陈纳德 (Chén Nàdé), also known as Claire Lee Chennault, is one of China’s most well-known war heroes.
Born in Texas, he made his career as a fighter pilot. Although retired early for health reasons, he went to China as a volunteer when the country was invaded by Japan in 1937, reporting to Sòng Mĕilíng, the wife of President Chiang Kai-shek.
Chennault started training Chinese pilots and soon became the leader of the Flying Tigers - an American air unit credited with popularizing the fighter jets with painted shark’s heads. They took to the skies shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and played an important part in China’s defense.
“Old Leatherface”, as he was also called, famously married the young journalist from the Chinese news agency who was covering his war effort.
Chennault remains an icon in the history of US-Chinese relations.
Postwar happy ending. Kunming Flying Tigers Museum