Subject: Boyington's kills (Erik)
From: email@example.com (Erik Shilling )
Date: Sep 20 1995
Re: Gregory Boyington's kills in reply to Bret Duff and many others
This is an effort on my part to eliminate the many
misconceptions surrounding the AVG, by appealing to one's common
sense as well as the impracticality put forward by many, that most
fighter pilot overestimate (lie) their victories. Also it must be
understood that a strict code of honor was required of all officers
in the Armed Forces, which was taken seriously.
Breach of such code of ethics would result in the offending
officer's court marshall, ending in dishonor and disgrace.
Therefore, I feel the integrity of _all fighter pilots, not just
those in the AVG are at stake. Because of this, I will do my best to
explain our feeling, and why those of you are dead wrong in the
continual reference to pilots overclaiming their victories. I am
well aware that once a person has a mind set, he is not easily
converted to the truth, even in face of facts.
Therefore no one among this group, (fighter pilots as a whole)
would condoned the practice of lying about kills. Any pilot that
lied to enhance his stature, especially since it was a possibility he
may eventually become an Ace, was looked down upon. You didn't get
this by lying. If this were true we would all be Aces, (sp) and whom
ever was the best liar would rack up the most kills.
The use of * fudged * is a thin attempt to make the charge of
lying about kills more acceptable. Lets call a spade a spade. Lying
about kills, was looked down upon by fellow pilots, and was not
condoned by the men in the squadron. The liar was verbally and
openly criticized, and in no uncertain terms was told exactly what he
was thought of, and what he could do with his false claim.
It wouldn't take long for the liars and frauds in a squadron to
surface. I must point out that Ace status was a highly revered
position among pilots of the world. It was an esteemed
accomplishment by a select group of pilots who risked their live to
be know among their peers as an Ace, and every pilot knew it only to
well. You didn't get this by lying.
Therefore no one among this group, (fighter pilots as a whole)
would overlook the practice of lying about kills. Any pilot that
lied about victories to enhance his stature, especially since it was
a possibility he may eventually become an Ace, was looked down upon.
No pilot would knowingly allow the status of Ace to become degraded
or tarnish by some BASTARD who had lied to become one. If lying was
acceptable why wasn't every fighter pilot an Ace. Also, cowards
among bomber flight crews were quickly discovered, and ostracized by
the squadron as a whole.
(Take the bloody 100th.) Cowards among bomber flight crews were
quickly discovered. One extreme example was the entire 100th was
ostracized because of the actions of the captain of one B-17. He had
dropped his gear in surrender, and was being escorted to a German
fighter to a base to land. When they were alone, the top turret
gunner cut loose and brought the escorting fighter down. They pulled
up their gear and continued to England.
The German pilot had bail out and survived. From then on the
German fighter command were out to eliminate the entire 100th. The
casualties of the 100th were so high, the squadron had to be
deactivated, and crews dispersed among other B-17 outfits. Up until
then the best defence a bomber group could have, was to be scheduled
on the same mission with the 100th.
Only military pilots seem to be able to appreciate the deep
feeling among pilots who have risked the lives in war can understand
this, and the closeness that existed within a fighter squadron.
> Mr. Duff writes -
> It's a known fact, that everybody (Allied & Axis alike) fudged
>their claims form time to time.
This is crap, neither true nor a known fact. It occurred only in
a very few _very _isolated _cases.
How do you think pilots in a squadron would look upon the pilot
who lied about having 5 victories and becomes an Ace, when others
repeatedly risked their ass to become one... I think without
exception, all would rather face the enemy, than have the guts to
face condemnation of fellow squadron mates.
Any Pilot that couldn't be trusted, which includes lying about
his kills, was not a welcome in the squadron. If he couldn't be
trusted with the truth, he couldn't be trusted in the air, was the
Boyington was a Marine pilot, as we all were. A person
representing CAMCO the undercover company sent recruiters to all
bases recruiting pilots to go to China. (See my previous posting,
"Who were the Flying Tigers.)
The reason behind why Boyington left the AVG. He had strong
disagreements with Chennault, mainly over Chennault objection to
Greg's heavy drinking. The straw that broke the camel's back was in
Loiwing, when Greg crashed a P-40 that got away from him on take off.
He hadn't quite sobered up. Chennault chewed his ass, Boyington quit.
> Recently I heard that the US Government acknowledged that the >AVG
> was actually a US Military Covert Operation.
> As I understand it this was done (in part) to allow the AVG . . . .
> Veterans and/or their Surviving family members to receive the
> same Benefits as other WWII Veterans.
The first part is correct we were military on a covert mission.
The second part doesn't make sense. Being military does. There were
no benefits remaining. All benefits expired long before our veterans
status had been revealed. Big deal.
Copy of Presidential Unit Citation for bravery.
Since this award was made to the American Volunteer Group, it is
necessary to apply for and receive your Air Force discharge for AVG
time to be eligible to receive it individually. This is a very
prestigious award. Consider the description of Air Force Regulations:
The degree of heroism required, is the same as would warrant
awarding an Air Force Cross to an individual.
The President of the United State takes pleasure in presenting
the Presidential UNIT CITATION to THE AMERICAN VOLUNTEER GROUP FLYING
TIGERS for service as set forth in the following citation:
The American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers distinguished itself
by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations
against opposing armed forces in South China and Southeast Asia from
7 December 1941 to 18 July 1942. During this period, members of the
American Volunteer Group displayed exceptional valor in compiling an
unparalleled combat record. Although never manned with more than 70
trained pilots nor equipped with more than 49 combat ready P-40
fighter aircraft, this volunteer unit conducted aggressive
counter-air, air defense and close air support operations against
numerically superior enemy forces occasionally 20 times larger,
Members of the All American Volunteer Group destroyed some 650 enemy
aircraft while suffering minimal losses. Their extraordinary perfor-
mance in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds was a major factor
in defeating the enemy invasion of South China. The professionalism,
dedication to duty, and extraordinary heroism demonstrated by the
members of the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers are in keeping
with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect the
highest credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United
For the President Donald B. Rice Secretary of the
Perhaps of special interest:
General James Howard, the only fighter pilot awarded the Con-
gressional Medal of Honor in the European theater, was an AVG
He alone attack an entire squadron of Me 109s, who had jumped a
squadron of B-17s returning to England after a bombing mission.
After shooting down 6, the German squadron fled. Jim only claimed 3,
I guess he was busy. All of the Crews in the B-17 credited him with
6. It was for this action, that Jim was awarded the nation's highest
medal for bravery
> I don't know if Boyington Fudged his Claims, but it would seem
> that the Author of the Article is implying that he did.
Make no mistake, I did not imply this. see below.
Jim was one of the pilots on the confirmation board regarding
claims submitted by AVG pilots concerning victories. Incidently he
was conscience to an extreme. Just this past year, before he died,
he attended the Titusville airshow, put on by the Valiant Air
Command. I spoke with him regarding Greg Boyington's claims. His
recollection was that Greg Boyington's finally credit was 3 +
destroyed and 3 probable. The probables could not be positively
confirmed, therefore remained as probables.
This does not mean nor imply that Greg lied, only they were
unable to confirm them. It also does not mean that Boyington over
estimated his victories. This is not an over-estimation but simply
not able to be confirmed.
Working on the P-40 vs Buffalo dogfight.
Subject: rumors rebuted
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Erik Shilling )
Date: Sep 26 1995
Mr Gustin I believe, wrote the following, however if I am mistaken
please accept my apology.
>> As an aside: There * have * been accusations that AVG Pilots
lied about kills, and this could have been one of the reasons that
Erik is so defensive about this issue. If I am not mistaken, some
British historian (of course!) claimed that AVG pilots "bought RAF
kills," because they received a bonus from the chinese government
for each kill.
Daniel Ford wrote:
Sunday 24,sep 1995
> Two Buffalo pilots in RAF 67 Squadron claimed 4 Ki-21 heavy
bombers on January 24, and so did the AVG. The New Zealanders swear
to this day that they walked over to the AVG tent that night and
told them where the wrecks could be found, and for the "AVG
chappies" to go ahead and claim them. No money changed hands. I
don't know what to make of this story.
Because a rumor or allegation may take only a few sentences,
defending or to rebut these rumors and allegations may take
volumes, however I will try to keep my answer as short as possible.
However, in this case it may be worth while to give the reader some
insight as to how, when, and why, debriefings were conducted.
First of all, I want it to be know. I have no axe to grind.
I only got one Sally, and claimed only one Sally, out of a flight
of 3 Sallys. AVG pilot would split their claims with those
involved in the fight, since 4 of us were involved I received
credited for 3/4.
I might point out that this was the only time I was engaged in
combat with the Japanese, since I normally flew either Photo
missions, top cover on some strafing mission, and some strafing.
missions. I regret that I did not have the opportunity to engage
in more aerial combat.
In my own mind, I made up for this by flying over 350 round
trips across the "Hump." Military pilots normally got an air Medal
for 12 trips and a DFC for 25 and a trip home. Flying DC-4s and
DC-6s, I made 5 over-flight into mainland China dropping agents and
supplies during the Korean war. The longest mission was 175 miles
NW of Chengtu, and about 1500 miles inland. Half of the flight was
daylight. Thirty-seven drop missions into Dien Bien Phu. This
last one was the pits. Loads of flak every time.
The 500 dollar bonus was not in our contract, and only
_rumored_. We didn't know this to be certain until it was actually
paid, at the end of our contract, it was deposited in our bank in
If this is the crap historian put out, is there any wonder why
I don't trust them. There are several things wrong with the
historian's claim, which should be obvious to anyone who know
anything at all about debriefings.
First of all, fighter pilots were debriefed immediately after
landing, when the action is fresh in the pilots mind. In our case,
because there was always a constant and imminent danger of the
enemy jumping us without warning, we didn't leave the area of our
aircraft. Therefore the debriefing took place at the airplane or
in the immediate vicinity.
As soon as the engine stopped the airplane was refueled, and
rearmed to prepare for a follow up air-raid which happened
occasionally. Any commander would plan such an attack, and send a
follow up raid, knowing this was the most vulnerable time period,
and attack just as the fighter were on the ground. In case of an
air-raid, with no fuel and no ammunition we couldn't get airborne
and have to dash to the nearest slit trench.
What the "Historian" claimed is virtually impossible.
Filling out combat reports, was much too sophisticated for
such a hoax to take place.
The AVG pilots returned to their own assigned parking spot
from which they left. At Rangoon, each AVG flight was separated
from the other flight by more than one half mile.
All AVG and RAF planes were dispersed in case of air-raid, and
in most cases parked more than one mile from the RAF parking area.
Every pilot returning from a combat was met by his the crew
chief, and armorer, and normally by a debriefing officer, pad and
pencil in hand.
Debriefing was done while the pilots aircraft was being
service. Because there was always a good possibility of an air-
raid, we didn't leave the vicinity of our airplanes.
AVG pilots hardly ever landed at the same time as RAF pilots,
because one or the other (AVG or RAF) would fly top cover until the
flight that had landed was serviced and ready to go.
It would have been a physical impossibility for the two pilots
to get together and transfer information between them, for either
to be able to fill out a comprehensive and intelligent combat
The debriefing officer asked a lot of questions and took
copious note concerning each claim. A report contained all of the
details of the combat, concerning the Japanese airplane the pilot
Where the combat took place, when it took place, what type of
Japanese aircraft was involved, what altitude and approximate
location position, and type of gunnery pass duration of burst etc.
We were debriefed by AVG intelligence section, which in turn
was turned over to AVG headquarters...The British, to British
intelligence. How the Hell does the historian think the
arrangement of transferring kills could possibly have occurred.
Does he think the scenario went something like this:
1st RAF pilot to 2nd RAF pilot. "I know how we can make a quick
500 bucks. We'll sell our 4 victories to the Yanks. They are
getting 500 for each Jap aircraft destroyed."
2nd RAF pilot to 1st RAF. "Hell yes. I'm not interesting in
become a bloody Ace, why not. Having agreed, they decided to put
their scheme to work. The two RAF pilot walk over to the AVG tent.
(at least one mile away.) As they neared the AVG tent, they heard
loud voices coming from inside. Because every one was talking
excitedly about the day's combat. To be heard as they entered, the
RAF pilots had to speak in a loud voice, saying, "any of you Yanks
interested in buy 4 kills. We will give you a bargain, 250 buck
each." Two of the AVG pilots spoke up saying, "Does a bear s--- in
the woods? Hell Yes, we'll take them." (For the readers
information, the 500 dollar bonus at this time was only a _rumor_.)
Now, having concluded their deal the AVG pilots had to go to
their debriefing officer the next day, to correct their combat
report. As they approached, one AVG pilot said, "We're sorry, but
yesterday in the excitement, we both forgot to mention another 2
Sallys each of us shot down. I'd like to make an amended combat
report." Of course the debriefing officer had to be clued in on
the deal, and the AVG pilots had to split there 500 remaining with
him, reducing their take to 250.
The next day the 2 RAF pilots, having to amend their combat
report as well, went to their debriefing officer and said. "I'm
sorry Joe, but we both made a mistake in our claims yesterday. You
will have to reduce our victories by 4 Jap bombers. I wonder if
they had to split their ill gotten gains with their debriefing
officer, as did the Yanks?
PS. I'd be willing to bet a couple thousand, that you could not
find one fighter pilot that would trade one kill for 500 buck. Even
if a trade was possible.