An unlined, unlabeled, khaki cotton twill jacket with four-pocket front, and integral waist belt belonging to AVG Flying Tigers pilot George L. Paxton. The fabric is in excellent condition, without any rips or tears, although there are a few minor stains scattered throughout, but most noticeably on the left breast pocket, right sleeve, and at the hem. The left breast has ten sewn-in metal grommets for affixing decorations (ribbon bars, pilot's wings, or medals), and the left shoulder has a rare powder blue silk and silver bullion embroidered American Volunteer Group ‘Flying Tiger’ unit patch. The patch is in excellent condition, but is only held by four stitches. The jacket has no other markings except for a very faint name stamped on the inside of the lower right pocket: “PAXTON” (George L. Paxton was the only AVG member with that last name).
The American Volunteer Group was formed by executive order in April of 1941, as an effort to aid the Nationalist Chinese in their fight against the Empire of Japan by giving them a corps of experienced pilots flying fairly modern aircraft. The 1st AVG flew Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and gained international fame as the “Flying Tigers.” The 1st AVG flew and fought as an independent arm until July of 1942, when it was disbanded and absorbed into the USAAF as the 23rd Fighter Group. George Paxton transferred into the AVG from the US Navy, having been assigned as a maritime patrol aviator with VP-44 flying out of San Diego previously. In the AVG, he flew as a P-40 flight leader, as well as serving as a staff officer, and is listed as one of the volunteers who stayed on for an extra two weeks while the AVG was absorbed by the USAAF. Afterwards, Paxton is listed as one of the contributors to “With General Chennault - The Story of the Flying Tigers” by Robert B. Hotz (1943). AVG items are extremely rare, and identified items even more so. This is a spectacular piece of history, and would make a splendid centerpiece to a Pacific War collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.