This collection contains 88 photographs, primarily of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, both before and after assembly in Rangoon. There are also photos of the American Volunteer Group, as well as of other aircraft, namely the Bristol Blenheim Bomber, Fleet Model 10, the Douglas DC-3, and several of the Lockheed 10 Electra. Most of the photographs were taken by Pentecost, except for five which are Curtiss-Wright photos simply furnished by Pentecost. There is at least one photograph of Walter Pentecost himself. Only approximately 10 of the photos are dated (1941), and a number of them do not list a location. Most, however, note Rangoon as the location, with some taken in Loiwing, China and its surrounding area.
Biographical / Historical:
Walter W. 'Penny' Pentecost's involvement in the world of aviation spanned the greater part of his lifetime. Following a stint as a barnstormer in the 1920s, Pentecost studied engineering at Purdue University. While working at North American Aviation as an Allison engine specialist, he was hired by the Intercontinent Corporation as an 'advance man' for the American Volunteer Group (a.k.a. the Flying Tigers). He was stationed in Rangoon, Burma between May and November of 1941 to oversee the assembly of approximately 100 Flying Tiger Curtiss P-40 Warhawks that were shipped to that nation for the Flying Tigers' mission to defend the Burma Road. Following this mission, Pentecost was sent to Loiwing, China, where he became involved with locating and refurbishing downed combat aircraft, and rescuing reusable parts that could be used to reconstruct other airplanes. Upon his return to the United States, Pentecost worked as a flight test engineer for combat airplanes, and as a service engineer for the Nike Zeus missile system. He also spent time as a project engineer for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and assisted with NASA's Sky Lab.
Walter W. Pentecost, gift, 1982, XXXX-0567, unknown
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This collection consists of 74 modern 8 x 10 inch gelatin-silver print photographs and 41 digital image files (black and white and color) copied from photographs of the 16th Fighter Squadron and related subjects taken in 1944 by Kuo Ching "K. C." Li, Jr., a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighter pilot assigned to the unit. Subjects include squadron personnel, aircraft, and local scenes in China. Several portraits of Li and his North American P-51 Mustang "The Vicious Virgin" are included.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 74 modern 8 x 10 inch gelatin-silver print photographs and 41 digital image files (black and white and color) copied from photographs of the 16th Fighter Squadron and related subjects taken in 1944 by Kuo Ching "K. C." Li, Jr. Subjects include identified portraits of squadron personnel, aircraft (including the Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Curtiss C-46 Commando, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, and the North American P-51C and P-51D Mustang) and several photographs of other squadrons (the 9th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron), and details of aircraft nose art. Several portraits of Li and his P-51 "The Vicious Virgin" are included. Places identified include Nanking, Chengkung and Kwelin, China.
The collection is divided into two series; Series 1 (Physical) consists of 74 print photographs arranged in their original order. Series 2 (Digital) consists of 41 digital image files grouped into three subject folders: Aircraft and Activities, Aircraft Nose Art, and Views of Local Area.
Biographical / Historical:
Kuo Ching "K. C." Li, Jr. was born in Glen Cove, New York, in 1921, the son of Dr. Li Kuo Ching. He attended Friends Academy, Locust Valley, New York, and Kent School in Connecticut. Li studied engineering at Cornell University before enlisting in the Army Air Forces in June, 1942. He received his training at Craig Army Airfield in Selma, Alabama, in December, 1943. Li flew sixty-four missions in his P-51 Mustang "The Vicious Virgin," and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier's Medal, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. After the war, Li received a degree from Swarthmore College. Later, he took over management of his father's company, Wah Chang International Corporation, selling it to Teledyne Inc. (later known as Allegheny Technologies Incorporated) in 1967. Li later opened a restaurant, K.C.'s, on West 10th Street in New York City.
The 16th Fighter Squadron was constituted on November 20, 1940 as the 16th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor). Equipped initially with Curtiss P-40 fighters, the squadron was activated at Hamilton Field, California on January 15, 1941. Assigned to the Tenth Air Force, the squadron deployed to the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater in March 1942. The squadron initially defended the Indian terminus of the vital "Hump" airlift route over the Himalayas between India and China, operating from the Assam Valley of northeast India. The squadron flew strafing, bombing, reconnaissance, and patrol missions in support of Allied ground troops during a Japanese offensive in northern Burma in 1943. In October 1943, the 16th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force and redeployed to southeast China for the defense of the Chinese end of the Hump and the air bases in the Kunming area. In 1944, the squadron was reequipped with North American P-51 Mustangs. The squadron returned to India in the fall of 1945 and sailed for the United States in November. The 16th Fighter Squadron was deactivated on December 13, 1945.
Robert L. Liles, Gift, 2013, NASM.2013.0053
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