EXPIRED: 08/18/09 – Charles Bond Jr., 94, was shot down twice as a WW2 Flying Tiger pilot. Pissed off, he retaliated by shooting down 9 enemy planes. After the war he spent 3 weeks as a commercial pilot but found it boring. Ya think?
Bond retired as an Air Force major general and one of the last surviving Flying Tiger pilots of World War II. He was decorated by multiple governments for his military service and had more than 30 years of service. He then became a military consultant to Texas Instruments in Dallas, where he worked for 10 years.
He was born in Dallas and had wanted to fly since he was 15. He was an honor student and Golden Gloves boxing champion at school, and wanted to study engineering, but like many families in the Great Depression, college was out of the question.
So he joined the Texas National Guard in 1932 and later entered the Army hoping to qualify for an admissions program to the Military Academy at West Point. Instead, he was commissioned into the Army Air Forces in 1939.
In 1941, he volunteered to serve in China as part of a secret program, the American Volunteer Group, later known as the Flying Tigers. Mr. Bond was already a bomber pilot but wanted to fly fighters, such as the P-40 Tomahawk.
While with the Flying Tigers he was shot down twice. The first time, he parachuted, while on fire, into a cemetery and ran to a creek, where he rolled to put out the flames. He was hospitalized, but returned to combat immediately. A month later he was shot down again. This time he received head injuries and carried shrapnel in his head the rest of his life. Still, he was back in action a week later.
After serving with the Flying Tigers, Bond briefly sampled civilian life, but he found it boring. Being a commercial pilot was so stifling he lasted 3 weeks.