Lt. COL GREGORY 'PAPPY' BOYINGTON
One of the greatest American aces of World War II, Colonel Boyington was awarded the Navy Cross and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He had more confirmed kills at 28, than any other marine pilot. His career began with the Flying Tigers, the legendary American expeditionary force culled from various flying units, and which was sent to China to fight the Japanese. Known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), these pilots flew for a short time in early 1942, and became immediately famous. With the nation reeling from Pearl Harbor, The Flying Tigers were the only Americans truly in the fight, and the press scrambled for every word about their exploits. Boyington rose quickly to squadron leader, and when the Tigers were disbanded, he received permission to put together a squadron of stragglers and others who had become separated from their units. In August of 1943, 27 young men under "Pappy", formed the original "Black Sheep" squadron. In just 84 days he and his men had ammassed an impressive record of 197 planes damaged or destroyed. His career ended on Jan 3, 1944 when, heavily outnumbered he was shot down in a dog fight. He was plucked from the sae by a Japanese submarine which failed to report his capture and spent the rest of the war enduring torture and other mistreatments for which the Japanese were well known.