammer, Jr., 2nd Squadron member from Cairo, IL. We greatly appreciate the hospitality of Michael Rowland, museum Curator and his staff.
Next, the AVG families visited The China Room of the Confucius Institute at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. We were able to view many gifts from the three Soong Sisters of China. Soong Mei Ling became Madame Chiang Kai Shek. All three sisters attended Wesleyan. We thank Virginia Blake and the library staff for their hospitality and very informative tour.
We finished the day with a southern-style dinner at the classic Mary Mac's Tearoom in Atlanta....it was a grand day for the Tigers and their families!
Saturday and Sunday we enjoyed the AWW at "Tiger Field" as PDK was transformed for this historic event. Many classic aircraft were there, including FIVE P-40s which flew in for the AWW. To hear those Allison V-1710 engines start up and roar as they taxied to the end of the runway was a thrill....but the runup and takeoff roar and flyover of the 5-ship formation was truly eye watering!! There were numerous educational programs with interviews of the two Flying Tigers and other authorities on WWII aviation. Thank you Mo Aguiari and Jay Bess for the work of so many dedicated volunteers to make this grand event happen!
The Allison engine division of Rolls Royce sent a V-1710 engine for all to see at their tent....what a legendary warbird powerplant!! Also, the five grandsons of Donald R. Berlin, designer of the P-40, were in attendance at AWW.
Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
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