Edward F. Rector
|Edward F. Rector|
Edward F. Rector
Gathering of Eagles 2000 Lithograph
September 28, 1916|
Marshall, North Carolina
|Died||April 26, 2001
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
|Buried||Arlington National Cemetery|
||United States Navy
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1939–1962|
|Commands held||23rd Fighter Group
76th Fighter Squadron
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Order of the Cloud and Banner (China)
Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
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. 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.
On December 10, 1941 Rector was part of a 3 plane photo reconnaissance mission from Rangoon to Bangkok. On December 20 when the Flying Tigers engaged in combat for the first time 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. 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.
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. He died April 26, 2001, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after suffering a heart attack and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- Glaess, Andy. "Christman biography". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force.
- Rossi, J.R. (1998). "History: The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force". AVG.
- Shilling, Erik. ""Destiny – A Flying Tiger's Rendezvous With Fate" December 10, 1941, Toungoo, Burma". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force.
- Older, Chuck (1980s). "Hammerhead Stalls and Snap Rolls". The Flying Tigers – American Volunteer Group – Chinese Air Force.
- Hill, "Tex" Hill: Flying Tiger, p. 64
- Gathering of Eagles Biography Retrieved June 3, 2008
- Arlington Cemetery Burial Retrieved January 28, 2008
- Hill, David Lee; Schaupp, R. (2003). "Tex Hill": Flying Tiger. Honoribus Press. ISBN 1-885354-15-0.
- Rossi, J.R. "AVG American Volunteer Group - Flying Tigers".