Robert Scott Obituary (23d Fighter Group)

Brigadier General Robert L. Scott, Jr. USAF, (Ret.) -WARNER ROBINS - Brigadier General Robert L. Scott, Jr., 97, passed away on Monday, February 27, 2006 at Southern Heritage Personal Care Home. A memorial service will be held at 2P.M., Friday, March 3, 2006 at Southside Baptist Church. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.

Known to his friends and family as "Scotty," the retired general lived his final two decades as the champion and cheerleader of the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins. He worked tirelessly to promote the educational value of the Museum and was responsible for raising millions of dollars for Museum development.

Born on April 12, 1908, Scott grew up in Macon, Georgia. He was a graduate Lanier High School and The United States Military Academy at West Point. He amassed over 42,000 flying hours in sixty years in a variety of aircraft ranging from the P-12 to the F-100 - a record which few pilots have ever reached. Official Army Air Force records credit him with thirteen aerial victories in his Curtiss P-40, but according to Scott it was really twenty-two, making him one of the top Air Force "Aces" of World War II.

His famous book "God Is My Co-Pilot" was a long-standing best seller and still sells thousands of copies today. He served as technical advisor to Warner Brothers in making a movie based on the book. The World Premiere was at the Grand Theater in Macon, Georgia in 1945.

In 1986, Scott came to Warner Robins for the unveiling of an exhibit of his memorabilia at the Museum of Aviation. He was asked to stay and the next year moved to Warner Robins to become the head of the Heritage of Eagle Campaign, which ultimately raised $2.5 million to build a 3-story Eagle Building at the Museum.

In 1988, Scott released his autobiography entitled "The Day I Owned the Sky." That year, at age 82, he was cleared to fly in an Air National Guard F-15 Eagle out of Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta Georgia. Two years later, he again flew the Eagle -this time at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia. On April 2, 1997, in celebration of his 89th Birthday, Scott flew his last flight in a B-1 bomber assigned to the 116th Bomb Wing at Robins Air Force Base.

John Alison Obituary (23d Fighter Group / 1st Air Commando Group)

Ret. Maj. Gen. John R. Alison, a highly decorated World War II combat ace, Korean War veteran, and lifetime airpower advocate, died Monday, June 6, 2011, at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 98. "General Alison was a superb airman and an Air Force legend," said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. "The incredible life he led remains a source of tremendous inspiration, and we are grateful for his enduring legacy of leadership, service, and patriotism." A native of Micanopy, Fla., Alison entered the Army Air Corps after graduating college in 1936. He served on active duty and later in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement in 1972. During World War II, he achieved six official aerial victories while flying with, and commanding, the 75th Fighter Squadron, part of the famed "Flying Tigers," in the China-Burma-India theater. He later became co-commander of the newly formed 1st Air Commando Group that fought behind Japanese lines in Burma. He became known as the father of Air Force special operations. He returned to service during the Korean War. Alison served as AFA's President from 1954 to 1955 and as AFA's Chairman of the Board from 1955 to 1956. He remained engaged in AFA and in mentoring air commandos throughout his later years. Alison was inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame, National Aviation Hall of Fame, and last year became the first inductee into US Special Operations Command's Commando Hall of Honor. He was a founding Member of the Air Force Memorial Foundation.

David Lee "Tex" Hill Obituary (23d Fighter Group)

WWII fighter ace 'Tex' Hill dies at 92

Web Posted: 10/11/2007 07:29 PM CDT

By Carmina Danini and Sig Christenson

Retired Air National Guard Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex" Hill, a renowned leader of the Flying Tigers, a small volunteer force recruited to defend China in the early years of World War II, died Thursday afternoon at his home in Terrell Hills.

Hill, 92, died of congestive heart failure. His wife, Mazie, and his two surviving children, Shannon Schaupp and Loma Skinner, both of South Carolina, were at his bedside. Before he died, his wife told him, "You're free to go."

"Daddy made a safe landing at 5 o'clock," said Shannon Schaupp, who is 58.

Services have not been set, but Hill will be buried next week at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

"We're going to miss him a lot, and he's definitely in a better place now," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Reagan Schaupp, Hill's grandson. "He was a hero to us and certainly to a lot of people."

Hill was "a giant figure in heroic aviation," said T.R. Fehrenbach, author of "This Kind of War," a history of the Korean conflict. "We don't have heroes in aviation anymore. We don't have people who fly by the seat of their pants in rickety airplanes. They go up in great machines that do much of the work."

Gov. Rick Perry, in a statement, called Hill a "genuine American hero and a Texan of the highest caliber. Whether he was flying from the decks of a carrier as a naval aviator, fighting with the legendary Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group, winning a Distinguished Service Cross, or commanding the first jet unit in the Army Air Forces, he always led from the front," Perry said.

Made up of volunteers flying obsolete planes half a world away, the Flying Tigers first tangled with Japanese pilots about two weeks after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, shooting down nine enemy planes and killing 63 airmen over Kunming. They had flown as U.S. military aviators until being secretly recruited to fight as mercenaries over China, which had no air force. The Flying Tigers came to Asia carrying passports that identified them as farmers, traders, vaudeville entertainers and missionaries. Some of the real missionaries on board their Java-bound ocean liner, the Bloemfontein, sang hymns each morning as the pilots slept off their hangovers. The pilots retaliated each night by playing swing music on a phonograph.

Hill's passport said he was a Texas rancher but the Japanese weren't fooled. Radio Tokyo reported that "American bandits" were off to China and vowed to sink the ship before they made landfall, according to the book "Tex' Hill: Flying Tiger," co-written by Hill and Schaupp, his grandson.

Tensions in the region were rising. The United States had cut off scrap iron and oil supplies to China and moved many of its ships from the mainland to Hawaii - an act Fehrenbach said was meant to warn off Japan but was interpreted in Tokyo as a step toward war. When the conflict finally came and allied forces fell throughout the Pacific, the Flying Tigers quickly emerged as one of the few good news stories, Tex Hill among America's first heroes of the war.

"They were the only air units of the Allies, British, Dutch or Americans who came out ahead against the Japanese air force on almost every occasion they met," said Daniel Ford, author of "Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942."

"It was a legend that people could hold on to ... that and the Doolittle raid on Tokyo were bright spots in a very dark time."

More importantly, Ford said in his book, the Flying Tigers "provided heroes at a time when we needed heroes as never before in our history, and never since."

Hill was a top-notch leader, said Don Lopez, who served in China under Hill and is deputy director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

"Tex is regarded all over the aviation community as one of the top fighter pilots and leaders in the world. He was a natural leader; everybody loved and admired him," Lopez said.

"He's been a role model for a whole lot of fighter pilots," said famed flier Chuck Yeager, a retired Air Force one-star general who was a flight student when he first met Hill. "He was in the right place and the right time, and also was able to take advantage of the situation."

A humble but direct and sometimes blunt man, Hill was the proverbial preacher's son who closed the bar, "and held (his liquor) better than anyone I've ever seen, too," laughed Schaupp. At home after his first combat tour in early 1943, he condemned a coal strike, saying, "I don't know if those strikers realize that their actions are costing lives out there. If I run into any of those guys, I'll probably get thrown in jail. I'd treat them like enemy agents."

Deeply loyal to his comrades in arms, Hill defied orders to make pilots fly who had logged more than 100 missions in China - and were dying in alarming numbers. He also held great affection for his ground crews, who worked long hours in difficult conditions - sometimes under fire - and often were forced to scrounge for spare parts.

In a few years, Hill logged more than 3,500 hours in the air, including 150 combat missions over Burma, Indochina and China. He was a Navy dive-bomber and torpedo plane pilot when recruited in early 1941 to join Claire Chennault's First American Volunteer Group.

Because America wasn't yet at war and the mission to keep China and the Burma Road safe from Japanese attack was covert, the volunteers had to resign their commissions and sign a contract with Central Aircraft Manufacturing Co. in China.

They came to China with a cover story. The Chinese government paid the AVG pilots to "maintain and fly the planes," Hill and Schaupp wrote in their book. Salaries ranged from $600 to $750 a month, higher than a Navy ensign, but there was an extra reward not mentioned in the contract: every pilot that shot down a plane or destroyed one on the ground would receive a $500 bonus from the Chinese.

Hill served as flight leader and then squadron leader of the 2nd Squadron, the Panda Bears, until the Flying Tigers were disbanded in July 1942. In seven months with the squadron, the young Texan, described by Ford as a "raw-boned, shambling dispenser of one-liners that could be side-splittingly funny," shot down a dozen enemy planes.

Flying a single-engine Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk fighter with a shark's mouth painted on the nose, Hill recorded his first aerial victory on Jan. 3, 1942, by shooting down two Japanese fighters over their base in Thailand.

"We went in string (in a line)," Hill told Air Force Magazine in 2002. "The first thing I knew was there were more than three of us in that pattern. Then this guy came in between me and Jim Howard and got on his tail. I pulled up behind him; I was so damn excited I didn't even think about looking at those damn gun sights. Just flew right up on his tail and hosed the tracers on to him. He just flat blew up."

Hill counted 33 bullet holes in his plane when he landed.

Less than two weeks later, he shot down two more planes. Later that same month, Hill's downing of another fighter and a bomber over Burma made him an ace - a flier with at least five victories in aerial combat.

Four pilots, including Hill, shared credit for the destruction of a Japanese reconnaissance plane that smashed into a canyon wall after all the American aircraft fired into it.

With 12.25 victories, Hill became the second highest-ranking ace in the Flying Tigers. They were the first Americans to defeat the Japanese after Pearl Harbor, and in time racked up a 15-to-1 kill ratio - a reflection of Chennault's decision to play to the strengths of his own planes and the weaknesses of his enemy.

"They had a very big impact on both American and Chinese morale," Fehrenbach said. "Up to the time they got there, the Japanese air force could just go bomb at will, anywhere. (The Flying Tigers) provided the Chinese with the only air force they had, and an effective one in the sector in which they operated."

Hill was one of only five pilots who volunteered to remain with Chennault in China and transfer to the U.S. Army Air Forces. He accepted a spot commission as major the day the Flying Tigers were officially disbanded on July 4, 1942.

"I changed hats that day and went right back to work with the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group," Hill said.

The 75th was known as the Flying Tiger Sharks. Hill, its first squadron commander, became "Shark One.'' Returning to the United States in late 1942, he was given command of the Proving Ground Group at Eglin Field in Florida's Panhandle. Two weeks after taking the job, Hill flew a P-40 to Victoria to see his parents. While his brother, Sam, gave a sermon at First Presbyterian Church, he noticed Mazie Sale sitting across from him.

"I have to meet that girl!" he told his brother that night.

Sale had read of Hill's exploits in Time magazine and had the same reaction upon meeting him at her home. "If he asked me to marry him right now," she thought, "I'd say yes."

She was the only girl he dated in a whirlwind courtship. Thirteen days later they were married in the same church, Hill's father and brother officiating.

"Marrying you is the one thing I have never regretted," Hill wrote in the dedication of his biography. "You are the true wings on this Tiger."

Heeding a request from Chennault, Hill returned to China in October 1943 to lead the 23rd Fighter Group. Before he returned to the United States, he scored six more aerial victories, becoming a triple ace with 18.25 confirmed kills. Home again in 1944, he was named to command the 412th Fighter Group, the U.S. Army Air Forces' first operational jet fighter group.

Hill left active duty in 1946 and took up ranching in Mountain Home. But at the behest of Gov. Coke Stevenson, Hill joined the newly formed Texas Air National Guard and assumed command of the 58th Fighter Wing.

At 31, he was the youngest one-star general in the Guard's history. In 1947, he resigned his commission to travel to Africa to trap gorillas for the 1949 movie "Mighty Joe Young."

Hill met actor John Wayne on a visit to Hollywood around that time. Wayne told Hill he'd based his character in the 1942 movie "The Flying Tigers" on him.

The Duke paid a high compliment to Hill, who became a lifelong buddy, making occasional hunting, fishing and golf expeditions with him in California.

"He was the most real person he had ever known in his life,'" Mazie Hill, 81, quoted Wayne as saying. Hill worked on other ventures, from the oil business in South Texas to mineral mining in Mexico and as a business consultant in the Far East. But he is best remembered as a steely eyed fighter pilot at war. In a recent conversation, the Air Force's chief of staff, Gen. T. "Buzz" Michael Moseley said, "Tex Hill has forgotten more about leadership and what's important than most of us will ever know."

In two combat tours in China, Hill received more than 20 medals. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross. The Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, was given to Hill at a ceremony in San Antonio in 2002. He has been inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and the American Combat Airmen Hall of Fame.

The youngest of four children of missionary parents, the Rev. Pierre Bernard Hill, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife Ella, "Tex" Hill was born in Kwangju, Korea, on July 13, 1915. They returned to the United States in 1916, settling in Virginia for a while, and then moved to Louisville, Ky., where Pierre Hill hoped to work.

Offered the post of pastor at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, the city's oldest Protestant church, in 1921, the Hill family moved again.

In the Alamo City, Pierre Hill grew the congregation, established several satellite churches and became chaplain for the Texas Rangers. He later became the subject of his own biography, "For God and Texas," and launched a radio show as well before dying in 1958.

"His radio ministry on WOAI ran for decades," said Schaupp.

The family lived in a spacious house on West Woodlawn Avenue. David Hill attended Travis Elementary School and San Antonio Academy.

One Sunday, young David Hill and a friend sneaked out of church, hopped a ride to Winburn Field and asked the pilot of a biplane for a "spin around the field." All that as his father, the pastor, preached a sermon.

The fall after he graduated from San Antonio Academy, Hill enrolled in the McCallie School, near Chattanooga, Tenn.

It was there that schoolmates began calling him "Tex."

Hill did not return to Tennessee the following year. Instead he attended Main Avenue and Jefferson high schools in San Antonio. Schaupp said he didn't know why he did not return to the private school, but noted that the year he remained in the Alamo City was one of the darkest of the Great Depression. After a year, Hill returned to McCallie, took up boxing and won the Tennessee Middleweight Championship in 1934, his senior year. A year at Texas A&M didn't turn out as he thought, so Hill transferred to Austin College in Sherman.

Bent on a military career, Hill took a battery of tests in the spring of 1938 at Randolph Field for the Army Air Corps.

Afterward, he learned he had failed to qualify.

Hill never learned why but it didn't matter because he tried for the Navy's aviation program and passed. His service included a torpedo squadron on the USS Saratoga and a dive-bomber squadron on the USS Ranger before he joined the Flying Tigers.

Hill would not only make his mark on the early history of the war but on other fliers as well. Yeager still can't forget the day Hill visited his Nevada air base. A young flight officer who would became a double ace in Europe and break the sound barrier in 1947, he and the other cadets were amazed and inspired as Hill talked of dogfights with the Japanese over China.

"When he came up and visited our squadron we were in training," said Yeager, 84, of Penn Valley, Calif. "What we said was, "'This guy has shot down airplanes. He's Jesus Christ.'"

Chuck Older Obituary (3d Pursuit Sq / 23d Fighter Gp)

Ray Crowell Article (118th Tactical Recon. Sq / 23d Fighter Gp)

Robert Seedlock Obituary (Burma Road Engineer)

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