Tex Hill, Flying Tiger
The bookshelf of American Volunteer Group literature has a new addition that fills in the career of David Lee “Tex” Hill, arguably the best fighter leader under the “old man,” Clare Chennault of “Flying Tiger” fame. This autobiography covers his life from birth to missionary parents in Korea, to training as a U.S. Naval aviator, his well documented experiences with the Flying Tigers as well as his post-WWII service including commanding the 412th FG that was the first unit equipped with the Bell P-59 Airacomet jet fighter.
A colorful figure throughout his life, Tex Hill evolved into an excellent leader. He led the most difficult missions himself. His usual command was “Y’all follow me.”
The book is an excellent read. A valuable addendum to each chapter was a summary and comment on the state of the war elsewhere at the time. In the defense of Rangoon, Winston Churchill declared the Tigers comparable to the Battle of Britain.
A most shocking and tragic story was told of General Joseph W.E. Stilwell, Chiang Kai Shek’s new American Chief of Staff and commander of the U.S. Forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. President Roosevelt had been convinced by three State Department officials who were in residence with Mao Tse Tung’s Chinese communists, who had been driven into a remote retreat, that Mao was the most competent to lead China into the future. Stilwell’s retreat from holding the line protecting Burma with the Chinese Army led to the loss of Burma and the communist’s Long March to gain control of China and Chiang’s retreat to Taiwan.