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ROAR OF THE TIGER by James H. Howard


From Flying Tigers to Mustangs--A Fighter Ace's Memoir

by James H. Howard

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-517-57323-7
Publisher: Crown

 The salty recollections of a fighter pilot who not only became an ace in the unfriendly skies of two WW II theaters but also won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Trained as a Navy pilot after graduating from Pomona College, Howard volunteered to serve with the Flying Tigers well before Pearl Harbor. In combat over Southeast Asia, he was credited with shooting down over a half-dozen Japanese planes. Though an admirer of results-minded Claire Chennault, Howard has less fond memories of his storied comrades in arms (notably, Greg Boyington), US diplomats (who accepted Chinese Communists at their word, i.e., as agrarian reformers), and officious squadron leaders. Nor did Howard much care for the British bureaucrats who insisted he obtain a license to overfly war-torn Burma. At any rate, once the Tigers disbanded, Howard wound up as a group commander in the Ninth Air Force, first in England and later in Europe. There, on a mission early in 1943, he came to the rescue of a defenseless American bomber flotilla; he single-handedly fought off an estimated 30 Luftwaffe pursuit planes, earning himself the nation's highest award for valor. The author soldiered on through D-day and beyond. He was mustered back to the States before the Battle of the Bulge, though, to help train airmen for an invasion of Japan. Never having thought of the military as aught but a youthful adventure, Howard eventually resigned his commission and (at 31) gave civilian life a try. While successful, his adjustment was apparently not easy; however, that's another story. A low-key but dead-honest memoir: fine fare for fans of military history on a personal level. (Sixteen pages of photographs--not seen.)