The China Air Task Force and 14th Air Force

With the entrance of the United States into the Second World War, there was no longer a need for American pilots to serve as volunteers in the Chinese Air Force as the American Volunteer Group (AVG) did. In the AVG’s wake came official pilots of the United States military. Though these pilots openly served under the American flag, they continued to be known as Flying Tigers. Like their predecessors, they provided support for Chinese forces on the ground by fighting enemy planes.

In 1943, the China Air Task Force was incorporated into the newly formed 14th Air Force. The 14thwas headquartered in Kunming and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault of the original Flying Tigers. By the end of the war, the 14th Air Force had more than 20,000 men and 1,000 planes in China. From the formation of the China Task Force in July 1942 to the end of the war, the 14th Air Force destroyed 2,135 enemy aircraft, shooting down ten enemy planes for every one they lost. (Bishop).