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Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum: Hole 14 – The Flying Tigers
Hole 14 is sponsored by:
One of the most unique and legendary units of the Second World War, the First American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as “The Flying Tigers,” wreaked havoc on the Japanese from 1941 to 1942. The Flying Tigers owe their formation largely to one man, Claire L. Chennault, who had been an aviation advisor in China since 1937. China had been pleading for US aid as the Japanese continued their years-long offensives into China.
By early 1941 Chennault secured 100 Curtis P-40 fighters and recruited 100 pilots who now had to be classified as “civilians” since the US was not yet at war with Japan. The Pilots were not considered American combat troops, and were paid by the Chinese Government under Chiang Kai-Shek. That fall, the Flying Tigers shipped out from Burma.
On December 20th, the AVG flew their first mission attacking Japanese bombers. Throughout December and January, the Flying Tigers continued intercepting bombers and engaging with Japanese fighters, but their combat strength gradually dwindled due to attrition. Though only 10 P-40’s were left by mid-February, the Flying Tigers exacted a disproportionate toll on the Japanese, credited with downing 297 sircraft while losing a mere 16 pilots of their own, and earning 19 Flying Tigers pilots the status of Ace.
Despite their best efforts, the poorly supplied and comparably small AVG could not hold off the Japanese onslaught, and they were forced to leave Burma and retreat into China in late March. With the US now launching attacks against Japanese-held territory, the Flying Tigers were disbanded and incorporated into the 14th Air Force as official US combat pilots on July 4th, 1942.
Despite being small in numbers and constantly low on supplies, pilots and spare parts, the contribution of the Flying Tigers to victory in the Pacific was astounding. Their commander, Chennault remarked, “The American Volunteer Group had staved off China’s collapse.” The Flying Tigers were a unit of incredible heroism, bravery, and combat effectiveness and deserve to be remembered among the greatest fighting forces of World War II.
Vocabulary Word: Flying Ace – First coined in 1915 during World War I, a flying Ace is one who is credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft. The top scoring ace of World War II was Luftwaffe pilot Erich Hartmann, who downed an astounding 352 aircraft, and still holds the record as the top scoring ace of all time.Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum
This hole is dedicated to Captain Lynn F. Jones
14th Air Force 1st Pursuit, 23rd Fighter Group 74th Squadron P-40 Ace fighter pilot. Lynn F. Jones of South Texas joined the Army Air Corps in April , 1941 for flight training school, Lynn and 75 of his comrades would resign their commissions to ferry planes for Pan American Airways (P-40 & P-39’s) as part of the Lend Lease program for Britain, but then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 and the US declared war on Japan, thus changing Lynn’s plans.
In August 1942, just one month after the American Volunteer Group (AVG), the Flying Tigers were disbanded and became U.S. Air Corps pilots (not hired pilots by Chinese Nationalists leader Chiang Kai Shek). Lynn joined the 14th Air Force 1st Pursuit Squadron, lead by an original AVG Flying Tigers P-40 Ace Frank Schiel, which retained the The Flying Tigers name. Prior to July 1942, Army Air Corps pilots resigned their commission to volunteer to fight the Japanese.
Based in Kunming, China, Lynn earned his first aerial victory, downing a Type-97 twin engine bomber designated “Sally” by US airmen. His next two victories were against Japan’s finest, the famed Zero, land-based Imperial Army versions, the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar”. He was promoted to Captain shortly after. In December 1943, he scored his fourth aerial victory against an Aichi D3A Type 99 “Val” dive bomber, the same model that sank the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Lynn scored his fifth aerial victory against a third Oscar, remarkable in that the P-40 was outclassed in speed and mobility, a testament to Lynn’s advanced training and aviation skills. Another feat was his sinking of a Japanese freighter near Amoy, China. Never before had a P-40 “skipped” a 500 pound bomb to sink a vessel. His detailed report was adopted into the Army Air Corps manual of skip bombing tactics.
After the war Lynn settled in Mission, TX to raise his family and became a successful farmer.
He is predeceased by his daughter Deanna J. Box and survived by his wife Barbara, two sons Greg, Whitney and daughter Candice, plus a “score” of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Recipient of combat awards: the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
1920-2017Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum
The Flying Tigers were certainly an honorable group to fight in World War II as volunteers! This hole pays tribute to them by including the Army Air Corps insignia as the hole. The cup is centered of the red circle inside the white star inside the even larger blue circle. The hole is more or less a relatively straight putt with a slight break to the right and a uphill.
Mister Mini Golf Pro Tips
Keep a smooth putt and try to stick to the left of the flag. This hole has one of the best chances for an “Ace” on the course.
ADA Accessibility Notes: ADA compliant pathways are installed to allow for 9 holes of accessible play.
For more details on course accessibility, always check in with a course you are visiting as they may be able to do additional accommodations. In addition, a great resource is the ADA Checklist for Miniature Golf Courses.
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