China visit underscores flying tigers' legacy

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-13 07:31
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Harry Moyer (left in the center row), a Flying Tigers veteran, and other members of the delegation watch a performance in Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Risky flights

David Goodrich is the son of Flying Tigers pilot Jack Goodrich, one of the few remaining "Hump Pilots".

"These pilots flew from Burma (now Myanmar) into Kunming over the Himalayas to deliver fuel, ammunition and other supplies that the Chinese people needed to resist the Japanese," David Goodrich said.

When he was a boy, his father told him funny children's bedtime stories, but it wasn't until he was much older that he heard stories that were more related to the war.

Goodrich said that when his father's plane was heavily loaded with supplies, it was sometimes challenging to fly over mountain peaks in extreme weather conditions.

"He talked about horrible electrical storms, and in those days, they didn't have radar or technology such as GPS. They flew by instruments, but as lightning would affect the instruments, they had to fly by sight," he said.

"My father often told me that the friendships forged between the Chinese and Americans during battle were the strongest friendships, and that he is proud that those friendships still exist today."

His father told him how friendly and warm the Chinese people are and how beautiful the country is. "That's why it's long been a dream for me to come and see the Chinese people in their homeland," Goodrich said.

"My impression (of China) was maybe gained mostly from television or movies, so to see the country for myself was overwhelming."

Discussing ways to better engage the younger generation from both nations, he said, "Schools now are different to when I was a schoolboy, because you can do so many things online, but I still think that nothing actually beats coming to China and meeting the people.

"We need to see each other face to face, tell our stories and share our common goals, and I also believe that we all want to live in a world of peace and need to let each other know that this is what is the most important."

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