flying tigers

Lenz, Megan

The Flying Tigers were a three-squadron force of fighter pilots who fought alongside the Chinese during World War II. They were officially labeled as an American Volunteer Group, but are now recognized as a mercenary group. In early 1941, before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt allowed the organization of this group by former US Military officer Claire Chennault. Recruitment of these soldiers was done quietly and discretely from the US Army Air Force. Comparing the salaries of the two groups, soldiers of this new-founded mercenary group made an extra $500 a month with a possible bonus of $500 for each Japanese aircraft they brought down. These pilots were considered to be contracted pilots, qualifying them as mercenary soldiers. Before the American entrance into World War II, these pilots trained in Burma. They were tasked to work with the Chinese Air Force and help protect their people and supplies from Japanese fighter planes.

The recruitment of this group was done under presidential authority, but nonetheless is a mercenary group. The participants of this group made around 3 times what US soldiers made, but with increased salary came increased danger. The members of this group were expected to be proficient in their respective jobs, but also to be covert when around people not in the Flying Tigers. This changed the dynamic of military work during this world war, because of the contracted flying squadrons. These fighters had more monetary motivation to bring down enemy combatants, and due to their extensive training, were typically better at it, thus making them more effective in achieving their goals. The private recruitment of this group drew attention from other military members, who arguably strived to be better in hopes of being recruited for the same position. Mercenary groups are not completely connected to their country of origin, which gave the fighters more freedom to fight in a more violent way, which may or may not have been a large help in the war. The American Government could also not be tied to this group, and not be charged of war crimes if anything were to incriminate this mercenary group. Ultimately, the concept of mercenary groups allows for more freedom of fighting which can result in a war ending in a more timely fashion, shown in the case of World War II.