General Claire Lee Chennault (1890-1958) was both a pioneer and a genius when it came to the development of fighter tactics. In the period between the World Wars, American aviation thinking had emphasized bombers and bomber doctrine, while the development of a fighter force and fighter tactics was downplayed. General Chennault was one of the few who perceived the potential of the fighter.
Claire Chennault was a veteran pilot of the First World War, having served in the 19th Pursuit Squadron. Later he became a member of a famous Army flying acrobatic team, and also served as the Army's chief of fighter training. Because of a hearing problem, he retired from the Army Air Force in 1937.
In early 1941, he recruited a group of American fliers to fly for the Chinese in their struggle with the invading Japanese. This group was officially known as the American Volunteer Group (the AVG), but soon became legendary as The Flying Tigersa name given to them by the Chinese. Between the periods of 20 December 1941 and 4 July 1942, The Flying Tigers demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces, and, during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces, gave hope to America that it might eventually defeat the Japanese