|Claire Chennault poses in front of a P-40 aircraft|
J.V. “Jay” Vinyard, an 89-year-old former member of the “Flying Tigers,” and Nell Calloway, granddaughter of General Claire Chennault, who led the legendary air squadrons during World War II, are both laughing away. Sitting next to them on the sofa is an unlikely figure: The military-attired man, who is looking with amusement at a photograph, is General Liang Guanglie (梁光烈), minister of national defense for the People’s Republic of China.
Why Liang, along with the other officers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who accompanied him at the meeting in Arlington, Virginia, earlier this month, does not belong there, and why Chennault would likely have bristled at their presence during the meet-up, is that they are representatives of a government that he fought to the end. For when he died in July 1958, Claire Chennault was anti-communist to the absolute core.
My op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here, with excerpts from an interview I had with Chennault’s granddaughter, and lots more on Huawei’s role at a museum honoring the famous aviator in Louisiana.