More from the Naval Aviation Museum. These pages are heavy with journaling so minimum embellies - just alphas and brads. Journaling and logo from Web,
Journal:With the signing of the Lend-Lease Act, the Chinese Commissioner of Aviation, T.V. Soong, approached the U.S. to procure aircraft for China's air force. A number of P-40Bs were available, and were sold to a Chinese company. CAMCO, as it was called, shipped crated P-40Bs to Rangoon, Burma, where they were assembled. In a parallel move, CAMCO hired retired Navy and Army officers to travel to U.S. naval air stations and Army fields to recruit pilots, promising better pay than the U.S. military offered, along with getting into the war that America, at the time, resisted entering. In 1937, Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army captain, had been hired by the Nationalist Government to train Chinese pilots, then flying both Russian and Italian aircraft far inferior to the Japanese. The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army Air Corps, Navy, and Marine Corps, recruited under presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The group consisted of three fighter squadrons of around 30 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces. They were officially members of the Chinese Air Force and the members of the group had contracts with salaries.
Never included in Naval Aviation's inventory, the P-40B Tomahawk is displayed here to honor those Naval Aviators who joined the AVG, better known as the Flying Tigers. Entering combat in December 1941, the AVG quickly gained fame flying against overwhelming odds. It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces, and achieved such notable success during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces as to give hope to America that it might eventually defeat the Japanese. As America entered the war, and U.S. units moved into China, the AVG was summarily disbanded on 4 July 1942. In its short life, however, the AVG shot down 299 enemy aircraft and destroyed another 153 on the ground. It was replaced by the 23rd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces, which was later absorbed into the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force with General Chennault as commander. The 23rd FG went on to achieve similar combat success, while retaining the nose art on the left-over P-40s.
The P-40B Tomahawk evolved from the Curtiss Model 75 Hawk, a radial-engined fighter introduced in the mid-1930s. First flown in October 1938, the XP-40 was the fastest U.S. Army fighter at the time, and deliveries of the P-40 began in June 1940. The P-40B first flew in November 1941, and was quickly sent to the Royal Air Force (RAF) under Lend-Lease. The original models lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and carried two .50-caliber cowl-mounted guns and two .30-caliber guns in the wings. The P-40B was improved with self-sealing tanks, pilot armor and two extra wing guns.