Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958

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Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault, a native of Commerce, Texas, earned his military pilot's wings in 1917. He was the chief fighter flight trainer at Maxwell Airfield, Alabama, in the 1930s, and he wrote a book on tactical air defense entitled THE ROLE OF DEFENSIVE PURSUIT (1935). During the Second World War, he commanded the volunteer group The Flying Tigers, which led the air war in China beginning in 1942.

From the description of Claire Lee Chennault letter and passport, 1941 Oct. 25. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 299748338

In April, 1937, Claire L. Chennault, then a captain in the United States Army Air Corps, retired from active duty and accepted an offer from Madame Chiang Kai-Shek for a three month mission to China to make a confidential survey of the Chinese Air Force. This was the beginning of Chennault's stay in China which did not terminate until 1945 at the close of World War II. It was his experiences in China, together with the knowledge he attained of combat tactics and the operations of Japanese Air force over China, that laid the ground work for the organization of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) in 1941. The AVG was a group of pilots hired from abroad and later named the "Flying Tigers" which fought the Japanese in China before America's entry into World War II. Chennault's three squadrons used P40's and his tactics of "defensive pursuit" to guard the Burma Road, Rangoon, and other strategic locations in Southeast Asia and western China against Japanese forces. The Flying Tigers were formally incorporated into the United States Army Air Forces in 1942. Prior to that, Chennault had rejoined the Army with the rank of colonel. He was later promoted to brigadier and then major general, commanding the Fourteenth Air Force. Chennault was ultimately promoted to lieutenant general, one day before his death. He died of lung cancer in 1958 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

From the description of Chennault collection, 1941-1954. (US Air Force Academy). WorldCat record id: 288722307

Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault was born in Commerce, Texas, Sept. 6, 1893. He worked as a high school principal and he earned his flier's wings as a military pilot in 1917. By 1935, he was the chief fighter flight trainer at Maxwell Airfield, Alabama. He wrote a book on tactical air defense entitled "The role of defensive pursuit" (1935). During the Second World War, he commanded the volunteer group The Flying Tigers, which led the air war in China beginning in 1942. Chennault established the Civil Air Transport, Inc., which flew transport missions for nationalist China under Chiang Kai-shek, 1946-1958. Chennault's son, David W., worked for Civil Air Transport in Taipei, Taiwan, beginning in 1952.

From the description of Lt. General Claire Lee Chennault and family papers, 1943-1956. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 298462182

Born: Commerce, Texas, September 6, 1893; son of John Stonewall and Jessie Lee Chennault. Education: Louisiana State Normal College; Louisiana State University. Military Service: joined the Avaition Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps Reserve (Army Air Corps) in 1917 and served until his retirement, largely for deafness, in 1937. Became air advisor to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek of China; organized the famous Flying Tiger squadron composed of volunteer American pilots who fought with China against Japan in 1941. Reactivated in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a brigadier and major general of the 14th Air Force unti 1945. After the war, organized the Civil Air Transport airline and rendered aid to the Nationalist Chinese in their struggle against the Communists. Died: New Orleans, July 27, 1958; interred at Arlington National Cemetery. (Dictionary of Louisiana Biography).

From the description of Lt. General Claire L. Chennault/Chennault Air Force Base collection, 1950's-1960's. (McNeese State University). WorldCat record id: 36902160

Civilian flyer and Army Air Force officer in China.

From the description of Papers of Claire Lee Chennault, 1941-1954. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71061437

Major general, United States Army Air Forces; commanding general, American Volunteer Group, 1941-1942, China Air Task Force, 1942-1943, and United States 14th Air Force, 1943-1945.

From the description of Claire Lee Chennault papers, 1941-1967. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754869187

In April, 1937, Claire L. Chennault, then a captain in the United States Army Air Corps, retired from active duty and accepted an offer from Madame Chiang Kai-Shek for a three month mission to China to make a confidential survey of the Chinese Air Force. This was the beginning of Chennault's stay in China which did not terminate until the close of World War II in 1945. It was his experiences in China, together with the knowledge Chennault attained of combat tactics and the operations of Japanese Air force over China, that laid the ground work for the organization of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) in 1941. The AVG was a group of pilots hired from abroad and later named the "Flying Tigers" which fought the Japanese in China before America's entry into World War II. Chennault's three squadrons used P40's and his tactics of "defensive pursuit" to guard the Burma Road, Rangoon, and other strategic locations in Southeast Asia and western China. The Flying Tigers were formally incorporated into the United States Army Air Forces in 1942. Prior to that, Chennault had rejoined the Army with the rank of colonel. He was later promoted to brigadier and then major general, commanding the Fourteenth Air Force. Chennault was ultimately promoted to lieutenant general, one day before his death. He died of lung cancer in 1958 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

From the description of Chennault - Byrd collection, 1937-1985. (US Air Force Academy). WorldCat record id: 317972531

Biographical Note

  • 1890, Sept. 6: Born, Commerce, Texas
  • 1917: Commissioned First Lieutenant, U.S. Army. Became military aviator
  • 1937: Retired from U.S. Army Air Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel
  • 1937 - 1941 : Adviser to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
  • 1941, Aug. - 1942, July : Commanding Officer, American Volunteer Group in Chinese Air Force
  • 1942: Commissioned Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Forces
  • 1942, July - 1943, Mar. : Commanding General, China Air Task Force
  • 1943: Promoted to Major General
  • 1943, Mar. - 1945, Aug. : Commanding General, 14th Air Force
  • 1945: Retired from U.S. Army Air Forces
  • 1946 - 1958 : President, Chinese National Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Air Transport, and its successor organizations, Civil Air Transport and China Air Transport
  • 1949: Author, Way of a Fighter
  • 1958, July 27: Died, New Orleans, Louisiana

From the guide to the Claire Lee Chennault papers, 1941-1967, (Hoover Institution Archives)

Archival Resources
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creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Chennault collection, 1941-1954. US Air Force Academy, McDermott Library
referencedIn James M. McHugh papers, 1930-1965. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Claire Lee Chennault papers, 1941-1967 Hoover Institution Archives.
creatorOf Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance. Staff articles, 1949-1967. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Chennault, Anna. Reminiscences of Anna Chennault and Thomas Corcoran : oral history, 1962. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
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referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. AAF REPORT
referencedIn Walker, Frederick Frye. Frederick Frye Walker Papers, 1938-1999 1961-1975. University of Texas at Dallas. Eugene McDermott Library
referencedIn Cooper, Merian C. Merian C. Cooper papers, 1917-1958. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
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referencedIn Cheves, Gilbert X. (Gilbert Xavier), 1895-1985. Major General Gilbert Xavier Cheves collection, 1984. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
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referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Army - Navy Screen Magazine. 1943 - 1958. ARMY-NAVY SCREEN MAGAZINE, NO. 14
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [OCT. 20]
creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Claire Lee Chennault letter and passport, 1941 Oct. 25. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Moving Images Relating to U.S. Foreign Policy and Foreign Relations. 1911 - 1972. NEWS REVIEW [NO. 1]
referencedIn Flying Tigers Project : oral history, 1962. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Special Film Projects Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1970. CHINA CRISIS
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referencedIn Merian C. Cooper papers, 1917-1958 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn Merian C. Cooper papers, 1921-1977 L. Tom Perry Special CollectionsArts & Communications Archives
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creatorOf Chennault, Claire L., 1893-1958. Chennault - Byrd collection, 1937-1985. US Air Force Academy, McDermott Library
creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Lt. General Claire Lee Chennault and family papers, 1943-1956. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. quot;Pappyquot; Paxton Flying Tiger film, New York City, New York; San Francisco, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, Bombay, Calcutta, and New Delhi, India, Rangoon, Burma, and China
referencedIn Thomas G. Corcoran Papers, 1792-1982, (bulk 1965-1980) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [AUG. 18]
creatorOf Noe, James A. James A. Noe collection, 1933-1955 (bulk 1940-1945). Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Kline, Frederick J., 1918-. Oral history interview with George J. Savage, 1998 February 10. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Joseph Archibald papers, 1962-1967 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. UNITED NATIONS LEADERS CONFER WITH ROOSEVELT [ETC.]
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. PACIFIC WAR HEROES DECORATED [ETC.]
referencedIn Chennault, Dille Elizabeth Young. Dille Y. Chennault papers, circa 1893-1982. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [SEPT. 15]
creatorOf Johnson, Louis Arthur, 1891-1966. Papers of Louis Arthur Johnson [manuscript] 1930-64. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Cooper, Merian C. Interview, ca. 1971 July. American Primers
referencedIn Arthur H. Vandenberg papers, 1884-1974, 1915-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Lt. General Claire L. Chennault/Chennault Air Force Base collection, 1950's-1960's. McNeese State University, Lether E. Frazar Memorial Library
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [MAY 19]
referencedIn Archibald, Joe, 1898-. Joseph S. Archibald papers, 1962-1967. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. WEST POINT SENDS HER MEN TO WAR.! [ETC.]
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. MISCELLANEOUS NEWSREEL CLIPS, WORLD WAR II
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [SEPT. 25]
referencedIn Willauer, Whiting, 1906-1962. Whiting Willauer papers, 1916-1962 (bulk 1941-1955) Princeton University Library
referencedIn Records of the Army Staff. 1903 - 2009. Photographs of U.S. and Foreign Military Personnel, Defense Department and Other Government Officials, Royalty, and Heads of State United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. CNO FAR EAST TRIP Taipei, Taiwan
creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Papers of Claire Lee Chennault, 1941-1954. Library of Congress
referencedIn John Toland Papers, 1944-1965 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. FLIERS BOMB TWO JAPANESE BASES [ETC.]
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. USAF quot;GOODWILLquot; TOUR
referencedIn "March of Time" Collection. 1934 - 1951. March of Time Documentary/Newsreel Films Relating to U.S. History, Government, Politics, Culture, and International Affairs. 1935 - 1953. BACK DOOR TO TOKYO United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Rodney Gilbert Papers, 1910-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [JAN. 21]
referencedIn McComas, Edward Otis, 1919-1954. Edward Otis McComas collection, 1941-1954. US Air Force Academy, McDermott Library
referencedIn Corcoran, Thomas G. Thomas G. Corcoran papers, 1792-1982 (bulk 1965-1980). Library of Congress
creatorOf Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958. Claire Lee Chennault papers, 1941-1967. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn McHugh, J. M. (James Marshall), 1899-. James M. McHugh papers, 1930-1965. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. NEW U.S. JET PROPULSION PLANE [ETC.]
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. COMBAT AREA ACTIVITIES OF THE ARMY AIR FORCES
referencedIn Lockett, Edward B. Edward B. Lockett papers, 1947-1960. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Pennoyer, Paul G. Paul G. Pennoyer photograph collection. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Smith, Sebie Biggs, 1908-. Reminiscences of Sebie Biggs Smith : oral history, 1981. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Motion Picture Films from "United News" Newsreels. 1942 - 1945. U.S. MARINES BATTLE JAPANESE IN PACIFIC! [ETC.]
creatorOf Herrington, A. W. S. (Arthur William Sidney), b. 1891. Papers of Arthur W. Herrington, 1920-1961 (bulk 1930-1942). Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
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Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Archibald, Joe, 1898- person
associatedWith Byrd, Martha, 1930-1993. person
associatedWith Chennault, Anna. person
associatedWith Chennault, David Wallace, 1923- person
associatedWith Chennault, Dille Elizabeth Young. person
associatedWith Cheves, Gilbert X. (Gilbert Xavier), 1895-1985. person
associatedWith China. Air Force. American Volunteer Group. corporateBody
associatedWith China. Kong jun. American Volunteer Group. corporateBody
associatedWith China. Kʻung chün. American Volunteer Group. corporateBody
associatedWith China Kʻung shün. American Volunteer Group corporateBody
associatedWith China Kʻung shün. American Volunteer Group corporateBody
associatedWith China (Republic : 1949- ). Kʻung chün. corporateBody
associatedWith Civil Air Transport. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, Merian C. person
associatedWith Corcoran, Thomas G. person
associatedWith Flying Tigers (AVG), Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Freedom Cause. corporateBody
associatedWith Gilbert, Rodney, b. 1889 person
correspondedWith Herrington, A. W. S. (Arthur William Sidney), b. 1891. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith J. M.(James Marshall) McHugh 1899- person
associatedWith Johnson, Louis Arthur, 1891-1966. person
associatedWith Kline, Frederick J., 1918- person
associatedWith Lockett, Edward B. person
associatedWith McComas, Edward Otis, 1919-1954. person
associatedWith McHugh, J. M. (James Marshall), 1899- person
associatedWith Noe, James A. person
associatedWith Pennoyer, Paul G. person
associatedWith Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Sebie Biggs, 1908- person
associatedWith Toland, John. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army Air Forces corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army Air Forces Air Force, 14th corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army Air Forces. China Air Task Force. corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Walker, Frederick Frye. person
associatedWith Willauer, Whiting, 1906-1962. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Louisiana--Lake Charles
Lake Charles (La.)
United States
Burma
China
China.
Chennault Air Force Base (La.)
United States
Louisiana
China
Burma
United States
Louisiana--Calcasieu Parish
United States
Taiwan
Lake Charles Air Force Base (La.)
China
Subject
Aeronautics
World War, 1939-1945--Economic aspects
Floods
Military Bases
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, Chinese
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American
Generals--Biography
World War, 1939-1945--China
Occupation
Army officers
Aviators
Function

Person

Birth 1893-09-06

Death 1958-07-27

English

Information

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