Edward F. Rector

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Edward F. Rector
Edward F Rector.jpg
Edward F. Rector
Gathering of Eagles 2000 Lithograph
Nickname(s) Ed
Born (1916-09-28)September 28, 1916
Marshall, North Carolina
Died April 26, 2001(2001-04-26) (aged 84)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Buried Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Years of service 1939–1962
Rank Colonel
Commands held 23rd Fighter Group
76th Fighter Squadron
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal
Order of the Cloud and Banner (China)
Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
Other work Consultant

Edward Franklin Rector (September 28, 1916 – April 26, 2001) was a colonel in the United States Air Force, a fighter ace of World War II, and a member of the Flying Tigers.

Early years[edit]

Rector, a native of Marshall, North Carolina, graduated from Catawba College in 1938 and began his military career as a naval aviator. He was a carrier pilot on the USS Ranger, based in Norfolk, when he was recruited for the American Volunteer Group, the official name of the Flying Tigers.[1] The unit was formed with the financial backing of the Chinese government to help defend the Burma Road and Chinese cities from Japanese attack before the United States entered World War II.[2]

At war[edit]

On December 10, 1941 Rector was part of a 3 plane photo reconnaissance mission from Rangoon to Bangkok.[3] On December 20 when the Flying Tigers engaged in combat for the first time[4] during a raid by Hanoi-based Japanese aircraft on the Chinese city of Kunming, Rector provided the American Volunteer Group with its first aerial victory and would later record the last in a long list of 23rd Fighter Group air-to-air kills.[5] In May 1942, he played a critical role in locating and attacking Japanese military columns attempting a push into China at the Salween River Gorge. This allowed the Chinese time to blow up a key bridge across the river, and the Japanese subsequently retreated into Burma. Rector was credited with having destroyed 10.5 Japanese aircraft in aerial combat during the war.

Later years[edit]

Rector retired from the United States Air Force in 1962 as a colonel and had a second career in the aviation industry as a consultant in India, North Africa, and Europe.[6] He died April 26, 2001, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after suffering a heart attack and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ Glaess, Andy. "Christman biography". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force. 
  2. ^ Rossi, J.R. (1998). "History: The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force". AVG. 
  3. ^ Shilling, Erik. ""Destiny – A Flying Tiger's Rendezvous With Fate" December 10, 1941, Toungoo, Burma". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force. 
  4. ^ Older, Chuck (1980s). "Hammerhead Stalls and Snap Rolls". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force. 
  5. ^ Hill, "Tex" Hill: Flying Tiger, p. 64
  6. ^ Gathering of Eagles Biography Retrieved June 3, 2008
  7. ^ Arlington Cemetery Burial Retrieved January 28, 2008


External links[edit]