Famous World War II heroes visit Fort Benning - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Famous World War II heroes visit Fort Benning


Heroes from American history were in our backyard Friday.

Four of the six surviving members of a legendary World War II fighting force visited the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning.

The Flying Tigers were in town to answer questions and sign autographs for the public. These servicemen are unique in that their most famous accomplishments occurred when they were not officially part of the U.S. military.

Before Pearl Harbor, the United States was on the fence about getting involved in World War II, but China still needed our help. These pilots and crew volunteered to fight in the skies over Asia as mercenaries before America officially declared war.

"My fondest memory was Christmas Day of 1941, when we destroyed the Japanese Air Force over Rangoon, Burma," said Joe Poshefko, Flying Tigers armaments chief. We didn't lose a single combat pilot that day. We got at least 24 Japanese planes; we shot them down."

There were less than 100 pilots in the group and they were consistently outnumbered. In spite of that, they never lost a single air battle. They did a lot for the morale of the country at a time when Axis powers were at their height and the future of the entire world was very uncertain.

Also part of Friday's event was a presentation of quilts to the veterans by the Quilts of Valor Foundation. They are a non-profit organization that sews personalized quilts for combat service members.

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