A Unique Christmas Gift for the Aviation History Aficionado, An almost identical photograph/autograph of Chennault sold for $3,273 in October 2021. This was only for the paper autograph. It did not include the custom frame, the name plate, nor the period insignia. Reach out to us to learn more.
Originating from the golden age of military aviation, this is an original wartime photo and autograph of General Claire Lee Chennault, Commander of the Flying Tigers, dedicated and autographed to one of his fellow Flying Tiger Fighter Pilots, John K. Hester (who later also became a General Officer), that comes directly from Hester's estate.
This studio photograph is in beautiful sepia tone with a classic vintage look and accompanying dedication and ink signature that has correctly turned brown over the past 75 plus years. A Chennault autograph doesn't come up often as the General passed in 1958.
The dedication and autograph reads...
To Col. John K. Hester, With our very best wishes. C.L. Chennault
The photograph is preserved with a few authentic pieces of insignia dating from the time the 14th Air Force was serving in combat in China. The insignia mirrors that worn by Chennault in the photograph.
(See Close Up Photos Below.)
The Chennault photograph, nameplate, and insignia pieces have been artfully housed in a custom mahogany toned frame with grey linen and marbled blue top mats (The blue paying homage to the United States Air Force), with windows cut out to display each item. To preserve the historical integrity of the items, the cloth patches were discretely tacked with thread to the archival matting and not glued or otherwise adhered. Everything has been framed to the highest conservation standards with acid-free matting, backing and museum glass.
Framed Dimensions: 21.25"H x 19.75"W x .5"D
Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 – July 27, 1958) was an American military aviator best known for his leadership of the "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China Air Force in World War II. Chennault was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fighter-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the United States Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment. Chennault retired from the United States Army in 1937, and went to work as an aviation adviser and trainer in China.
Starting in early 1941, Chennault commanded the 1st American Volunteer Group (nicknamed Flying Tigers). He headed both the volunteer group and the uniformed U.S. Army Air Forces units that replaced it in 1942. He feuded constantly with General Joseph Stilwell, the U.S. Army commander in China, and helped China's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to convince President Roosevelt to remove Stilwell in 1944. The China-Burma-India theater was strategically essential in order to fix many vital elements of the Imperial Japanese Army on the Chinese mainland to limit their use against Allied forces advancing towards Japan in the two Pacific campaigns.
Major General Hester's career began in 1938 and eventually took him to China where he flew 50 combat missions against the Japanese as a fighter pilot with the 14th Air Force, the famous "Flying Tigers." Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and Air Medal as a Squadron Commander, Hester later served on Curtis LeMay's Air Staff and became the Commanding General of the 17th Air Force at Ramstein AFB, Germany. His promising career was cut short when he succumbed to injuries resulting from a military parachute jump in April 1965. This artifact has been entrusted to Heritage Arsenal for consignment by the family of Major General John K. Hester and has not previously been resident in any collection nor museum. Perfect as a retirement or Christmas gift for any enthusiast of historical military aviation. Reserve it today.
If you have any questions, please call at (719)424-7358 or firstname.lastname@example.org - particularly if you reside outside the US. In many instances we are selling items on behalf of a military family. A large portion of the proceeds goes straight back to the family in question.