AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - Team Moody celebrated its storied history with
past and present members of the Flying Tigers during a reunion here
November 13-15, 2014.
This year, three of the original Flying
Tigers from World War II were able to attend the reunion. Don
Miller, Frank Epperson, and J.M. Taylor were among nearly 300 Flying
Tigers who gathered in Valdosta to celebrate their heritage. Miller,
Epperson and Taylor flew P-40s and P-51s in China during World War
Col. Chad Franks, 23rd Wing commander, welcomed and
thanked everyone for attending the event during the kickoff ceremony
in the fuels hangar.
"All the Flying Tigers who are here
today, that is what it's all about," Franks said. "Getting all of
you back together and telling some war stories ... and they don't
all have to be true. Ten percent is the rule I think we're going
for," he joked.
On a serious note, Franks expressed the
importance of coming together to learn about the unit's history and
to celebrate the accomplishments of all Flying Tigers from World War
II to present-day combat operations.
The group toured static
display aircraft, received unit capabilities briefings, viewed a
combat search and rescue demonstration by the 347th Rescue Group and
the 23rd Fighter Group, and gathered for a dedication of Moody's
P-40 pavilion in memory of retired Lt. Col. Robert "Muck" Brown, an
A-10 pilot who passed way in March 2014.
Miller said his
favorite part about the reunions is "... just everybody coming
together. Honestly I came because the other two guys weren't going
to beat me. I picture myself as the foundation of the guys, at least
the information bit. As the newsletter editor and past 75th
association president, I try to keep them all together."
Epperson, his friend and wingman, chimed in with "seeing all of your
old friends and classmates and people you flew alongside is worth
The reunion concluded with a formal banquet in
downtown Valdosta, and opportunities for golf and skeet shooting
over the weekend.
23rd Fighter Group traces its roots back to the 23rd Pursuit Group
(Interceptor), constituted at Langley Field, Virginia, Dec. 17,
1941, just 10 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Claire L. Chennault had been recalled to active duty with the
rank of brigadier general and placed at the head of the China Air
Task Force (later to become 14th Air Force). The 23rd FG, a
component of the CATF, was assigned three squadrons: The 74th, 75th
and 76th. These three fighter squadrons are today based at Moody.
The group's aircraft have evolved from the P-40
Warhawk, which lacked gun sights or bomb racks, to the current A-10C
The group was nicknamed the "Flying Tigers"
and became famous for the shark teeth painted on the P-40, which
were thought to intimidate enemies. Air Force A-10Cs still bear the
infamous teeth to this day.
After World War II, the Flying
Tigers were inactivated and reactivated several times, flying
different fighter aircraft at different locations before being
reactivated as the 23rd Wing at Moody in 2006.
which began in 1946, provide an opportunity for Flying Tigers, past
and present, to get together, celebrate their heritage, and share
Courtesy of U.S. Air Force 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Moody Air Force Base
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