One of the last “Flying Tigers” from the famous World War II air squadron has died.
Maj. Richard Sherman, who flew 52 missions during the war, died on Jan. 9 at the Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Monore, La., according to the Army Times. Sherman was 96.
Sherman flew in the 11th Bomb Squadron of the Army’s 14th Air Force, which was commanded by Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault.
The group was nicknamed the Flying Tigers, which was the name of the volunteer fighter group that Chennault assembled to defend nationalist China against Japan before the U.S. entered the war.
Chennault's granddaughter, Nell Calloway, told the Army Times that Sherman also was a founder of the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe.
Calloway told the Army Times that only one volunteer Flying Tiger is still alive.
According to myarklamiss.com, a Monroe-based news site, Sherman trained as a bombardier and navigator for B-25 bombers and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
Chennault was born on Sept. 6, 1890, at 1509 Monroe Street in Commerce, just west of downtown and just north of the current campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce. The house where Chennault was born still stands and is marked by a Texas State Historical Marker in English, which was placed there in 1968, and by one in Chinese, the only such marker in Texas, placed at the site in 2015.
Chennault organized and commanded the famous Flying Tigers American Volunteer Group of the China–Burma–India theater in WWII. An outstanding air strategist, Chennault had retired from a pioneer flying career when, in 1937, he was asked by Gen. Chaing Kai-Shek to help China develop an air force to combat raids by Japan.
The heroic actions of Chennault and the Flying Tigers are believed to have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chinese during the Japanese invasion of China.