(CNN)Consider this job offer: A one-year contract to live and work in China, flying, repairing and making airplanes. Pay is as much as $13,700 a month with 30 days off a year. Housing is included and you’ll get an extra $550 a month for food. On top of that, there’s an extra $9,000 for every Japanese airplane you destroy — no limit. That’s the deal — in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars — that a few hundred Americans took in 1941 to become the heroes, and some would even say the saviors, of China. Those American pilots, mechanics and support personnel became members of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), later known as the Flying Tigers. The group’s American-made warplanes featured the gaping, tooth-filled mouth of a shark on their nose, a fearsome symbol still used on the US Air Force’s A-10 ground-attack jets to this day. Read More Flying Tiger pilot Robert T. Smith snapped this photo of his squadron in flight over China on May 28, 1942. The nose’s symbolic fierceness was backed up by its pilots in combat. The Flying Tigers are credited with destroying as many as 497 Japanese planes at a cost of only 73 of their own…. Read full this story
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