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ElAurens
04-29-2004, 07:46 PM
Ok folks..this is copied from the post I made in our private Pig's forum, regarding a lecture given by Peter Wright, that I attended at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio Wednesday night. Enjoy.

I don't know what to say...almost.

What an amazing guy. He will be 87 in 2 weeks, and he is sharp as a tack and funny as hell. I'll give a quick synopsis of his lecture about his time in the AVG...

First he talked about the formation of the AVG itself. We all know about how Chennault came to the US to try to get flyers and planes. What most of us don't know is that this project had the full blessing and support of Secretary of the Navy Knox and President Roosevelt. Both of them knew that sooner or later we would be fighting Japan, and we needed to know more about their operational modus operandi, and equipment. They felt that the AVG would be a good way to gain knowledge about Imperial Japan's war machine, and help China at the same time.

So...

Mr Wright was a Naval Aviator at the time, flying what he described as "rickety dive bombers" from USS Ranger. When he heard about the AVG's deal he jumped at the chance to fly a "First Line Fighter" (more on this later...). Also the AVG was paying almost 10 times his Naval pay, and he thought it would be a fun thing to do for a year...

He said that no one thought that they were anything special untill they were 2 days out from Hawaii on the ship to Rangoon. They woke up that morning to find that 2 US Navy heavy cruisers had formed up with them during the night, and escorted them all the way to Rangoon!

Once in Burma they took over an old RAF field about 100 miles north of Rangoon, assembeled their P40s and began training. He was a flight leader in the second squadron (Panda Bears) of the AVG.

To tell everyting he said would take forever (the lecture went way over the alloted time...), so I'll just hit some high points. His first two kills happened on the same day, in the same engagement. He and Tex Hill flew from Kunming down to the field they first set up at in Burma because the "Japs" (he always called them that...) had taken it. Tex said over the radio that they should straff them, he was trying to tell Tex that maybe that wasn't a good idea when Hill peeled off and dove on the base, so he said what the hell and went down too... Tex straffed a row of parked fighters when the "Japs" opened up with everything from flak to rifles... Wright saw a "Nell" bomber on take off so he followed it and shot it down just as it's wheels were coming up. He then decided that the ground fire was too intense so he started jinking away from the base. As he was climbing away he saw a "Val" above him heading down to the base. He pulled right to come around and the tail gunner opened up on him. He maneuvered under and behind the Val, so the gunner would not have a good shot... and flamed it .


These would be his last kills in the air untill the last sortie flown by the AVG in July of 1942. On that day he had the honor of getting the AVG's last kill. A Ki43.

After his "prepared" lecture he took questions from the crowd. Of course I asked him about the P40. I went back to his comment about the P40 being a "First Line Fighter" and how that stands up with the revisionist view today that it was second rate.

He said that, yes, in Europe the P40 suffered because of it's poor high altitude performance, but in the Pacific, and for the AVG in particular it was an excellent aircraft. And again he called it a first line plane, the equivalent of the F16 today...


Afterwards he signed autographs, so I had him sign my P40 Pilot's Manual. He recongnized that it was I who asked about the P40 and he said again that they all jumped at the chance to fly the P40. He also said that the press at the time said that we (the Flying Tigers) made the P40 famous, but the pilots all thought that the P40 made them famous.



There is so much more I could tell, but I don't want to type anymore...

It was a once in a lifetime experience.



Peter Wright
Flight Leader, Second Squadron (Panda Bears)
American Volunteer Group

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

_____________________________

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BlitzPig_EL

ElAurens
04-29-2004, 07:46 PM
Ok folks..this is copied from the post I made in our private Pig's forum, regarding a lecture given by Peter Wright, that I attended at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio Wednesday night. Enjoy.

I don't know what to say...almost.

What an amazing guy. He will be 87 in 2 weeks, and he is sharp as a tack and funny as hell. I'll give a quick synopsis of his lecture about his time in the AVG...

First he talked about the formation of the AVG itself. We all know about how Chennault came to the US to try to get flyers and planes. What most of us don't know is that this project had the full blessing and support of Secretary of the Navy Knox and President Roosevelt. Both of them knew that sooner or later we would be fighting Japan, and we needed to know more about their operational modus operandi, and equipment. They felt that the AVG would be a good way to gain knowledge about Imperial Japan's war machine, and help China at the same time.

So...

Mr Wright was a Naval Aviator at the time, flying what he described as "rickety dive bombers" from USS Ranger. When he heard about the AVG's deal he jumped at the chance to fly a "First Line Fighter" (more on this later...). Also the AVG was paying almost 10 times his Naval pay, and he thought it would be a fun thing to do for a year...

He said that no one thought that they were anything special untill they were 2 days out from Hawaii on the ship to Rangoon. They woke up that morning to find that 2 US Navy heavy cruisers had formed up with them during the night, and escorted them all the way to Rangoon!

Once in Burma they took over an old RAF field about 100 miles north of Rangoon, assembeled their P40s and began training. He was a flight leader in the second squadron (Panda Bears) of the AVG.

To tell everyting he said would take forever (the lecture went way over the alloted time...), so I'll just hit some high points. His first two kills happened on the same day, in the same engagement. He and Tex Hill flew from Kunming down to the field they first set up at in Burma because the "Japs" (he always called them that...) had taken it. Tex said over the radio that they should straff them, he was trying to tell Tex that maybe that wasn't a good idea when Hill peeled off and dove on the base, so he said what the hell and went down too... Tex straffed a row of parked fighters when the "Japs" opened up with everything from flak to rifles... Wright saw a "Nell" bomber on take off so he followed it and shot it down just as it's wheels were coming up. He then decided that the ground fire was too intense so he started jinking away from the base. As he was climbing away he saw a "Val" above him heading down to the base. He pulled right to come around and the tail gunner opened up on him. He maneuvered under and behind the Val, so the gunner would not have a good shot... and flamed it .


These would be his last kills in the air untill the last sortie flown by the AVG in July of 1942. On that day he had the honor of getting the AVG's last kill. A Ki43.

After his "prepared" lecture he took questions from the crowd. Of course I asked him about the P40. I went back to his comment about the P40 being a "First Line Fighter" and how that stands up with the revisionist view today that it was second rate.

He said that, yes, in Europe the P40 suffered because of it's poor high altitude performance, but in the Pacific, and for the AVG in particular it was an excellent aircraft. And again he called it a first line plane, the equivalent of the F16 today...


Afterwards he signed autographs, so I had him sign my P40 Pilot's Manual. He recongnized that it was I who asked about the P40 and he said again that they all jumped at the chance to fly the P40. He also said that the press at the time said that we (the Flying Tigers) made the P40 famous, but the pilots all thought that the P40 made them famous.



There is so much more I could tell, but I don't want to type anymore...

It was a once in a lifetime experience.



Peter Wright
Flight Leader, Second Squadron (Panda Bears)
American Volunteer Group

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

_____________________________

http://www.blitzpigs.com/forum/images/avatars/Curtiss_logo.gif

BlitzPig_EL

LEXX_Luthor
04-29-2004, 08:26 PM
Awsum!

Our typing fingers feeling refreshed now? Excellent

MetalG.
04-30-2004, 08:12 AM
Great read, thanks.

ZG77_Lignite
04-30-2004, 12:14 PM
Good stuff. Jives very well with too with the recollections of Charlie Bond (1st Squadron, Adam&Eves). Though there is alwayse some 'story' in historical recollections, most of these guys give a pretty good view (and more importantly; similar views) of the life and times during the pre-AAC AVG period. After about 4-5 in-depth accounts, the picture of what things were like around there becomes pretty clear (and it is extremely interesting!).

AcesHigh_AVG
04-30-2004, 01:10 PM
Damn I was going to go to that! I forgot all about it!!! They send out the flyers to early and I forgot to mark it on my calendar. Had to work that night anyway.

ElAurens
04-30-2004, 03:40 PM
I wish I could convey the sense of humor that Mr. Wright had...

Oh well, the lectures are available on video tape from the USAF Museum on a loan basis. check their website.

USAF Museum (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/)

One of the more interesting things he said was not to trust any books that claim the AVG engaged the Zero-Sen. He said the only fighters they went up agianst were Claudes and Oscars. I did not press him on this as I was too caught up in asking about the P40, but I'm wondering if some of those Claudes were Nates as well? He was pretty specific about them being open cockpit fighters with fixed gear.

He said the only time they were any real trouble was if they caught you low and slow, because they all could outclimb and, of course, out turn the P40.

Words to live by...

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_____________________________

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BlitzPig_EL

Chuck_Older
04-30-2004, 06:03 PM
Thnaks for that post, El http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

VF-10_Snacky
04-30-2004, 06:12 PM
Ya know you can read the books and watch the documentaries, but there is something special about hearing these men tell thier stories in person. We are losing more of these heros everyday so any chance you get to spend time with these men you need to jump on it. Great story and thanks

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"Navy1, Call the Ball- Roger Ball."