WITH  THE FLAG OF FREE CHINA UPON HIS BACK, HE DIED IN A GREAT SKY BATTLE

By Sgt. Marion Hargrove

YANK Staff Correspondent

SOMEWHERE IN CHINA—There was a great battle in the sky and the people stopped their work to lok at it. And then the battle moved away until there was nothing left of it but one plane of the Mei-Kua fi chi (The American flyers), with its large white star and the red border around it, the two planes of the Japanese devils, the Yi Bin Kwe-Tse. There was much shooting and then the first and then the second of the Japanese planes fell to earth with much smoke and great noise.



CBI b24 liberator P40 warhawk china

A B-24D Liberator of the 308th Bomb Group flies over P-40K Warhawks of the 23rd Fighter group in China.

And after this had happened the people saw that the little plane of the Mei-Kua was also greatly harmed. There was much noise such as one hears from trucks on the great road when they are using gasoline of pine roots and there are too many yellowfish riding on the top of the load. And finally the Mei-kua came down to the earth, not smoothly but with a heavy crash, so that the great body of the plane was crumpled and the wide wings were twisted and bent.

And the people found in the wreckage of the plane the fi chi who had driven it in the air and the beaten Yi Bin Kwe-Tse. He was tall and large, as are all the Mei-kua, and on the shoulders of his jacket were two narrow strips of white embroidery and on his back was a sewn on flag of China, with the white sun of Kua Min Tang in the corner, and the chop of the Gissimo himself was stamped below the writing that said this was one of the men who had come from across the wide waters to help drive the Yi Bin Kwe-Tse from the soil of China.



china CBI hump pilot blood chit

Chinese soldiers inspect the blood chit on the back of an American pilot in the CBI

The people took him up gently and carried him to a house and attended to his wounds, although they knew he could not live for long. For his arm and his leg were broken and there were many wounds made by bullets of the Yi Bin Kwe-Tse and his stomach was torn so that the guts of the man could be seen within it. But they did what they could to make him comfortable, although the Mei-Kua fi chi  knew as well as they that he could not live for long.

And while they did the little that they could for him, he laughed with them and made jests in a poor and awkward Chinese that they could not understand, for it was not the Chinese spoken in that village. But they could understand his labored laugh and they could see the greatness and the goodness and the strength and the dignity of the dying man.

And when he was dead, this man with the flag of Free China upon his back, they wrapped his body in white, for white is the color of the honored dead, and they laid it in the finest coffin in the village and they placed the coffin upon a barge in the river to take it to the people who would return it to the great General of the Mei-Kua fi chi, Ch’e Ne T’e, and the others of the Mei-Kua.



And in a box beside the coffin they put the clothing they had removed from him when he was in pain, and with the clothing they put the things that had been in his pockets. They put the little leather case with his money, and the pieces of heavy paper with his picture and the other pictures of the woman and the two children, the Mei-Kua cigarettes and the little silver box of self-arriving fire, the two metal plates on a little chain, the knife that folded within itself and the small brown Mei-Kua coin with the picture of a bearded man upon it.

And the news ran quickly all along the river that the dead hero was returning to his people. And all of the villagers along the river and all of the people who lived in the sampans tied along the banks of the river waited to see the barge go slowly by. And whenever it passed, the people lit long strings of firecrackers and honored the Mei-Kua fi chi who had fought for China and laughed and jested and died as a hero should.



 For More on the USAAF in the CBI Check Out:

Flying Tiger: The True Story Of General Claire Chennault And The U.S. 14Th Air Force In China


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