Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Chennaults in:
 • Garden of Memories Cemetery
 • Sweetwater
 • Nolan County
 • Texas
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Gen Claire Lee Chennault
Birth: Sep. 6, 1893
Commerce
Hunt County
Texas, USA
Death: Jul. 27, 1958
New Orleans
Orleans Parish
Louisiana, USA

Military Aviator. He is best remembered as the leader of the Flying Tigers, an all volunteer service in China fighting the Japanese before the United States entered World War II. When the US entered the war, he took command of all Allied Air Forces in the Far East. Born in Commerce, Texas, the son of John Stonewall Jackson and Jessie Lee Chennault, he was raised in Waterproof, Louisiana. Chennault attended Louisiana State University, where he also took ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) training, then one of the easiest ways to obtain an Army commission. During World War I, he volunteered for the newly created Army Air Service, and was taught to fly. Remaining in the Army after the World War, he transferred into the Air Corps, and became Chief of the Pursuit Section at the Air Corps Tactical School in the 1930s. In June 1937, Chennault retired after disputes with his superiors, and joined a group of American civilians training Chinese Airmen to fight in the Sino-Japanese War, which had just broken out into full-scale warfare. Very quickly he became an "air advisor" to the Kuomintang Government President, General Chiang Kai-shek. Realizing that the Japanese would not end the war until they conquered all of China, Chennault began raising an International Group of Aviators to defend the China, calling it the All Volunteer Force (AVG). They would fly aircraft with Chinese markings, and were officially serving as the Chinese Air Force. Chennault would recruit up to 300 volunteers, mostly Americans, to serve as pilots and ground crews. They would fight with whatever aircraft they could convince countries or manufacturers to sell them. Many governments, while sympathetic to China's cause, did not want to antagonize Japan by selling war goods to Japan's enemies, and stayed officially neutral. In 1940, Chennault was able to convince President Franklin Roosevelt to sell Curtis P-40 Tomahawks, then considered a very good fighter plane, to the Chinese under the Lend-Lease Act. Since the tiger was an emblem of fear to the Japanese and an emblem of good luck to the Chinese, Chennault had a tiger's mouth painted on the front cowling of his P-40 fighters, leading the press to dub the unit "The Flying Tigers." The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG), as they were by then officially known, fought the Japanese for nearly a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Chiang Kai-shek would make Chennault Commander of the Chinese Air Force. Once the United States entered World War II, Chennault was offered a commission in the US Army Air Force as a Colonel, and made Commander of the 14th US Air Force, which incorporated the 1st AVG. Eventually, he commanded all US Air Forces in the Far East. Chennault was promoted twice during the war, to Major General. During the war, Chennault would often dispute war strategy with the other leading American general in China, MG Joseph Stilwell. Stilwell wanted Chennault's aircraft to defend the construction of the Burma Road, and support British operations in Burma, while Chennault favored supporting the Chinese Army in attacking the Japanese. When the war ended, Chennault purchased several surplus military aircraft and created the Civil Air Transport (later to become Air America), to support the Nationalist Chinese during the restart of their war against the Chinese Communists. Firmly anti-communist, Chennault's CAT would also support French forces in Indochina during the French Indo-Chinese War, the Nationalist Chinese occupation of Northern Burma during the 1950s, and the government of Thailand. In 1951, again retired, MG Chennault testified before a Senate Joint Committee that was investigating why Nationalist China had fallen to communist forces in 1949. Chennault was frank and outspoken, pointing out that the Truman Administration's arms embargo was a key factor in the loss of China. In 1957, Chennault contracted lung cancer, and had one lung surgically removed. But the cancer moved into his other lung, and shortly before he died, he was given an honorary promotion to Lieutenant General, in recognition of his wartime service. Chennault is remembered by the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a war hero, and is honored with a statue in the capital city, Taipei. He also has a statue honoring him on the grounds of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The US Air Force named a base after him, Chennault Air Force Base, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is now demilitarized and has been renamed Chennault International Airport. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
 
Inscription:
In memory of a pure patriot, his role in life was to serve his United States as a military man against her enemies. Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault, Memorial Day 1991
 
Burial:
Garden of Memories Cemetery *
Sweetwater
Nolan County
Texas, USA
Plot: Section 2, Block 2
*Cenotaph [?]
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Janie Healer Davis
Record added: Nov 06, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16489862
Gen Claire Lee Chennault
Added by: Anonymous
 
Gen Claire Lee Chennault
Added by: Janie Healer Davis
 
Gen Claire Lee Chennault
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Janie Healer Davis
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Heavenly birthday blessings, sir...
-Anonymous
 Added: Sep. 6, 2014
Happy Birthday
- Mike Caldwell
 Added: Sep. 6, 2014

- elaine bailey
 Added: Sep. 6, 2014
There are 16 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.7 after 26 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service