The Chinese-American Composite Wing

The Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW) composed of two fighter groups and a bomber group, namely the 1st, the 3rd, and the 5th groups; hence the name Composite Wing. Each group was divided into four squadrons. It is generally accepted that the Composite Wing was established due to the recommendation of Major General Claire L. Chennault.

From 1941 to 1942, Chennault led the American Volunteer Group (AVG), popularly known as the Flying Tigers, to fight the Japanese over Burma and China. In the summer of 1942, the AVG was dissolved and replaced by the China Air Task Force (CATF). In July 1943, after the CATF was dispersed, Chennault took charge of the US 14th Air Force, which was formed in a rush due to the need of China-India-Burma Theater. In the beginning, manpower and materiel were both far short of its intended goal.

Reinforcement was slow to come and the war situation there forced Chennault to draft his fliers and other manpower from the China Air Force. The Composite Wing was thus formed in October 1943. The draftees received their short-term training in Karachi, India (now in Pakistan) and then flew their planes provided by the US back to Kunming, China. To expand drafting, the Chinese Government also launched a huge campaign to recruit college students for the air force. These new entrants were sent to America for training after a basic course in Yibin, China. They received instructions at Williams Field, Luke Field and Thunderbird Field near Phoenix, Arizona for almost a full year and returned to China after graduation to join the CACW . The CACW eventually became a major force in the air and won numerous battles against the Japanese.

The backbone of the Composite Wing consisted mainly of Chinese fliers. But a great number of American pilots were sent to China. They fought the Japanese wing to wing with their Chinese colleage. There were American and Chinese commanders at every commanding level of the CACW. The closely meshing of the US and Chinese fliers in this unique fighting force in the air also reflected the excellent cooperation between the two countries for the purpose of defeating the Axis.

The surviving members of the Composite Wing now live in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China. The Society has interviewed George Ma, Roland Hsu, Kuang-fu Wang, Fred Chiao, Joseph Mao, Chen-hai Ku and Andy Fan in the US, Kung-chuan Hsia, Wei Yu, Hua-chiang Hsu, Sung-gin Wang in Taiwan as well as Qiyao Wu and Shouqi Shu (interpreter) in Mainland China. We intend to interview more fliers of the Composite Wing, particularly the American fliers. We also hope that these interviews would soon result in a book honoring these brave heroes.

Interviewees:
  1. George Ma, graduate of the China Air Force Academy (1944), trained in US, was a member of the 5th Fighter Group of the CACW
    George Ma George Ma

  2. Roland Hsu, graduate of the China Air Force Academy (1944), trained in US, was a member of the 5th Fighter Group
    Roland Hsu Roland Hsu

  3. Kuang-fu Wang, graduate of the China Air Force Academy (1939), was a member of the 3rd Fighter Group
    KF Wang KF Wang

  4. Fred Chiao, graduate of the China Air Force Academy (1940), was a member of the 5th Fighter Group
    Fred Chao Fred Chao

  5. Joseph Mao, graduate of the China Air Force Academy (1941), trained in US, was a member of the 3rd Fighter Group
    Joseph Mao Joseph Mao

  6. Milton Miller, bombardier and photo-grapher
    Milton Miller

  7. Robert Hotz, Headquarters/14th Air Force.
    Robert Hotz

  8. Hua-chiang Hsu was the leader of the 7th Squadron, the 3rd Fighter Group
    Hsu hsu



The Air Service Group

US airmen in China obviously faced serious language problems. Gen. Chennault then requested Washington to recruit a group of Chinese American to support US armed forces in the CBI. Coincidently the 5th Air Service Command at Patterson Field, Ohio was already formed at the initiative of Mr. Sing Yung Yee. This group of 20 ethnic Chinese were highly trained radio communication technicians. By special arrangement of the War Department, they were then transferred to the 14th Air Service Group. The Group was then greatly expanded. After a few months’ training, the Air Service Squadron, Signal Company, Ordnance Company and other units were sent to China in January 1944. Upon their return in 1945, many of them went to college under the GI Bill. Others entered government service and turned a new page in the history of the Chinese immigrants in this country.

We have interviewed veterans of the Air Service Group in New York, Houston and San Francisco.

Interviewees:
  1. John Ong
    John Ong John Ong

  2. Richard Gee
    Richard Gee

  3. Henry Y. Mar
    Henry Y. Mar Henry Y. Mar

  4. James Jay
    James Jay James Jay