Mercury Sponsors 70th Anniversary Reunion of AVG Flying Tigers

Mercury Sponsors 70th Anniversary Reunion of AVG Flying Tigers

Flying Tigers

Cleveland, Ohio (September 4, 2011): Mercury Air Group was a sponsor of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) Flying Tigers’ 70th Anniversary Reunion over the Labor Day Weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. Mercury was founded in 1956 by three fighter pilots from the legendary Flying Tigers. The reunion included a Chinese Banquet, special recognition of the Flying Tigers at the Cleveland National Air Show as well as a Reunion Banquet attended by Four-Star U.S. Air Force General Donald J. Hoffman. David Herbst, Mercury’s Chief Corporate Officer, represented the company and spoke at the Reunion Banquet.

In his welcoming message to the Reunion attendees, General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force wrote: “To this day, entire new generations of Airmen continue to be inspired by the Flying Tigers’ heroic and hitherto unprecedented achievements in aerial combat.”

In 1941, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek authorized American military aviator and US Army Air Corps Captain (and later Lieutenant General) Claire Lee Chennault to bring together a group of American airmen to defend China at the outset of World War II. With the consent of President Roosevelt, Chennault recruited 97 pilots and 185 ground personnel to join the Flying Tigers. Outnumbered by enemy planes as much as eight to one and living under primitive conditions with shortages of food and military supplies, the dedicated Flying Tigers successfully defended China and in doing so recorded a total air victory unmatched in the history of aerial combat.

Four AVG Flying Tigers

Four AVG Flying Tigers At the Cleveland National Air Show with Mercury's David Herbst.

“It was a true honor to spend the Labor Day Weekend with members of the Flying Tigers. Their stories of bravery are phenomenal. These men are truly the heart and soul of the Greatest Generation. It was also wonderful to see the children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren of AVG families attending the Reunion as a way to keep their loved ones legacy alive,” said Herbst.

While unable to attend this year’s reunion, but having attended previous AVG reunions, Joseph A. Czyzyk, Chairman & CEO of Mercury Air Group, sent a congratulatory letter which pointed out: “This year, as the Tigers celebrate their 70th Anniversary, Mercury recognizes our 55th Anniversary with gratitude to our founders. As a veteran myself, I could not be more proud of our connection to the Tigers. For me, being a part of this important legacy means stressing teamwork, values and a relentless dedication to our customers. At Mercury, we work every day to honor the memory of our founders.”

Founded in Los Angeles in 1956 by three members of the AVG Flying Tigers---Thomas Haywood, Duke Hedman and Robert Raine---Mercury has grown from five fuel trucks and one contract into a global aviation services company with 63 locations worldwide, specializing in jet fuel sales, air cargo transport and U.S. government contracting.

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