Photo: J.M. Taylor, World War II veteran and prisoner of war, watches a combat search and rescue demonstration during the 75th Anniversary Flying Tiger Reunion, March 10, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

Taylor Attends Annual Flying Tiger Reunion

A Hardeman County man was one of two original Flying Tigers from World War II to attend the Flying Tiger Reunion at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, March 9-11.
J.M. Taylor, who flew P-40s and P-51s in China attended the reunion.
“I can’t tell you how many reunions I’ve been to, maybe 30 through the years, but I can tell you how many I’ve missed, only about five or six, due to health reasons, “said J. M. Taylor, former 75th Pursuit Squadron pilot and WWII POW. “I’m very grateful and I honor those that have passed on before me.
“I don’t know why, but I feel really blessed that the Lord has given me the life I’ve had and the health that I’ve enjoyed. The Flying Tigers have a lot of camaraderie. I’m thankful for the recognition and the opportunity to express my feelings and experiences just one more time.”
Taylor and current Flying Tigers boast that there isn’t another unit or squadron in the entire Air Force that has the lineage of the Flying Tigers.
“I remember it well … on July the 4th, 1942, the 23d Fighter Group was born,” said Taylor. “And we were born on the battlefield. Over the years, we have been activated, deactivated and reactivated but always reactivated and we’re proud of that. I wear my tiger shark with pride. I am a Flying Tiger.
“I don’t know of a soul, who was disappointed that they were assigned to the tigers,” Taylor added. “Just the name Flying Tiger, more so than any other groups, from WWII to now, is the most recognized of over any other group.”
Taylor attributes desire, fortitude and determination for what keeps him coming back to reunions year after year and when the 94 year-old POW was asked what advice he had for the younger generation of Flying Tigers, Taylor responded with a chuckle, “Fly low and slow and don’t get captured.”
The reunion marked the 75th anniversary of Claire Chennault’s all volunteer group and gave attendees the opportunity to celebrate their heritage and share war stories among four generations of Flying Tigers.

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