|Birth: ||Aug. 19, 1915|
|Death: ||Nov. 1, 1987|
Before joining the American Volunteer Group (The Flying Tigers), under General Claire Chennault, Bishop served four years as an aviator in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy in 1937, and entered the naval air station, Pensacola, Florida, as an aviation cadet in the fall of that year. He was graduated and designated a naval aviator in September, 1938, and ordered to active duty in the U.S. fleet aboard the U.S.S. West Virginia, where he served two years. He then was detached and ordered to Pensacola, Florida, as an instructor in flying. He resigned from the Navy as an Ensign in August 1941. On September 24, 1941, he sailed from San Francisco with other volunteers including Dick Rossi and Charlie Bond. He reported to General Chennault in Toungoo, Burma, the training base of the Flying Tigers, on November 12, two weeks before his first daughter was born in Pensacola.
While bombing Japanese rail communications on May 17, 1942, his plane was shot down and he was forced to bail out. A high wind carried his parachute across the Indo-China border (Vietnam), and he was picked up by French authorities who shortly turned him over to the Japanese. He was a Japanese prisoner in China for just about three years.
For the first year, he was held mostly in solitary confinement as a political prisoner (Bridgehouse Jail). After he nearly died from malnutrition and beatings, and after endless interrogations, he was finally transferred to a regular POW camp (Kiangwan POW Campo) where fellow prisoners nursed him back to health. Two years later, the Japanese were transferring prisoners to northern China near Peiping. Bishop and four Marines escaped from the prison train on May 10, 1945. They made their way back through enemy territory to Kunming. Their journey, which took over 40 days, was made possible with assistance from Communist Chinese guerillas. The final leg of the journey was by plane, and he was invited to take the controls for first time in three years.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for "meritorious achievement while interned as a prisoner of war in China." Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly made the presentation at Third Naval District Building, New York City on April 8, 1947.
Lew was an Ace with the flying Tigers and scored 5.2 Victories
Created by: Loren Bender
Record added: Sep 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42123364