Father's nickname is "Lieutenant with a round face"

Huang Panyue
2023-11-06 16:05:32

On November 4, Clifford Long, Jr., a member of the delegation, showed a photo of his father during a visit to the Liuzhou Military Museum. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Wu Siyu

By Shao Yibo, Wu Siyu, Liang Shun

Nanning, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- My father's nickname is "Lieutenant with a round face."

In the Liuzhou Military Museum in Guangxi, a 1:1 replica of a U.S. fighter jet from World War II was surrounded by people. In the crowd, Clifford Long Jr., a descendant of the Flying Tigers, took out a photo of his father piloting this type of fighter from his pocket and told everyone the story of his father fighting side by side with the Chinese.

"My father's name was Clifford Long, and he had a better name back then – 'Lieutenant Round Face.'" Clifford Long Jr. said that his father was a skilled flyer, and when he flew at low altitudes, his face looked as round as the moon from the ground, so the local people affectionately called him "Lieutenant with a round face".

At the invitation of the Chinese Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, more than 30 veterans and descendants of the Flying Tigers recently visited China. From November 4th to 5th, the delegation came to Liuzhou, Guangxi Province to visit the relics of the Flying Tigers' Anti-Japanese War.

In 1941, a large number of young American pilots, led by General Chennault, formed the American Volunteer Air Force to fight against Japanese fascist aggression in China, and the Chinese called this unit the "Flying Tigers." In 1942, the Flying Tigers were stationed in Liuzhou one after another, and Liuzhou Airport became the main base for providing transit and logistics support for the Flying Tigers crews in various places.

"When my father came to China in 1944, he was only 19 years old, the youngest of the Flying Tigers." Clifford Long Jr. said that although his father was young, he had a lot of combat experience. "When he was about to start his 104th mission, his comrades took this photo for him."

Clifford Long Jr. looks at the photo and recalls a romantic story in which his father imprinted his mother's name on the bow of a fighter jet. Perhaps as luck would have been brought by his wife, Clifford Long survived a battle when he was hit by a Japanese plane.

On November 4, the members of the delegation visited the old airport and the former site of the city defense fortification group in Liuzhou. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Lu Boan

"My father loved China, and he formed a deep friendship with the Chinese people in the process of resisting the Japanese invaders." Clifford Long Jr. said that the origin of the nickname "Lieutenant Round Face" is a vivid example of that friendship between watchmen and people.

During the War of Resistance Against Japan, the Chinese and American pilots worked together to provide them with rescue at all costs, more than 200 pilots in distress were rescued, and thousands of Chinese people sacrificed their lives in rescue operations.

Chennault's granddaughter, Garland, told reporters that she used to hear her grandfather talk about that period of history. Liuzhou had been bombed by the Japanese army countless times, but after each bombing, the Chinese people quickly flattened the airport floor with tonnage of stone rolls to make it easier for planes to take off, she said. "Without the support of the Chinese people, it would be difficult for the Flying Tigers to achieve brilliant results."

"I have two Flying Tigers veterans with us this time, and I admire them." "As juniors, we should be the disseminators of the spirit of the Flying Tigers. ”

Clifford Long Jr. shows a photo of his father with a fighter plane

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