Segments in this Video

David Lee "Tex" Hill: Introduction (01:16)


Hill learned to fly in the Navy and joined the American Volunteer Group in China. He became an ace, commanded the first American jet fighter squadron, and was the youngest general in the Air National Guard.

Hill's Early Years (03:51)

Hill, the son of a missionary, was born in Korea in 1915 and grew up in the U.S. He recalls living in San Antonio, Texas and the presence of pilot cadets in his home. Hill developed a love of aviation at an early age, attended military school, and joined the Navy.

Early Military Career (02:59)

Hill graduated from NAS Pensacola, was assigned to a torpedo squadron and then a dive bomber squadron on the U.S.S. Ranger. Commander Irvine explained the need for pilots in China and the American Volunteer Group; Hill decided to join. Hill helped patrol shipping lanes until Irvine returned with a contract.

America's Early Position (01:54)

The American Volunteer Group (AVG) was not officially recognized by the U.S. but had the approval of President Roosevelt. Roosevelt implemented several programs to help allies while maintaining neutrality; funding was minimal.

Civilian Status (02:22)

Hill recalls patrolling Atlantic trade routes. When the U.S.S. Ranger returned to port, Hill and three other pilots resigned their commissions and signed contracts for the AVG.

American Volunteer Group (02:55)

Hill and other pilots assembled for training in Burma under the command of Claire Lee Chennault; Hill recalls his tactical lectures. Hill was assigned to the second squadron, the "Panda Bears." The first and second squadrons engaged enemy aircraft near Kunming and shot down four aircraft.

Flying Tigers (03:01)

The AVG changed the balance of power in China. Hill became an ace in just over a month of combat missions; he was promoted to Second Squadron Commander. Hill and the AVG flew continuous missions in Salween Gorge, halting the Japanese advance in China.

Command Positions (03:00)

In July 1942, the American military arrived and Chennault disbanded the Flying Tigers; Hill joined the Army Air Corps. He was promoted to major, joined the 23rd Fighter Group, and was commander of the 75th Fighter Squadron. Hill spent time in the U.S. before leading the attack on Formosa Strait.

Later Military Career (01:27)

Hill recorded over 18 kills and received several commendations. In 1944, he commanded the 412th fighter Group. He resigned his Air Force commission in 1946 and joined the Texas Air National Guard; he retired from the military in 1968.

Credits: Legends of Air Power: David Lee "Tex" Hill (00:29)

Credits: Legends of Air Power: David Lee "Tex" Hill

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Legends of Air Power: David Lee "Tex" Hill

Part of the Series : Legends of Air Power
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David Lee “Tex” Hill was recruited to the American Volunteer Group, the group known as the Flying Tigers, in 1941. Under the leadership of General Claire Chennault, Hill was one of the top aces in the unit. After the deactivation of the Flying Tigers, Hill went on to fight with the 23rd Fighter Group, as well as the 75th Fighter Group. Throughout his career, he destroyed 18 plus enemy aircraft, one of them being the first Zero shot down by a P-51. He continued to fight through the end of WWII and in 1946, he joined the Air National Guard as the youngest Brigadier General in the service’s history.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL129042

ISBN: 978-1-64023-490-1

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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