Vernon Historical Society

 Collecting, Preserving and Sharing
 the History of Vernon and Rockville Connecticut

"The Flying Tigers" : The American Volunteer Group of WWII

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Sunday May 21, 2017 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
734 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT  (map)


Before the United States entered World War II in December, 1941, a band of American volunteers were already fighting against the Japanese in China as part of a small, well-equipped air force. Retired United States Army Air Corp Capt. Claire L. Chennault used his experience with the situation in China and his knowledge of the combat tactics of the Japanese Air Force to recruit American pilots and ground crews to join his volunteers later named “The Flying Tigers.”

The lecture will cover the background to forming the unit, the challenges that General Chennault faced and recount the exploits of one of the most successful air combat groups in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Tom Pandolfi, the speaker for the May program, became interested in the Flying Tiger story while serving in the military during the Vietnam War. When stationed in Thailand, he met farmers who had helped build airfields for General Chennault’s group. Returning home, he began to learn about the group and collect memorabilia. He has been to China twice courtesy of the Chinese Government as the “Flying Tigers” are still considered national heroes for helping China defeat the Japanese. Mr. Pandolfi, a retired FedEx Flight Manager, has been with Employer Support of the National Guard Reserves for 20 years.

The program will begin at 2pm on Sunday, May 21, 2017 following a short business meeting at the Vernon Historical Society’s building at 734 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon. The program is free and open to the public. For further information, please call the Society at 860-875-4326 or send an email to [email protected] or visit our webpage at

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