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Claire Chennault

Maj. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 - July 27, 1958) was a United States aviator famous for commanding the "Flying Tigers" fighter group during World War II. Chennault's three squadrons of Chinese and American volunteer pilots used tactics of "defensive pursuit" to guard the Burma Road and other strategic locations in Southeast Asia and western China against Japanese forces.

The Flying Tigers were formally incorporated into the U.S. Army in 1942. Chennault retired in 1945 shortly before the Allied victory in the Pacific. He returned to China as an adviser to its air force.

Chennault advocated international support for Asian anti-communist movements, including the resistance to the Communist uprising led by Mao Tse-Tung; he assisted the besieged French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. His Flying Tigers later evolved into the "Air America" group supporting various covert missions in Cold War Asia. He died in 1958 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and is further commemorated by a statue in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.

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