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the Wanderling

"Learning that the superstitious Japanese feared sharks, the ingenious Yanks painted the snout's of their P-40s to represent grinning heads of 'tiger sharks.' The A.V.G. pilots called themselves 'Tiger Sharks' but it was not long before the admiring Chinese troops changed it to 'Flying Tigers' the tiger being regarded as a minor deity in some sections of China."

WAR HEROES, No. 2 October-December 1942

The venerable World War II fighting machine, the P-40, given such a high priority of importance in my writings, like most things in a person's life, is sort of broad-based. That broad base, like a spiraling vortex, eventually funnels down to one or two things. The most important, or at least the one that seems to stand out the most in my life is, that from a very young age onward I just liked P-40s, and liked them because of an early infatuation with Flying Tigers.

For me the glowing reports of the P-40 wielding Flying Tigers successes against the Japanese in China was like a beacon of shining light. The quote at the top of the page laying out the legend of the Flying Tigers comes from WAR HEROES, No. 2 October-December 1942 and was typical, along with a battery of childhood heroes such as Captain Midnight, of the small glimmer of light that was beginning to shine from that aforementioned "beacon of shinning light" and finally giving the American people a ray of hope toward the end of 1942. Erik Shilling (1916 - 2002), a former pilot with the Flying Tigers, who wrote the following, pretty much sums up my feelings:

"Although the allied world was crumbling, the unparalleled success of the Flying Tigers over the Japanese was an answer to fervent prayers of the free world. This taste of victory against Japan was a light at the end of a long dark tunnel, and a ray of hope in face of the disasters befalling the allies throughout the rest of the world. Our successes against unbelievable odds, left no doubt in the minds of the American people as to the eventual outcome of the war. Oddly enough we were flying a fighter plane the British didn't want, and by U.S. Army Air Corps standards, was considered obsolete, yet we were making aviation history with the Curtiss P-40."

FEI WEING: Birth of the Flying Tigers

Because of it all I loved the "all plane plane" sleekness and look of the P-40, especially so when the nose was endowed with the almost comic book like fierce looking eyes and red with white razor sharp teeth of a tiger shark. What could be better? So too, as a young boy I bought into the legend circulating at the time that the Japanese feared the tiger shark and just the sight of the P-40s was so intimidating that the Japanese pilots would lose their edge in battle. Although that aspect of the legend is far from substantiated, the kill ratio has a tendency to support such a belief.[1]

As a young boy growing up during the early throes of World War II, and for sure not old enough to have served in the military in any fashion until many years later, then it was a different war and a different time, I still, not unlike millions of other kids, both younger and older, served our country in a myriad of ways. Tin can drives, victory gardens, rationing. No gas or rubber tires. Cardboard toys. Having close friends my own age who I played with whose fathers, uncles, or brothers were fighting in the war, some lost, dying, or dead. Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Mothers, many sharing both.

From the very beginning of the war a groundswell of patriotism grew, supporting our troops ever onward with what little they had at the start while America's war machine was ever increasingly expanding with promises of being delivered eventually in full strength. Part of that groundswell of patriotism was being driven at the bottom by movie, radio, and comic book heroes trying to shine a light of hope during an otherwise dismal time.

I've cited many examples in my works of the era, and although totally minor in the overall scheme of things, added together they breathed hope with small drip-by-drips into the hearts and minds and souls of many of those at home and abroad. The illustrated contents of this page done in comic book style you will be reading in a few seconds is just one example of those attempts by people on the home front trying to buoy the spirits of an America caught in tough times. There were of course, many hundreds that could be cited, but what I've chosen here to exemplify is:

The original aircraft-based military unit that was formed and eventually became known as the Flying Tigers stemmed from an organization called the American Volunteer Group, or the A.V.G., given the name "Flying Tigers" basically by and through the press somewhat after the fact.

The A.V.G. wasn't an American military machine at all, but actually part of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese Air Force, put into place to counteract the Japanese invasion of China after the Japanese had all but decimated the Chinese Air Force as so aptly shown in the illustrated pages above. American air-veteran Gen. Claire L. Chennault was hand-picked by Chiang Kai-shek to reconstitute what was left of his air force. To do so Chennault needed pilots and planes to intercept and stop the Japanese heavy bombers that were devastating the whole of the country as well as eliminate their fighter escorts. Chennault was able to put his hands on nearly 100 brand new Curtiss Wright P-40s said to still be in crates redirected to China that had been designated for use by some other country and some other purpose. The thing is, once he had the planes he didn't have anybody capable or able to fly them.

A program was designed and put into place to hire experienced and trained American pilots, preferably on current active military duty, ensuring a certain already established set of standards in quality as well as falling within a certain age-group bracket and being physically fit. It was arranged so Army Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots could resign their commissions and after being hired by their employer of record, the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), a company that was initially established to teach the Chinese how to build airplanes, become members of the A.V.G. So too, when their contract was over they could return to their previous military positions without any adverse affect on their rank or stature, of which most of the remaining pilots who met that criteria did.


Top of the fourth panel above reads: "When the Japs attempted to raid Rangoon Dec 24th to 26th the
fearsome shark planes again gave them battle - score - 59 raiders shot down the rest driven off!"

Notice how the drawing in the fifth panel on the above page tagged "THE P-40'S PROVED THEY
- almost perfectly duplicates the
photo below from a 1942 issue of Life Magazine. Looks to me the cartoonist researched his work.

(PHOTO SOURCE: LIFE, VOL. 12, NO. 13, MARCH 30, 1942)

For those of us in America during the dawning days of World War II, from Pearl Harbor to Corregidor, the U.S. had nothing but a continuing series of major setbacks. On the homefront the setbacks, many of which I lived through and experienced personally, seemed for me as the young boy I was, just as serious:

Christmas day, December 25, 1941, practically within eyesight of my home in the California beach community where I lived, a Japanese submarine, the I-19, took up a position in the narrow channel between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland just off Point Fermin near San Pedro where my dad worked in the shipyards. Laying in wait at periscope depth in sight of the fully operational military installation of Fort MacArthur, without warning, the I-19 torpedoed the unarmed U.S. freighter SS Absaroka and after which, followed then by a nearly clean escape.(see)

Less than sixty days later, on February 23, 1942, some distance up the coast from where I lived, another Japanese submarine, the I-17, surfaced and attacked the U.S. mainland with cannon fire by shelling the Ellwood oil fields near the town of Goleta, 12 miles north of Santa Barbara. Approximately four months after that, on the nights of June 21-22, 1942, another submarine attack against U.S. soil occurred, only not in California, but Oregon. This time it was the I-25. She unleashed 17 rounds from her deck gun toward Fort Stevens, a military installation initially constructed to guard the mouth of the Columbia River.


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On September 9, 1942, taking advantage of a radar gap of over 400 miles that existed along the coast between Fort Bragg, California and Cape Perpetua, Oregon, the I-25 again, launched another attack, only this time from the air, hitting the Oregon forests with incendiary bombs. Twenty days later, on September 29th the I-25 repeats the attack with more incendiary bombs. Then, on October 4, 1942 a two-man Japanese Midget Submarine, apparently having been left off earlier by a mother ship in the Channel Islands off the coast of California, was sighted a mile or so straight off the Redondo Beach pier a few blocks from where I lived and bombed. Two days later it washed up on shore and said to have contained the bodies of two Japanese Naval officers. Between those homeland attacks, across the Pacific, on May 6, 1942 Corregidor fell. The first six months of the war from Pearl Harbor to the start of the summer of 1942, all up and down the U.S. Pacific coast from my house to Oregon, ships were being torpedoed, bombs being dropped and shells being fired, while across the oceans in far flung battlefields thousands of Americans were facing the full onslaught of a mighty foe in the air, on land, and the sea. Please visit:

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"My older brother found a copy of the Life magazine in the hospitality suite of the hotel and inside was a lengthy predominantly photographic article about the Flying Tigers. I didn't specifically know what the Flying Tigers were at the time, but I remember him running all around yelling to my dad, 'Flying Tigers, Flying Tigers,' then a big fuss made all over him and the article."

THE BOY AND HIS JEEP: Adventures In The Desert

Except possibly for the Life Magazine article linked higher back up the page about Flying Tigers and re-mentioned again in the above quote that my older brother showed me early on in the war when I was still a little kid, I remember perfectly my very first formal introduction to the Flying Tigers on an intellectual non-comic book reading level. It was barely a few years after the war. I was around 8 maybe 9 years old and for the very first time just met the woman who would eventually become my Stepmother. Before that first meeting with my soon to me stepmother I had run away from the home of a foster couple who owned a flower shop I had been placed with after my mother died. Without anybody of authority in the loop knowing it, on my own, I took up living with an ex-Marine taxi driver, staying with him, for the most part in his taxi cab for months and months. I was eventually located by my grandmother who had been searching for me since authorities from the school I attended contacted her saying I was basically missing. After being with my grandmother a short time the following happened, as found in the stepmother link above:

"(F)or unknown reasons, I was taken to live with my younger brother in a no sidewalk mostly dirt-street town near the Mexican border. After a passage of time, of which I don't remember how long, but looking back probably not much more than a week or two, several at the most, out of the blue and totally unannounced, my father showed up all dapper looking and handsome driving probably one of the very first brand-new post-war Pontiac Streamliner fastback sedans off the assembly line, telling my brother and me he wanted to take us to Los Angeles for a few days to meet someone. That someone turned out to be the person that would eventually become my stepmother."

While I was at my soon-to-be stepmother's waiting apprehensively to meet her for the first time I was glancing over the various books she had on the shelves that neatly covered a full wall. I notice a black faux-leather pebble grain book that looked all the same as a preacher's bible, except that it had a gilded gold eagle with a Nazi swastika embossed on the spine. Curious about the why of the swastika, I pulled the book off the shelf, which turned out be Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, and when I did the other books sort of leaned over closing the space it went into with one even falling to the floor that had sort of stuck to the faux-leather. Not sure how my soon-to-be stepmother would react if they were not put back in their right places I began moving books around on the shelf to make room and in the process a book caught my eye that just happened to be on Flying Tigers titled The Lady and the Tigers published in 1943. With that, I forgot all about my concern for stacking books in the right way and sat down immediately looking at the pictures then reading the Tiger book.

When my soon-to-be stepmother came into the room, being well aware of my penchant for running away, was all impressed that under my own initiative I was sitting there quietly reading. When she asked what book I was so engrossed in and I showed her, she said, "Oh, I know her, she lives just up on the other side of Sunset Boulevard."[2]

As I was leaving a few days later she gave me the book telling me I could take it with me but to just bring it back the next time we saw each other. Which is what I did. I absolutely loved the book. I learned about such places as Saigon, Hanoi, and Chiang Mai, all of which would eventually come to life later in my life. I had heard about General Joseph Stilwell and the Ledo and Burma Road before, but in Olga's book I was reading her take on them for the first time. Her take on the whole Indo-Chinese Southeast Asian milieu was like a word version of Terry and the Pirates only about the Flying Tigers written during the war at a time when nobody knew who was going to win or lose. The author pulls no punches, telling it like it was. When I went to live with my stepmother on a permanent basis for a few years, instead of leaving the book on the shelves where I first found it she let me keep it with me. During those years I read it many, many times.[3] [4]

Not only did my stepmother give me her copy of The Lady and the Tigers to take home, she also, at the same time, handed me a second book that I had shown a nearly equal interest in, a book that dealt heavily into the Curtis Wright P-40 as well, only just not aimed specifically toward the Flying Tigers.

The book was Damned to Glory written by the World War II P-40 double ace Col. Robert L Scott, Jr. After flying C-47s and B-17s Scott's fighter abilities first rose up associated with the Flying Tigers of the American Volunteer Group (A.V.G.), continuing on with them when they morphed over into the Army Air Force. I know when it comes to Damned to Glory I don't mention a whole lot about it throughout most of my works, always it seems going on and on about The Lady and the Tigers, but that's because most of what I write about when it comes to P-40s has to do with the Flying Tigers.[5]

In one of the footnotes or sub-footnotes further down the page I have provided a link to a free, complete PDF online version of the book The Lady and the Tigers as well as a click through link as an integral part of the cover graphic at the end of this paragraph. As can be seen from the graphic the author of the book is a woman by the name of Olga Greenlaw. By all measures by most who came across her or knew her, she was invariably considered exotic, beautiful, covertly cunning and provocatively ingenuous. For others who simply cast the smart-as-a-whip Olga Greenlaw's preeminent standing in the Flying Tigers as being based solely on her marriage to Colonel Harvey Greenlaw, the second in command of the Flying Tigers, they were usually in for a rude awakening. Even if such was the case initially, over time, because of who she was, the right person in the right place at the right time, it wasn't long before her being there took on a life of it's own.


For some reason reading came easy for me, learning to read at a very early age --- thanks to my older brother. He had three years on me when he was just learning to read in the 1st grade, and although I wasn't even near being in kindergarten --- let alone the 1st grade --- I was learning to read right along with him. By the time he reached the 3rd grade I was reading 3rd grade books as well as if not better than he was. During that learning period he had assigned school books and while I read some of those books, a good portion of my reading material stemmed from comic books.

A majority of those comic books were, at least in the early stages, published during World War II and much of their content reflected that. Since I lived right on the coast of a southern California beach town that was constantly being harassed by Japanese submarines and with me experiencing if not real, practice air raids and blackouts on a regular basis, the war in the Pacific took on a real life significance --- including me gaining a high standing regard for the Flying Tigers, a high regard that still stands today. Like I say at the top of the page the glowing reports of the P-40 wielding Flying Tigers successes against the Japanese in China was like a beacon of shining light.

So said, not all the engagements between the Flying Tigers and the enemy ended in the Tigers' favor, and a lot of the time the ones that didn't were not always trumpeted on a massive scale. On January 23, 1942, almost one month to the day before the February 25, 1942 flyover of Los Angeles mentioned previously, an American named Bert Christman was killed in action over Rangoon, Burma. Christman was a cartoonist well known for the national syndicated comic strip Scorchy Smith, a mid-1930's strip having similarities both in style and execution as Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates, often taking place in China with warlords and stuff. Christman left his cartooning duties, joined the U.S. Navy, became an air cadet and served on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. He resigned his commission volunteering to became a pilot for the Flying Tigers --- all before the start of World War II.

After my stepmother loaned me her copy of "The Lady and the Tigers" I read it over-and-over, almost becoming a bible or handbook on the Flying Tigers for most of my formative years. However, much to my dismay in later years, in Olga's book unfortunately, she mentions Christman only twice, both times in a brief few word sentence and neither time using his first name, only initials. The thing is he died a horrific death in the line of duty flying for the Tigers and I didn't learn about his death and how until years later, especially so, he being a cartoonist and all. Christman had his P-40 basically shot out from under him over Rangoon right in the middle of a serious dog fight with the Japanese, and on the way down, still in the air and in his chute, they machined gunned him to death, killing him dead bigger than shit:

"On Friday, January 23, 1942, 72 Japanese aircraft attacked Rangoon. Christman was one of the 18 planes that were launched to intercept them. He would never return. Christman's plane had come under fire and been hit in the engine. He was forced to bail out once more. This time, however, as he hung in his parachute and descended to the ground, a Japanese pilot strafed him. Bert was hit in several places and probably died as a bullet passed through the back of his neck. He was buried the next day at the church of Edward The Martyr in Rangoon. His remains were returned to Fort Collins after the war, where he was laid to rest on Saturday, February 4, 1950."

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There was another pilot Greenlaw wrote about I remember quite well, but for more positive reasons. First, unlike how I feel about how she dealt with Christman, I like what she wrote about the second pilot, and secondly, many years after the war, thanks to what she wrote, I actually met him. His name was William McGarry, a Flying Tigers pilot who had eight confirmed kills under his belt before he was shot down during a raid over Chiang Mai, Thailand. After bailing out he was captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war until he escaped.[6]


Legend or no, for me and for legions of others like me, from my early years on, just like as found in WAR HEROS, No. 2 above, the 'grinning heads of tiger sharks' were prominently displayed on the noses of the A.V.G. P-40s because the superstitious Japanese feared sharks.

In his book Way of a Fighter (1949), head of the Flying Tigers, Claire L. Chennault, gives his version of how snarling teeth look of the A.V.G. fighter planes came into being as found on page 135:

"Before I left the United States in the summer of 1941, I asked a few friends in Louisiana to watch the newspapers and send me any clippings about the A.V.G. Now I was being swamped with clippings from stateside newspapers, and my men were astonished to find themselves world famous as the Flying Tigers. The insignia we made famous was by no means original with the A.V.G. Our pilots copied the shark-tooth design on their P-40's noses from a colored illustration in the India Illustrated Weekly depicting an R.A.F. squadron in the Libyan Desert with shark-nose P-40's. Even before that the German Air Force painted shark's teeth on some of its Messerschmitt 210 fighters. With the pointed nose of a liquid cooled engine it was an apt and fearsome design. How the term Flying Tigers was derived from the shark-nosed P-40's I never will know. At any rate we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves billed under that name. It was not until just before the A.V.G. was disbanded that we had any kind of group insignia. At the request of the China Defense Supplies in Washington, the Walt Disney organization in Hollywood designed our insignia consisting of a winged tiger flying through a large V for victory."(source)

There are a number of other stories, each in their own way vying for credibility as the one and only story. The two strongest, if you discount Chennault, although similar in some respects to Chennault's, vary enough to stand on their own as their own versions, although as I see it they either divided Chennault's version or he combined the two. One version claims that the design came exclusively from the first Tomahawk-equipped Royal Air Force (RAF) Desert Air Force squadron that used the shark tooth insignia on their P-40s. The second version comes from Eriksen E. Shilling, one of the first U.S. Army Air Corps pilots to sign up with the A.V.G. He is said to have found a photo of a Messerschmitt 110 with a shark face on it in a British magazine. Using the photo he marked out s similar design on the nose of a P-40 with chalk to see how it looked, and then showed it to Chennault.

Olga Greenlaw, who was with the A.V.G. from the very beginning, her husband Harvey Greenlaw being the second in command under Chennault and who shows up prominently in a footnote further down the page, in an internet page outlining her life and carrying the same title as her book The Lady and the Tigers, recalls another version that sort of combines the two above, but still with enough spin in it to be a different take. On page 61 of her book she writes:

"In an English magazine Erik Shilling saw a picture of a shark tooth painted P-40 which belonged to some R.A.F. outfit in the Middle East. He showed it to Harvey (her husband). All the boys liked the idea so it was tried on a few planes and then all of them. Whether it had any psychological effect on the Japs I don't know --- nor I think anybody else does."

Even though Chennault says above he'll never know how the term Flying Tigers was derived from the shark-nosed P-40's, I kind of go with the quote below that is found on the fifth page above, second row first panel, which taken as it is, pretty much answers Chennault's query or concerns. It is backed up almost verbatim by what shows up in the last panel of the last page of FEI WEING: Birth of the Flying Tigers where it says the Chinese gave the A.V.G. the greatest praise in their language by naming the intrepid airmen "Fei Weing" --- or, Flying Tigers! That and the quote below makes it kind of hard to get around:

"Learning that the superstitious Japanese feared sharks, the ingenious Yanks painted the snout's of their P-40s to represent grinning heads of 'tiger sharks.' The A.V.G. pilots called themselves 'Tiger Sharks' but it was not long before the admiring Chinese troops changed it to 'Flying Tigers' the tiger being regarded as a minor deity in some sections of China."

Personally, I still go for the legend. See:


The photo below showing several men dressed in khaki military-like garb sitting in a jeep in front of a Flying Tiger adorned P-40 is from the article mentioned above as being published in Life Magazine dated March 30, 1942, Vol. 12, No. 13. I cite the same article and use the photo as the opening graphic at the top of the page for THE BOY AND HIS JEEP: Adventures In The Desert. It just so happens the man sitting on the shotgun side is one Jack Newkirk, known as Scarsdale Jack, a top ace for the American Volunteer Group, or the A.V.G. as the Flying Tigers were so officially designated. Newkirk was killed in action. The following quote is found in the Jack Newkirk link below. Notice the cover date of the Life magazine and the date below regarding Newkirk:

"On March 24, 1942 two groups of A.V.G. pilots, one from the 1st Squadron and another composed of pilots of the 2nd Squadron, took off toward Chiang Mai with a plan for one group to hit the Japanese held Chiang Mai airfield while the other group was to attack a smaller field at Lampang. Jack Newkirk's group flew south looking for Japanese aircraft at Lampang and finding it empty began hitting nearby targets of opportunity. Although there is some dispute as to what actually happened, it is said Newkirk, while coming in low began strafing a column of Japanese armored vehicles and was hit by groundfire. His P-40, in a possible attempt at a hard landing hit the ground at a high rate of speed, ripping off a wing. All reports indicate he was killed instantly."


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As for Olga, if you haven't gone to the previous footnote or links regarding her or have been unable to determine or figure out if she was a hero in all of the goings on of the Flying Tigers or only used them to maximize on her proclivities please click the following image:

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While Claire Chennault and his men were waging real life battles against the Japanese in the air over China and Burma with their P-40 Flying Tigers, "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell was doing the best he could in the malaria ridden jungles of Southeast Asia with his outnumbered and ill-equipped ground troops against the more powerfully equipped Japanese forces. Back at home, in the United States, a groundswell of patriotism was urging them ever onward with what little they had while America's war machine was ever increasingly expanding with promises of being delivered eventually in full strength. Part of that groundswell of patriotism was being driven at the bottom by movie, radio, and comic book heroes trying to shine a light of hope during an otherwise dismal time. I've cited many examples in my works of the era, and although totally minor in the overall scheme of things, added together they breathed hope with small drip-by-drips into the hearts and minds and souls of many of those at home and abroad. The illustrated contents of this page done in comic book style you are reading right now is just one example of those attempts by people on the home front trying to buoy the spirits of an America caught in tough times. There were of course, many hundreds that could be cited, but two of which I've chosen to exemplify find the heroes, both females, switched from their usual habitat in Europe fighting Germans to fighting Japanese in Asia, more specifically connecting up with the Flying Tigers in the air over and in Burma and China. They would be the red haired firebrand Jane Martin, War Nurse and the more demure, albeit girl commando, Pat Parker, War Nurse.






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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.


On the day between the 24th to the 26th period of raids against Rangoon as shown on the illustrated page below, found the quiet December 25th Christmas dinner for the pilots and ground crews of the Flying Tigers interrupted by the Japanese throwing a slew of 63 bombers escorted by 25 fighters against them. Almost immediately the Flying Tigers were able to scramble 14 P-40s into the air, with the battle ending that day by the A.V.G. having shot down a combination of 35 bombers and fighters with a loss of only five P-40s.

As found in the main text above, on that exact same day, Christmas day, December 25, 1941, a half a world away from Rangoon but practically on top of my home in Redondo Beach, California, a long range aircraft equipped Japanese submarine, the I-19, took up a position in the narrow channel between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland just off Point Fermin near San Pedro. Laying in wait at periscope depth in sight of the fully operational military installation of Fort MacArthur, without warning, the I-19 unleashed her torpedoes against the unarmed U.S. freighter SS Absaroka. The Absaroka settled up to her main deck within minutes and abandoned. Shortly thereafter the crew reboarded her and a Navy tug towed her to a strip of sand below Fort MacArthur and beached.

The I-19 went on to kill again before its actual overall ultimate demise on November 25, 1943. It is officially recorded as racking up considerable damage and sinking of a number of other vessels prior to that demise --- and not just unarmed freighters either. For example, on September 15, 1942, the I-19 fired a half dozen torpedoes at the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, two of which hit and sank her. The remainder of the four torpedoes hit and damaged the battleship USS North Carolina as well as the destroyer USS O'Brien which sank later.

(for the full Rangoon attack story please click the image)


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As for any bombing attack involving the Flying Tigers against Hanoi and the use of Russian made bombers, or any kind of bomber or bombers in 1942 or any other time goes pretty much otherwise unheralded and/or is ambiguous at best. So too, nowhere in the records does it indicate that Chennault, as the head of the Flying Tigers, was the recipient of Tupolev TB-3s as so depicted in the above illustrated story or any other kind of bomber in any amount, count, or number. However, that is not to say the Flying Tigers were not complicit in some fashion. See:


Footnote [1]

The very first time relative to my age I remember P-40s and make mention of that remembrance, shows up in a one time ongoing online debate between myself and a man by the name of C. Scott Littleton, now deceased. Littleton, who attended Pier Avenue School in Hermosa Beach at the same time I was there and grew up to be a highly regarded university professor, is considered by most historians, researchers and UFOlogists as the most credible, bottom line authority on the so-called Battle of Los Angeles, or as I sometimes call it to differentiate it between writers, the UFO Over L.A.. By either name it was a huge object of unknown origin and an unknown nature that overflew L.A. during the early stages of World War II and able to withstand round upon round of anti-aircraft shells and escape unharmed. The object flew right past Littleton's house on the Stand in Hermosa Beach before turning diagonally inland as it reached Redondo Beach and overflying my house. Littleton and I went back and forth for years as to who saw what and what we saw. In that he was a few years older than me he felt I was to young to recall what I did, hence what I said I saw wasn't as valid as what he saw. Each thing he would bring up knocking what I presented I would come back with some justification. The date of the overflight was February 25, 1942 and in regards to that overflight, in the milieu of it all, P-40s came up --- which means that as early as that overflight was in the overall scheme of things I was familiar with P-40s:

"What do I remember? Well, whatever it was, the object crossed right over the top of my house in Redondo Beach in the middle of the night. Also that it didn't look like a blimp like some people say, but more like an upside down shovel. Why would I remember that? Because in those days, like so many others, we had a Victory Garden in the backyard and I used to help my grandfather and mother maintain it. For that we had a number of garden tools, of which some were shovels. One of the shovels had a broken handle and my father removed what was left of the handle out of the sleeve portion that held it. The metal spade part looked so much like the object to me I used to run around holding it like a kid might do with a model airplane, mimicking the flight of the craft --- and when I did, the other kids that didn't see it that night, made fun of me. They had wood and cardboard toys of what would one day come to be my favorite fighter the P-40 Warhawk to do pretend battles with Zeros. I used an upside down shovel."(source)

Albert Nozaki was an Oscar nominated motion picture art director for his work designing the Martian war machines seen in the 1953 movie War of the Worlds. In 1942, in an open agriculture field some miles inland and southeastward from Redondo Beach, as a young man, Nozaki personally observed the fly over of the giant airborne craft of an unknown nature that has come to be known as the UFO Over Los Angeles. In an interview Nozaki said he incorporated some of the ominous-like aspects of the object he saw such as the curving down contours into his 'War of the Worlds' craft wanting to capture some of the fear he felt as the real-life dark object came toward him --- as though he was going to be clutched up by it. So too, how it mysteriously remained aloft, apparently with some sort of technology or power we did not have. In Wells' novel the machines were held upward by three robot like legs. In the movie he tried to make it seem they were being held off the ground and "walking" by three invisible force-field legs. That is why they appeared to tip to one side and fall over when they began crashing.



Footnote [2]

"Oh, I know her, she lives just up on the other side of Sunset Boulevard."

I remember well being a young boy reading The Lady and the Tigers for the first time and my stepmother telling me she knew Olga Greenlaw the author of the book. I was never privy to the full extent of any interactions the two of them may have had in those days and it was well into adulthood before my stepmother and I discussed her at any length. By then Olga had long since moved on and my stepmother, or ex-stepmother as the case may be, she and my father having long since divorced, had fallen on hard times. Except for owning and living on 88 acres of sparse Mojave desert land that rose up off the valley floor into even more sparse foothill-like mountain-desert land, she was indigent. In those years I would drop by to see her and leave a few bucks whenever I could. Each time with her always politely refusing, even though when I was a kid she had unselfishly and without question lavished thousands upon thousands of dollars on my brothers and me as we were growing up. In the end I always just put it in some indiscriminant spot on the table or some such place when it was time for me to leave.

The property she owned and lived on was overrun by goats, about 2000 she guessed, that she was supposedly raising for some Argentine goat buyer. He had unloaded several truckloads of goats in some sort of a deal with my stepmother and never came back. In the meantime they had pretty much gone about repropagating themselves ad infinitum. She herself lived in a small trailer crudely fenced off to keep the goats out. In the meantime the goats had just about eaten and destroyed almost anything and everything they could reach. The onetime property main house had been completely gutted, the goats having broken every window, knocked down every door and tore apart every piece of furniture, even eating most if not all of the electrical wiring.

When I would go see her, even though the gate was locked and I would honk the horn until she came down and opened it, because of the goats I always left my car on the outside of the fence and walked in.

Typically when I visited I would bring a few six packs of ice cold Lucky Lager beer and on hot summer evenings around sunset through moonrise and beyond we would kick back on what was left of the porch of the main house looking out over the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert stretching out below us and watching the ever turning slow grind of the circumpolar stars wending their endless track around the north star, drinking beers, laughing, crying, and BS'ing about the old days way into the early morning hours.(see)

One night in conversation it came up about the time that I, during the summer just before starting high school --- and barely into my teens --- packed up my stuff and ran away from the foster couple I was living with, ending up at my stepmother's ranch totally unannounced and out of the blue. She had made arrangements for me to get a part time after school and on the weekends job through a friend of hers who owned the Normandie Club, one of the few legitimate card clubs in the state. It was earnings from that job that I put together enough money to buy a Greyhound bus ticket to the high desert to find her.

In that she and my father had only just divorced, she wasn't really sure if he would go for the idea of me being there. Unable to reach him she contacted my dad's brother, my uncle, who said he was willing to take me until things could be worked out. In that my uncle lived in New Mexico and I was on my stepmother's ranch in the high desert of California and she felt time was at an essence, she arranged for me to be flown to Santa Fe. She had a pilot she knew fly into a close-by one-time, albeit long abandoned military airfield called Victory Field and pick me up. The pilot, a former P-47 Thunderbolt jockey was flying a two seat North American AT-6. It was the first time I had ever been off the ground and into the air in any kind of a World War II aircraft, so for me the trip to my uncle's was not only highly memorable, it was as well white-knuckle exciting.

From the experience of that trip across several states in an AT-6, thanks to my stepmother, for me it was just a short jump to start talking about P-40 Flying Tigers, in turn the book Lady and the Tigers, and thus then, Olga Greenlaw, 1-2-3. Although my stepmother was unable to remember whatever happened to the book, she said for years she couldn't see it without thinking of me. I told her I loved that book and Olga too, telling her in the early days I modeled almost every girl I ever liked on her.(see) My stepmother said she was a beautiful woman and almost every man that ever met her fell in love with her. She said Olga had a fairly tough time at first after her return from the Far East, saying even though she had a semi-success with her book initially so much was siphoned off the top by agents and others she barely saw any of the profits. My stepmother, rich, powerfully influential in certain circles and at the top of her game in those days, after reading Olga's book, because of how worldly and exquisite Olga was, among other things, in a round about way, even offered her a job, telling Olga she could make lots and lots of money in a very short period of time. But, my stepmother, apparently misjudging any long running easy going possible proclivities she mistakenly gleaned from Olga's book and the depth of need for money, she was turned down. Olga basically saying thanks but no thanks, she was adept enough on her own and didn't need my stepmother.

For more regarding any potential proclivities surrounding Olga Greenlaw with fellow cohorts or others --- real or imagined --- please see the following:


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One day on my way to see my stepmother I drove up to the gate and as usual honked the horn. After several repeated long blasts with no sign of any goats or my stepmother, a scraggly looking old guy with few if any teeth carrying a lever action 30-30 and accompanied by a just as scraggly looking old dog WITH a mouth full of teeth, came down out of the rocks to the gate asking me what the hell I wanted. I told him who I was and who I was looking for. He said, "She don't live her no more, she moved into town." Then cocking the rifle said, "Now, get the hell off'n my property before I fill you and that fancy car of yurn full of holes." With that I got in my fancy car, a low-slung two seater British sports car that I had bought brand new, with two rows of louvers all along the hood held down with a leather belt, and left.

Driving away from the gate I was glad I wouldn't be going up to that property again. Every time I did I was afraid I was going to punch a hole in the crankcase or some such thing because of the rocks and how rough the road was compared to how low my car was to the ground. They used to say the suspension on the type British sports car I owned was so stiffly sprung that you could drive over a dime and tell if it was facing heads or tails --- so you can pretty much figure what it must have been like driving up a rough-hewn desert trail.

Quickly putting into place a hasty departure after a micro-second looking down the barrel of the old man's cocked lever action 30-30 I began scrounging around in the general outlying area as to my stepmother's whereabouts. Several inquiries later with a handful of bartenders, ne'er-do-wells, sleeping it off cowboys, left over bar patrons, and a few working women I figured would know her, and of whom I talked to anyway even after I found out where my stepmother was, I was eventually able to track her down. Seems that an arrangement for the sale of some items of worth that unknown to me or anybody she had mysteriously stashed away in storage since just before her ranch burned down --- and that a few months before she requested I approach a certain go between for a potential buyer --- paid off big time, at least considering the level she was operating at in those days. She was able to get a favorable price for the items, move into a place nearer town, and, no longer needing the 88 acres, sold it throwing in all the goats. She wasn't totally on top of the heap for sure, but at least she was no longer under it for awhile. The items? Thirty-five illegal slot machines. The go between for the sale? Big-time mob heavyweight Johnny Roselli.

The next time I caught up with my stepmother I brought a girl-come-woman with me who at the time we were very serious together, even talking rings and wedding dates. I figured if my stepmother didn't scare the crap out of her she must OK. All that worked out, it's just we didn't. However, when the two of us were leaving that day my stepmother pulled me aside and out of earshot whispered, "She looks a lot like Olga, you know."

Above I mention I made several inquiries searching for my stepmother by talking to a handful of bartenders, ne'er-do-wells, sleeping it off cowboys, left over bar patrons, and a few working women. It just so happened that during that quest, sometime around one in the morning, just as I was about to leave my umpteenth out in the middle of the desert isolated biker-type honkytonk bar, after talking to just such a group of ladies --- with no luck regarding my stepmother --- some prick of a guy with a couple of even prickier buddies stepped in front of me as I was leaving wanting to know if I was the pussy that owned the stupid little car out front. Before I had a chance to say anything, a woman I hadn't talked to or noticed even, who had been sitting in the dark at the end of the bar edged between me and them saying I was with her, but if it was pussy they were interested in... With that, they just turned and left. She nodded her head toward the door and some guy followed them out returning in about five minutes. I thanked her and after checking the status of my car ensuring the three men hadn't trashed in in some fashion and of which unknown to the me the man who followed them out made sure they didn't, and, even though it had slipped past closing time, the woman and I sat in the empty bar in a booth and talked over coffee.

She knew my stepmother, plus we even had a couple of a mutual acquaintances, Brenda Allen, saying she had worked for her at one time, and Pauline Page, who used to work for Fifie Malouf. After a reminder from the woman, in an odd sort of way I remembered we actually knew each other as well. That's why she stepped between me and the man earlier. We had met maybe ten years before at an infamous bar-casino-brothel in Searchlight, Nevada called the El Rey Club. After her reminder I easily recalled the circumstances. I was a teenager then, during the summer just before I was going to start my second year in high school. We both laughed how I couldn't take my teenage eyes off --- as I remember --- her well-shaped voluptuous breasts and cleavage, she even offering me a better look if I wanted. Then, after pretending to unbutton her blouse a little saying she was still waiting, we started talking about the serious stuff, of which I really remembered and is pretty much summed up in the following as found on the El Rey page:

"(When my stepmother) saw me chit-chatting with the lady she didn't seem very happy, asking the woman just what exactly the two of us were talking about and why. With that the woman, the two of them seemingly knowing each other in an adversarial fashion, got up and said, 'Fuck you Queenie, you don't mean shit around here!' while at the same time throwing the contents of a half empty glass of ice water in her direction, albeit totally missing. When it appeared the woman was about to lunge toward my stepmother following the water mishap, Martello, seeing my stepmother was pulling a nickel plated .25 semi-automatic Baby Browning out of her purse and with me ducking for cover, maintained the distance between the two by slightly nudging my stepmother around before she got close enough for contact, saying he would take care of it. With that, Martello hustled us both out of the club. He had a driver take the two of us and our pilot, who had been playing blackjack in the casino, back to the airport about two miles south of town. Waiting on the tarmac was the twin engine Beechcraft Queen Air we flew up in, the plane and pilot provided us by Pancho Barnes. However, instead of leaving like I thought we would, we just waited."


Footnote [3]

At the time Olga wrote her book and published in 1943 the war was still raging and she herself had only just returned to the U.S. after having been an integral part of the A.V.G. operations from the very beginning until they were disbanded. As to the Burma Road, I had heard of it before, but reading about it was different. After the A.V.G. was disbanded and Olga was on her way home to the states, while speaking of still being in India, she writes:

"The Calcutta newspapers annoyed me. I noticed how they were building up the R.A.F. and the new American Tenth Air Force and giving the A.V.G. slight credit --- if at all. I found one story --- about the Jap Advance toward Yunnan Province --- particularly irksome:


In north-east Burma another border battle is taking place, and the Japanese vanguards thrusting up the Burma Road are 60 miles to the west of Paoshan, 200 miles inside the Yunnan border. The Chinese have destroyed the bridges across the Salween River and are holding the east bank. Small parties of Chinese appear to be operating in many directions up the Burma Road, and guerilla warfare stages appears to have been reached.

"On and on it went. The whole thing is so familiar to me. No mention of the A.V.G., who were the one who had destroyed the large bridge across the Salween by dropping bombs."


The large bridge across the Salween so mentioned in the above quote attributed to Olga Greenlaw was the Huitong Bridge. Still to this day, for the most part, the Flying Tigers don't get credit for a job well done. However, thanks to pages like mine more and more it is slowly leaking out, re the following from the source so cited:

"At the Battle of Salween Gorge in May 1942, the AVG held back the crack Japanese 56th Red Dragon Division from crossing into China. For four days, Tex Hill led eight AVG P-40s, now equipped with bomb-racks, in dive-bombing the armoured column. After losing 4,500 troops, the Japanese retreated, ending their northward advance. Had the Red Dragon Division crossed the Salween River, the road to both southern China and India would have been open to them."(source)


Footnote [4]

Over and over in my works when commenting about P-40s I mention a guy in high school I met named Kent that went on to be the main person responsible for the restoration of the only fully flight worthy surviving Pearl Harbor P-40B Tomahawk.

I was drawing in class one day like I always did instead of doing anything that vaguely resembled anything close to a class assignment or schoolwork, only this time I was drawing a P-40 Flying Tiger. Kent, spending time throwing rolled up balls of notebook paper out of a small gap in the open window across the room and never missing, thinking, after he ran out, he would just take some of mine. He stopped short after he noticed my drawing. Seems that ever since seeing the black and white 1942 John Wayne movie Flying Tigers, P-40s became, like with me, his favorite airplane. After that things were cool between us. People knock the movie as being pretty much cornball stuff, but like Kent, as far as P-40s go, and probably a whole generation of others, it was big and big in my life too --- although I myself didn't actually see the movie until well after the war and having read Olga's book. I did, however, learn of P-40s before either of those two occasions, re the following:

"It was several years after the war before I saw the movie Flying Tigers for the first time. I was living in the West Adams district of Los Angeles under the auspices of my Stepmother and had gone to the Adams theater near the corner of Western and Adams I think around the first week or so of August 1948 to see it along with its co-billed film The Fighting Seabees. However, I had learned about P-40s long before that. As usual for me at the time, from comic books, most notably a comic book called BLUE BOLT No. 6, January, 1944."

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CURTISS WRIGHT P-40N 42-104949

Footnote [5]

"After my stepmother noticed my interest in 'The Lady and the Tigers' she told me she had been on vacation in Mexico and while there had gone down to Mexico City. In Mexico City she had dinner with a 'former physician to Chennault's Flying Tigers named Dr. Margaret Chung.'"


Below is a page from an illustrated article, read comic book, published in the early days of World War II when things for the U.S. and her allies in the war against the Axis Powers were pretty gloomy. The whole of the article, which can be found by clicking the page or going to the link below and where the quote above comes from, is about a woman named Dr. Margaret "Mom" Chung, who throughout the war "adopted" and supported at least 509 pilots in her effort to contribute to the war effort. The fourth panel in the article shows Dr. Chung with two pilots, one of which is going to the Flying Tigers. The fifth panel, the one that runs clear across the bottom of the page, implies but doesn't state anything about the Flying Tigers specifically. However, the caption has within its context that "Moms" boys got their wish and joined the Chinese Air Force flying over all parts of the world, even the Burma Road, the implication being that Dr. Chung recruited them into the Chinese Air Force, i.e., the Flying Tigers,

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Footnote [6]

William McGarry was known as Black Mac while flying for the Tigers. The two of us met during a sand storm one day at a gas station outside a quickie mart in Coachella Valley sometime in the early 1980s while I was returning from a trip exploring around the Anza-Borrego Desert near Agua Caliente Springs in California. I had become privy to what I thought was some possibly relevant information regarding the so-called Lost Viking Ship that at the time I felt was information well worth pursuing. Although the information turned out to be a false lead and quite bogus, the fact that I went to the Anza-Borrego in the first place ended up being quite a little goldmine for me personally in that I happened across McGarry. I mean what could be better, lost Viking ships in the desert and P-40s.

Although I am not quite sure specifically how it first came up, but as soon as I found out McGarry flew for the Flying Tigers I remembered him right away, stemming almost exclusively from something Olga wrote, something I, as a not yet 10 year old boy never forgot. The following, speaking of Black Mac, that is, McGarry, being shot down over Chiang Mai, Thailand, March 24, 1942, as found in The Lady and the Tigers, pages 308-309:

"I wonder what happened to him --- probably a prisoner. But the Chinese scouts found a body in the same location or thereabouts where Black Mac bailed out when Jack Newkirk got killed --- in March.

"The body was unrecognizable, as there was nothing left, the ants had eaten all the flesh, but the uniform the bones were covered with was an A.V.G. flying suit with the insignia still on it."

Prior to Greenlaw's book being published word came through as to McGarry's fate. At the bottom of page 308 the following was inserted: "Since this was written, it has been officially announced that W.D. McGarry is a prisoner of the Japanese." However, you might imagine what I, as a young boy thought of when I first read about the jungle ants gnawing the flesh completely clean right off the pilot's skeleton leaving nothing but bare bones laying inside the flight suit, all the internal organs gone. Some image. More about McGarry can be found on my Phyllis Davis page, the two of us, that is, Phyllis and I, ending up in Thailand together with me eventually seeing the crashed remains of his P-40.

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As for Colonel Greenlaw, during the summer a few years after graduating from high school but before being drafted, a buddy and I went on road trip throughout Mexico. We went down the Baja peninsula crossing by ferry to the mainland, eventually going as far as the Yucatan before turning back toward the states. During the trip, which is fully outlined at the two links cited after the quote below, I sought out Colonel Greenlaw who was living in Mexico at the time. Even though where he lived was a rather remote area, it was fairly convenient because our route took us almost right past his place. A little detour and we were there. To wit:

"After leaving Ensenada we continued south on some pretty crummy roads eventually turning eastward across the peninsula to the little town of Santa Rosalia, taking a ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Guaymas. On the road south just before it turns more eastward across the peninsula to Santa Rosalia we turned on Highway 18 not far from Guerrero Negro as I wanted to catch up with a man I hoped to meet who was said to live at a place called El Arco. The man was Colonel Harvey Greenlaw, the onetime second in command of the infamous Flying Tigers of World War II fame. I had read his wife's book Lady and the Tigers (1943) and heard somewhere along the way that Greenlaw lived there. Since I was close by and most likely would never be back I made it a point to look him up, spending a couple of days."



The same paragraph shows up as a footnote in Of Cobras, Scarabs, Maseratis, and Zen except I make reference to some of the conversation between Greenlaw and myself.(see) See also:


When I was eight or nine years old I went on an almost all summer long excursion throughout the desert southwest visiting a variety of major and minor historical sites as well as fossil and archaeological sites all across Arizona and New Mexico with my uncle. One of the places we visited after we got to New Mexico was Fort Sumner, stopping there specifically for me to see the gravesite of the infamous western outlaw and bad guy Billy the Kid.

Because of a few highly memorable adventures and people I met during that excursion I created a couple of web pages devoted to it. One of the pages revolves around a post high school teenager I met named Tommy Tyree. Tyree worked on a ranch for a man whose dad's brother, in 1908, shot and killed Sheriff Pat Garrett, the man who had in turn shot Billy Kid in 1881. Because of such Tyree was a minor historian of Billy the Kid. However, his major claim to fame is his stature as a witness to the events surrounding the alleged crash of an object of an unknown nature that came out of the night sky during the summer of 1947 related to what has come to be known as the Roswell UFO. The other page, because of my visit to Billy the Kid's gravesite, I have dedicated it to Billy the Kid. On that page I use a graphic of a fairly famous oil painting done in 1937 of the Kid by a fellow desert southwest artist and friend of my uncle named John W. Hilton, of whom, through my uncle, as a kid I both met and as well, saw the original painting.


In an article about Col. Harvey Greenlaw said to have appeared in Cabo Life Magazine reportedly states that the same artist, John W. Hilton, painted a mural on Greenlaw's wall a year or two before I visited him --- during the same period Hilton was gathering material for a book he was writing titled "Hardly Any Fences," a book that dealt with his various travels in Baja California from 1933 to 1959. In a chapter or section of that book, published in 1977, titled "South to El Arco," in his own hand, Hilton presents a slightly different version of any attempt at what could possibly be misconstrued as him having painted a full wall mural:

"I took a liking to Harvey Greenlaw at once. His house had a dirt floor but there were murals on all of the walls painted and drawn by artists and would-be artists who had stopped by to visit him. I added some cereus and cactus plants on each side of a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This gave her a local touch, we thought."

As you can tell from this page and several others referenced herein I have page after page related in some fashion to the World War II fighter plane the Curtis-Wright P-40 Warhawk, also known as the Tomahawk, and the Kittyhawk depending on who flew them, their area of operation, and when they were made. Although I hold no distaste toward other aircraft, and I mention many throughout my works, relative to the P-40, most do have a tendency to take a backseat. Such is the case with the truly most formidable F6F Hellcat. I bring up the Hellcat, more specifically the F6F below because of Baja California and the potential possibility of one of it's kind coming in contact with another strong interest of mine, submarines --- especially so World War II Japanese and German rogue or ghost submarines. See:

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How close my stepmother may have been in accurately determining any long running easy going possible proclivities or how they may have been cross transferable into any area of use to my stepmother in some fashion may by questionable, but so too is what depth Olga may or may not have participated in such actions relative to the A.V.G. or anybody else for that fact. Even for those who knew her long term it is still open to debate, running the gamut from merely a few provocative non-reciprocal glances, gestures or remarks on her part to running rampant with no pants on through the majority of the male A.V.G. contingent to anybody else she could find. Examples of the first is found in her own book in her own hand. Examples of the second can be found in Bruce Gamble's book BLACK SHEEP ONE: The Life of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (2003) and Jerome Klinkowitz's book PACIFIC SKIES: American Flyers in World War II (2004), both writing of the former Flying Tiger Greg Boyington. Gamble writes:

"Boyington began courting trouble soon after he reached Toungoo, a result of his attraction to Harvey Greenlaw's wife. In this he was not alone; plenty of other AVG men, Claire Chennault included, vied continuously for Olga's attention."

Klinkowitz is a little more blunt. Speaking of Boyington he writes:

"He squabbles endlessly with Chennault's chief-of-staff, Harvey Greenlaw, and begins an adulterous affair with Greenlaw's wife Olga, the group's diarist."

For the record, the Chennault referred to by both of the authors in the above quotes was of course Claire Chennault, the commander of the Flying Tigers.

A close business associate come friend of my stepmother, Brenda Allen, the preeminent madam in the greater Los Angeles area during the war and several years after, was also vying for Olga for reasons not much different than my stepmother. "Among other things, in a round about way, she even offered her (Olga) a job," sounds innocent enough, but when done so by people such as Allen and those of a similar ilk they had to be super careful how such offers were promulgated and what was meant by a job.

In 1948, about four years after her offer to Olga, Allen, who was rumored to have upwards of 114 girls in her harem and to have never really stumbled during all the years of her operation, was caught in a more-or-less vendetta type of sting put into place by disgruntled members of the Los Angeles Police Department (read: not on her payroll). She was charged with and arrested for what is called pandering, a felony. The charge of pandering, at least under Section 1 of the act in relation to pandering, provides a variety of situations in of which a person can be deemed guilty. The strength of the first clause of Section 1 circulates around the term or word "procure." Procure as used implies within it's context the use of persuasion, solicitation, encouragement and/or assistance in achieving the unlawful purpose of pandering --- with the key word being "achieving" meaning in the end result, to have actually accomplished the goal. The LAPD sting inferred Allen had done just that, thus her arrest. The following is from the Brenda Allen site linked above:

"In a trial without a jury Allen was found guilty of pandering and sentenced to five years, the sentence to be served at the State Institution for Women in Tehachapi. Later it came out the female police officer lied under oath and, even though she personally admitted to the act of perjury, the sentence against Allen was not rescinded. Allen filed an application for probation which was granted on condition that she serve one year in the county jail in addition to five years probation. In May, 1949 she commenced to serve her time. Less than four months later, Friday, September 2, 1949, Allen was released from jail on order of the California Supreme Court based solely on the fact that the police officer had perjured her testimony."

Although my stepmother, like Allen, may have been way off-base relative to any possible proclivities she ascribed toward Olga Greenlaw, and I still like to think she was even to this day, she had done so only after having received a strong proclamation of those potential proclivities from a source who was at one time, known to have been fairly close to her. It all started totally unrelated with the death of a L.A. cop as presented in the quote below:

"My brother's stay at the military academy lasted only to the end of the following school year. It seems a Los Angeles police officer was shot and killed on the streets of Chinatown during a gambling raid and somehow my stepmother felt responsible for ensuring his widow or the woman he was closely associated with and her young son were properly cared for. Somewhere along the way my stepmother learned the woman, who wanted to leave the city, had previously inherited a rundown dilapidated piece of property in Idaho that had been at onetime a working ranch. My stepmother hired a crew to fix up the place, make it livable with reliable running water and even paid to have the electricity extended to reach the ranch as it had not yet got that far. Then she sent the woman, her young son, and if not with the two of them initially, within a short time, my older brother, for whatever reason, to live there. "(source)

Sometime in early 1947, after hearing through the grapevine of my stepmother's concerns and actions relative to her assisting those of the slain officer gunned down the year before during a gambling raid in Chinatown, another L.A. police officer who prior to the war had been a sergeant, but upon his return following the war had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant, outside the chain of command, contacted her.

The lieutenant was Frank Walton. Walton, as a LAPD sergeant before the war, either had contact with or knew my stepmother in some fashion or knew the slain police officer or both. He had served with the Marine ace Greg Boyington in the Pacific during World War II. The two of them were collaborating on a book regarding their wartime ventures and in the process, Boyington, experiencing hard times, had, along with his new wife, moved into a spare bedroom in Walton's house. Boyington, said to be on a bond tour, was basically an outpatient on medical leave for injuries incurred while facing a soon to be given discharge (August 1, 1947). As a Marine he had garnered more kills than anybody --- counting ones he earned as a pilot for the Flying Tigers before moving over to the Marines --- and was known through reputation and action as a hard flying, hard fighting, and hard drinking fighter pilot. His hard fighting and hard drinking may have been overlooked or given leeway participating under the heavy blanket of war, but night after night returning home with his wife to Walton's small house at all hours drunk, yelling, arguing, and raising a ruckus was more than beginning to take a toll on everybody and everything, including getting any work done on the book.

Not knowing if my stepmother's motives in helping those of the slain LAPD officer was altruistic or not and not wanting to know, BUT knowing she had connections all over the city at all levels, including the ownership of a number of houses for a number of reasons, he approached her on an unofficial level to see if, on the sly, she might have something she could put a down-on-his-luck war hero into. Intuitively, thinking the young police lieutenant seemed to have what it took to be on his way up in the force and could possibly use his services one day, she said she would see what she could do. A few days later a courier handed two envelopes to Walton, each containing a key, each envelope clearly marked with an address in the San Fernando Valley, Burbank area, with a note telling Walton the rest was up to him.(see)

Several days later my stepmother, who really didn't know one way or the other what she had or didn't have, others taking care of such things, went by both addresses to see what, if anything was going on, finding each of the houses empty. She had only just gone into the second house to look around when, unbeknownst to her, Boyington parked outside. My stepmother's bodyguard (also her driver), seeing Boyington coming toward the house after suspiciously looking around and not knowing who he was or why he was there, stepped behind him as soon as he entered the door sticking the barrel of his fully loaded .45 semi-automatic in the small of Boyington's back. When Boyington explained who he was and why he was there everything was soon resolved. My stepmother sent her bodyguard to get a few cold beers, of which then she and Boyington spent a good part of the rest of the afternoon sitting around on a couple of empty boxes in an otherwise vacant house talking and drinking until it got dark.(see)

Although my stepmother was familiar as to who Boyington was, he having flown for the Flying Tigers and a war hero and all, any specific information she garnered had come some years previously reading Olga Greenlaw's book. As the time moved on, and since my stepmother had met Olga, she eventually brought her up. After imbibing a ton of beers over the span of the afternoon Boyington told my stepmother that Olga --- calling her, if one were to tone down what he said into a milder form of euphemisms, would become something like fornicating hooker --- cheated him out of three official kills and fifteen hundred bucks, saying she and he had 'romped around' on three occasions after which following a falling out, she (or, as I suggested to my stepmother later, somebody who didn't like the fact that they 'romped') cooked the books by deleting evidence of the three kills with, he said, losing out on the fifteen hundred bucks, $500 for each of their encounters.

According to what my stepmother told me, the contents of that 1947 conversation with Boyington is where she drew her conclusions regarding Olga Greenlaw. At what time in the scheme of things my stepmother tendered her offer to Olga is not known. However, if it was after the meeting with Boyington, which all of the above seems to imply, and while it is true Olga had divorced Harvey Greenlaw, she had remarried early in the year of 1946 --- something of which my stepmother may or may not have known, or didn't care about one way or the other, since it was all business to her.

Thirty years later, in the 1980s, Boyington, in a letter to a well regarded aviation and Marine Corps historian, thought to be Frank Olynyk, Boyington, albeit not using the same so colorful language he used telling the story to my stepmother, defending his claim of six planes shot down while with the A.V.G., pretty much repeated the same story. According to A.V.G. historian Dan Ford, who apparently became privy to the contents of the letter in some fashion, and editorializing by throwing in for some reason that Boyington reached his conclusion somewhat wildly, writes that Boyington:

"(C)ame closer than anyone else to boasting of a liaison with the executive officer's wife. As he told the story, Chennault's 'secretary' was also the Old Man's mistress, and Boyington too enjoyed her favors on three occasions. After he quit the AVG, he went on, his bonus account was docked $500 for each encounter and that, he concluded somewhat wildly, was why his record was short-changed to the extent of three Japanese aircraft."(source)

In another letter, this time to V. Keith Fleming Jr., the editor of Fortitudine a periodical of the Marine Corps Historical Program, dated July 23, 1981, Boyington expressed his deep concern in a follow-up regarding the works of Robert Sherrod that appeared in the magazine. Boyington said that the magazine had "permitted Robert Sherrod to move virtually unshackled in his rather clumsy attempt to create seeds of doubt concerning myself and my war record." In the letter he blamed Chennault for lowering his total from six to three-and-a-half kills asserting that his associates had persuaded Chennault to take such action. In neither of the two letters did he however, mention Olga Greenlaw by name, stating instead it was Chennault's 'secretary' or formulated by Chennault and his associates, meaning of course in both cases, Olga Greenlaw, especially if you take into consideration what Boyington had relayed to my stepmother.


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Now, as promised, below is the link that will take you to a no-obligation, free, full and complete unabridged PDF online version Olga Greenlaw's book The Lady and the Tigers:



Many people that read what I have presented regarding Boyington and what he had to say to my stepmother regarding Olga a little iffy in that they feel Boyington held Olga in too high of a regard, maybe even loved her, to cast her into such an unfavorable light. However, all one has to do is turn to the so-called book of fiction he wrote published in 1960 titled Tonya to see what he really thought about Olga and the Flying Tigers. Tonya is a thinly disguised Olga and what he writes about her a far more than iffy.

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Somewhere along the way my stepmother did tell me she had heard that Olga had divorced her husband, the former second in command of the Flying Tigers, the oft times frowned upon Harvey Greenlaw, remarried and moved to northern California. She also said, if she remembered correctly in 1952, the first year I visited her new ranch, and she wasn't sure how she knew, but Olga's younger sister had been killed in the Tehachapi earthquake. Research has since shown all that to be true, although the sister was Olga's half-sister.(see)

My father and stepmother went on an extended two-year trip to Mexico and South America in 1950, not returning until 1952. During that period, as usual my brothers and I were put in the care of a foster couples. One day I was reading a comic book that had a lead off story about a woman with red hair that had been found by Dakota Indians and adopted into their tribe, giving her the tribal name Firehair. As I was reading the comic for the 100th time the woman of the foster couple, seeing the story was about a redheaded woman, grabbed it out of my hands and threw it across the room yelling at me that my mother --- who had red hair --- was dead and long gone, and she was my mother now and to get over it. As soon as I was able to save a few bucks I grabbed up a handful of things, including the comic book, stuffed it all into a shoulder bag and ran away.

I took a Greyhound bus north to the Mojave Desert searching down and eventually locating my then just divorced-from-my-father stepmother, or ex-stepmother as the case may have been, at her newly acquired ranch in the Mojave following her return from her two year sojourn to Mexico and South America.

It just so happens that the day before I located my stepmother I was riding in truck driven by a drunken cowboy that rolled over and crashed, with me ending up spending the night in the care of two Native Americans that found me beside the road. That morning, at 4:52 AM, in the twilight hours just before sunrise, while the two Native Americans and I were sleeping out in the desert, just a few miles away, centered near the lower Sierra town of Tehachapi, the most powerful earthquake to hit Southern California in the 20th century and the largest in the nation since San Francisco's in 1906 hit. The following quote, at the source so cited, sadly, is of our interest here:

"Eleven people were killed in and around the Tehachapi area as a result of the quake. One of those killed was a young girl my same age named Florence Ann Fillmore. At the time of the quake she was asleep in a guest house along with several others on an over 700 acre ranch 12 miles from Tehachapi owned by a man by the name of Paul H. Owsley. She was crushed to death when the roof fell on her. Florence Ann Fillmore's half-sister, by having the same mother albeit a different father, was a woman who before marrying Owsley was named Olga Greenlaw --- and of whom my stepmother knew.

"Greenlaw, who was at the ranch that night, had written a book published in 1943 about the American Volunteer Group, better known as the A.V.G. or the Flying Tigers. She had been with the Tigers from day one and her book, The Lady and the Tigers, covered the Group's history from just before they were formed clear through to being disbanded and shortly thereafter. Mostly because of my stepmother along with the use by the Tigers of the venerable World War II fighting machine, the P-40 Tomahawk and any existence thereof, the book and the downstream outflow from it all, even to this day, continues to play a prominent roll in my life."(source)

The comic book I stuffed in my shoulder bag the day I ran away from the foster couple that set into motion my running away in the first place played a role in my life then and now just like Greenlaw's continues to do so today. Not only did the comic book, titled Rangers Comics #63 dated February 1952, contain the story about Firehair, but also a section on Billy the Kid, whose gravesite I would visit with my uncle in later years and of which from the comic I still use a page of in my online works. So too, in the same edition was a story about Atlantis, the Antediluvian World which I still use to this day in connection with a man I worked part time for in high school that I call my Merchant Marine Friend, a self-avowed master historian and skeptic on both Atlantis and the Lost Continent of Mu. For more on the earthquake see:


I have a page on the web called the P-40 Goose Shoot that describes an air battle that occurred over the southern Mediterranean and the coast of North Africa on April 18, 1943, less than a year after the Flying Tigers were disbanded. That air battle involved 46 P-40s shooting down a fleet of 100 fully loaded German Junker troop transports flying just above sea level escorted by 50 Messerschmitt fighters, apparently all fleeing Tunisia in a concerted last ditch effort to reach Sicily.

A four page illustrated story on the attack appeared in BLUE BOLT No. 6, dated January, 1944. On my page, as part of what I present regarding the shoot out, I used the four pages. The publication unit for the comic book was based in the city of New York with the art work for that particular story attributed to a man named Harry Ramsey, of which below is one of the pages:

Ramsey has done a fairly good job on his rendition of the P-40s, but note the German bombers --- they are all six-engine models. The Germans had a six engine Junker, the Ju-390, a model that was reportedly never seen before it was photographed by a person onboard a convoy ship supplying the beachhead during the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.

It has been reported, that the next year a Ju-390 left Europe coming in over Canada crossing into U.S. airspace to photograph defense plants in Michigan only to exit out over the Atlantic sometime after noon on August 28, 1943 by coming in behind any east-facing aircraft detection systems and passing directly over New York above the Empire State Building. The difficulty most historians have with such a claim is that the Ju-390's first flight is officially stamped into the records as happening two months later, on October 20 1943.(see)

The problem is the existence of the Ju-390 was not widely known even in the theater of operation and being kept a secret outside of it. The question is, how is it Ramsey, who did an excellent job drawing the P-40s come up with the idea of a six-engine German aircraft? Did he just happen to look up from his drawing table on the afternoon of August 28, 1943 and see the fly over of the six-engine Junker and simply incorporate them into his story published January 1944 as though they as a bomber were an everyday German plane?




As fully articulated in M.V. Tulagi and elsewhere, as a very young boy even before the death of my mother, I was taken by a foster couple to India. When the couple returned to the U.S. some six months later I was left off totally unannounced at my grandmother's on my father's side in Pennsylvania --- a grandmother I had never met nor ever even heard of. From her place I was eventually returned to the west coast to be with my grandmother on my mother's side, leaving Pennsylvania sometime around the very last day of June of 1944. I was put on a passenger train headed toward Chicago, although who I was traveling with I'm not sure as it has never been determined.

In Chicago I boarded the Number 19 Santa Fe Chief westbound to Los Angeles. Toward midnight of July 3, 1944, between Flagstaff, Arizona and Williams, on a high speed downhill run and behind schedule, the Chief's locomotive, a powerful Baldwin built 4-8-4 Northern with 80 inch drive wheels and clocking out at over 90 miles per hour, hit a marked 55 mph speed limit curve, with the locomotive derailing and sliding in the dirt on it's side off the tracks for well over 500 feet before coming to a stop. The rest of the 14 car train ended up in various stages of derailment and wreckage on and off the track, some cars remaining upright with two actually staying on the tracks undamaged. The fireman and three passengers were killed. 113 passengers along with 13 train employees injured, among them the severely injured engineer.


Although I was unhurt, the person or people I was traveling with was among the injured and taken, with me along with them, to either Williams or Flagstaff. Because of the nature of their injuries, whoever I was traveling with was held-up under doctors care for several days, leaving me without direct adult supervision. My grandmother, who had been contacted by the railroad, called my uncle in Santa Fe. He inturn contacted a nearby tribal spiritual elder to oversee me until someone figured out how to get me to my grandmother's.

Years later my Uncle told me about me sitting in the passenger area of a train station in Arizona with a tribal spiritual elder late at night waiting for my uncle to arrive and take me to California. The spiritual elder was quite obviously Native American and I was quite obviously not. A lot of people seemed concerned with me traveling with an Indian, that is, except for an older man who seemed concerned that I might be bored.

He came over and sat next to me and asked if my dad was in the war. I told him no that he worked in the shipyards. Opening his suitcase he asked if I liked comic books and as I nodded yes he pulled out a comic called Blue Bolt. Before he handed it to me he began thumbing through the pages as though he was looking for something all the while telling me he had a son in the war and that his son was a highly decorated fighter pilot. He folded open the comic book to one of the pages and pointed to a story about a group of American pilots, all flying P-40s, that shot down 77 German planes in one outing.

Then, going over the story page by page and reading certain things and pointing to others, he told me that his son was one of the pilots. With that I took the book from the man's hands completely fascinated, so much so I read the story over and over without stopping or setting it down. The man, seeing how much I appreciated the comic and the story, said I could have it. After that my uncle said I continued to read it again and again all the way back to California and months afterwards.

The story that so fascinated me was in BLUE BOLT No. 6, January, 1944, of which the following is found in the source so cited:

"On Sunday, April 18, 1943 the U.S. Army Air Force's 57th Fighter Group stationed at El Djem, Tunisia in North Africa, on a routine mission over Cape Bon had 46 P-40 Warhawks in the air along with 18 British Spitfires flying top cover. Low on fuel and basically returning to base they came across a 100 plane flotilla of German JU-52 troop transport planes flying just above sea level over the Mediterranean, escorted by 50 Messerschmitt fighters. Catching the Germans completely off guard, while the Spitfires drew off the Messerschmitts and kept them busy, the P-40s split into pairs diving on the enemy planes tearing the transports to shreds, with an overall kill count of 77 enemy aircraft destroyed."(source)

Except for what I have presented regarding the P-40 Goose Shoot, the events found in this footnote has been presented by me in virtually the same manner and same form in any number of my other works. What I have not included in the above account or have not revealed previously is a part of the crash event that circulates around the somewhat mysterious tribal spiritual elder my uncle arranged for me to be watched by until he, my uncle, could catch up with me. As you may recall, after the wreck, because the adult or adults I was traveling with had been hospitalized, I was left without adult supervision. I write about sitting in the waiting room late at night in some train station out in the middle of Arizona with the tribal spiritual elder waiting for my uncle to come get me.

What I don't write about is that I recognized the spiritual elder the moment he walked into the hospital waiting area looking for me as found in the following quote:

"Mid-evening on the night of the-unknown-to-anybody at the time up-coming crash I had gone to bed in the bunk in my compartment and as far as I knew had fallen fast asleep. Sometime during that period between the time I fell asleep and the crash occurred I found myself neither asleep nor in my bunk but outside of the train standing barefoot on the desert floor in the middle of the night in my PJs some distance off from a set of railroad tracks, my hand being held by an elderly Native American man.

"No sooner had I been standing there than in the distance to the east I could see the headlight of a locomotive heading in our same direction. Within seconds the train was parallel to where I was standing and then, almost as though in slow motion the train began coming off the tracks with the engine barely moving on it's side pushing huge mounds of dirt in front of itself with cars slowly going everywhere and the headlight low to the ground glowing through the dust and piles of dirt, sand and rocks. The light dimmed in the minor maelstrom, then went completely out, leaving everything around engulfed in an incredible silence and darkness. The passage of time that seemed to be only creeping or limping along, slowly, then more so quickly, returned to normal."


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As a young boy to teenager growing up in southern California, the same problem I had with Olga I also had with another woman just as deeply involved if not more so in the southeast Asian sphere --- a woman of fiction with the name Dragon Lady, shown above and as found in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates by artist-cartoonist Milton Caniff. I still shake my head when I think about her.

The Dragon Lady in Terry and the Pirates actually had a name, Lai Choi San given to her by Caniff. He did not just give her that name by chance either, having been adopted by Caniff for use from a notorious female Chinese pirate during the 1920s through the 1930s. Lai Choi San was said to have owned 12 heavily armed Chinese junks all under her direct personal command, and as well, a fleet of several thousand buccaneers independently operating other junks all with sworn allegiance to her authority. Loosely based in and around the Portuguese colony of Macau just outside of Hong Kong her realm covered the Pearl River Delta and coastal shipping routes to all of the South China Sea as far away as Palawan in the Philippines Islands. Throughout her prime and later years there were several land-based male warlords but for the most part the territory controlled by any two of them put together would hardly touch the amount of territory the real life Lai Choi San held sway over. See:




All these years later, when it comes to my stepmother's driver come bodyguard, for whatever reason whenever I think of him or I see or think of the 1962 movie Walk On The Wild Side with the immaculately dressed actor Richard Rust playing the role of the velvet gloved enforcer Oliver I can't help but being reminded of my stepmother's bodyguard and his shoulder holstered 45. Clicking the graphic below will take you to a short film segment of a Turner Classic Movie video from Walk On The Wild Side that at the one minute and thirty second mark shows what and how Oliver subsequently fulfills his expected duties:

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When I was in Junior High my father and stepmother went to South America for a couple of years. While they were gone I ended up living with a foster couple. Before my stepmother left she arranged for me to get a part time job after school and on the weekends with a friend of hers who owned a card club located in the same town the foster couple lived. One night while I was working in the kitchen some mob dude traveling with a couple of other toughs came through the back door on the way to see the owner of the club for an unannounced visit. In the process I got roughed a bit because he recognized me through my affiliation with my stepmother and her connection back to a major mob mover named Johnny Roselli. A few days later the mob guy who roughed me up ended up severely beaten and Roselli came by the Normandie Club to talk with me about it. Roselli always called my stepmother my mother and it shows up as such in the quote. The following from the source so cited:

"He told me by the time he came to see me all indications pointed to the fact that the beating had been perpetrated in some fashion by my mother's driver. What he didn't know was if I knew, and if I did why hadn't I come forward with the information. He figured, since I hadn't come forward, in that my top loyalty should have been to him first, Roselli, and not the driver, I must not have known. Roselli told me most of the people who traveled in the wider general circles he traveled in were aware, at least peripherally, who my mother's driver was and how respected he was and how efficient he could be. He wasn't however, mob. Roselli said he just let the whole thing go because there was a certain ring of loyalty about it he liked. Besides, he said, the man who had the shit kicked out of him was one of Mickey Cohen's men and an asshole, saying he didn't like him anyway, plus he didn't see any reason I should have been roughed around so bad just because there may have been some connection back to him, i.e., Roselli."


It wasn't unusual for people like my stepmother's driver to be called or known by a name other than their real or given name. Not a nickname per se', but an identifying moniker used by others and usually earned or descriptive. Most of the people who traveled in the wider general circles my stepmother traveled in, at least peripherally, were aware who my mother's driver was and how respected he was and how efficient he could be. To those people he was known by the same name my godfather used to address him in the garage that night, "Nighttime." The moniker was used by my godfather specifically to ensure my stepmother's driver that he knew full well the rep of the drivers abilities.

As the story goes, at least how it has come down to me, the reason he was called by what he was known by was because one night in the pursuant of fulfilling a reasonable request by my stepmother in a rather upscale formal black-tie environment, he politely asked three men to comply with her request. The men, making it clear they were unwilling to do so, looking at each other with a three to one advantage and knowing they were in such a high profile setting, one of them said, "And if we don't?" My stepmother's driver stepped forward and leaning into them a little bit said only one word, "Nighttime." Legend has it they complied, although how it was accomplished is not clear.

Several hours before Roselli showed up at the card club Miller casually saunter into the kitchen with a man he seemed to be on fairly good terms with, visiting under the pretense of the man tasting and giving his opinion on some special Italian sauce Miller was having brewed up. At the time I had never seen the man before nor did I know who he was. However, within a few years all of that was to change. The man turned out to be Anthony "Tony" Parravano, a wealthy multi-millionaire construction company owner who also had under his belt a whole slew of high speed sports race cars such as Ferraris and Maseratis, cars that he raced in road races throughout the Southern California area. I met Parravano through his chief mechanic Joe Landaker who I had met at the little mom and pop restaurant/cafe I was working at during my high school years after having left the couple and moving to Redondo Beach, California. Landaker had invited me up to see all the race cars at his shop and the day I did Parravano was there. I told him I had seen him a few years before at the Nomandie Club with the following results:

"After associating me with the Roselli incident, Parravano stepped back in the shop and in so many words told Landaker to give me the run of the place, with Landaker nodding in approvement and giving a slight sign of a salute. Then Parravano came back out bending to my level putting his face in mine and tapping my chest fairly hard with his knuckle said, calling Roselli by his mob name, that the next time I saw him to put a good word in for him, that he had did right by me. Which, although it was a few years later and Parravano already skipped town, I did."


Wouter Melissen

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Scorchy Smith was a mid 1930's into the 1960's daily newspaper comic strip that was distributed throughout the country via the Associated Press syndicate. The single panel that appears in the newspaper article above I have presented in two versions. The single black and white panel is from the from the daily newspaper comic strip, the other a more-or-less full page color version put together after taking the dailies and recompiling them into comic book form some years later.

The colored full page is compiled from a multi-day story titled "Somewhere in the Orient," which appeared in a strip on September 28, 1937. The comic book version appeared in Famous Funnies #97, August 1942.

Regarding the police officer that was slain. For reasons really not known to me even to this day, and equally not known to all except my now long gone stepmother, the woman and young boy associated with her and connected to the officer, carried an extraordinary high level of importance to my stepmother. It is my feeling the officer was possibly in some service to my stepmother and his death unexpectedly left the woman and boy without due support.

The following, although not an explanation as to the reasons for the importance, is in my own words, an extrapolation of events surrounding the officers death. They have been recalled to the best of my ability for presentation here after having initially researched them from official records many years ago:

The policeman killed in the line of duty during the 1946 Chinatown gambling raid was assisting members of the Los Angeles Police Department's Vice Squad. As the primary contingent of the Vice Squad rushed the front of the building, the policeman, as assigned, had positioned himself along with several other officers toward the rear of the building in order to assist in stopping or apprehending any fleeing suspects. A gun battle erupted between those on the inside and those on the outside when one or more of the men providing security for the illicit gambling discovered any potential escape route through the back had been blocked. The gunmen on the inside fired a significant number of rounds through the rear entrance just as officers entered. A random slug from the volley unleashed by the assailants struck the policeman in the abdomen puncturing his kidney, the officer dying in the hospital from his wound the following day.

Witnesses as well as ballistics connected a specific gun to one of the shooters, the gunman being convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to one to 10 years.


At the end of the summer of 1953, just as I was about to start the 10th grade or so, the August - September #6 issue of the comic book Mad came out. Inside #6 was a story, drawn by my all time favorite non-animator cartoonist Wallace Wood, that spoofed or satired big-time the long running comic strip Terry and the Pirates, with Wood in his spoofing, calling it Teddy and the Pirates.

Although I had followed Terry and the Pirates a good portion of my life, and knew how Milton Caniff, the artist-cartoonist of the strip, presented Terry's world that he and his so-called Pirates lived in, Wood's top-half opening drawing below, showing his version of an underbelly far east like milieu, real or not, that exemplified the Asian atmosphere along with the rest of the story hit me like a hammer, with me, the teenager that I was, sucking up his version as my version and as my version, the real version. Ten years later, thanks to Uncle Sam and his friendly Selective Service, found me in Rangoon, Saigon, and Chiang Mai, as well as other such places, even meeting warlords. Those ten years after high school, especially in and where I traveled, having gone from a teenager to an almost mid-twenties GI, my vision not only didn't wane, but was bolstered and grew. Notice the tommy guns, stabbings, hand grenades and exotic women. So too in the second panel, i.e., lower left hand corner, the two crashed P-40 Flying Tigers. See:


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When I was a young boy growing up my grandfather worked in some capacity for the railroad. Just at the start of World War II they moved him from the Pacific Northwest to the Southern California area, relocating and settling in not far from where we lived. However, because of the war effort and the sudden large influx of people into Southern California related to that effort, housing was quickly becoming more and more difficult to come by. So said, at least in the short term, my grandfather and grandmother, as long as the railroad was willing to pay for it, stayed in a hotel. And the railroad was willing thanks to Uncle Sam. No sooner had my grandfather moved to Southern California than the government assigned him to participate in a high level top secret military operation out of Needles that involved German fighter planes hidden in the desert not far from the railroad's mainline near Indio and Brawley and the American spy and actress Rochelle Hudson(see)


As for the hotel, from what I can remember, it was my first experience of any significance dealing in any fashion with a hotel. There were bellhops, people who asked if there was anything they could get you, and what was called a hospitality suite. The hospitality suite had all kinds of stuff just for the taking. Donuts, fruit, drinks. It also had big plush chairs and couches as well as newspapers and all kinds of magazines.

One of the magazines was Life dated March 30, 1942, Vol. 12, No. 13, long linked on this page (i.e., as found below). Of course I didn't remember the date or volume number at the time, but I do remember the issue. My older brother found a copy of the Life magazine in the hospitality suite of the hotel and inside was a lengthy predominantly photographic article about the Flying Tigers. I didn't specifically know what the Flying Tigers were at the time, but I remember him running all around yelling to my dad, "Flying Tigers, Flying Tigers," then a big fuss made all over him and the article. The exact same picture of the shark-nosed P-40 with fly boys in a jeep in front of it that appeared in that war time Life article is the same picture as above.

My older brother running all around all excited waving the article yelling, "Flying Tigers, Flying Tigers," with my mom and dad and younger brother all there along with my grandparents was probably the first time I ever heard the words Flying Tigers uttered or ever saw a picture of a jeep.





On December 31, 1941, the IV Interceptor Command reported that several enemy planes were believed to have landed and been hidden near the inland desert communities of Indio and Brawley in the Imperial Valley of California. They also reported that five messages in Japanese code were being sent daily between Brawley and Mexico City via short wave radio. At 12:32 PM in the afternoon of December 31, 1941, the Federal Bureau of Investigation relayed the following message:

"There is a plan for air and sea attack against San Diego, San Pedro and San Francisco, to take place about dawn either New Year's Day or the following Sunday. It is possible the attack will be made against San Diego and San Pedro first. Expecting cooperation from aliens ashore. The air attack will be by German airmen from across the border where planes are now under cover, taking off before dawn and coming over flying high. If air forces are alert, this can be broken up before they reach their objectives. Am sending you this information for want of better channels to advise."

Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles During World War II

By the spring of 1942, General George S. Patton Jr. had moved into the Indio and Brawley area and put into place a desert training center for his tanks and armored equipment. In doing so, as an unanticipated side effect, it also hindered any further potential attacks from the desert or Mexico by the Axis powers similar to or like the planned aerial attack on Southern California by German pilots as cited above, that was by the way, stopped in it's tracks by actress-spy Rochelle Hudson and her Naval officer husband, he posing as a civilian. Together the two were doing espionage work primarily in Mexico posing as a vacationing couple in order to detect on the QT if there was any German or Japanese activity there. When they uncovered a supply of high octane aviation fuel stashed by German agents in Baja California and destroyed it, without the necessary fuel to implement the attack, the Germans had no other choice than abandoned the idea. For more see:



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