Rossi, John Richard "Dick"

Last Name:   
Rossi
 
First Name: 
John Richard
Nickname:  
Dick
Born/Died  
April 19, 1915 / April 17, 2008
Hometown:
Placerville, CA
Squadron:
1st Sqdr, Adam & Eves
Rank: 
Flight Leader
Victories
6.25 AVG
Decorations:
White Cloud Banner 5th Grade; China Air Force Wings 5 Star; China War Memorial Decoration; 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses; Air Medal, 2 Presidential Unit Citations;  WWII Victory Medal;  Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars;  China Defense and China Offensive Campaign Medals and the Honorable Service Lapel button.
Pre AVG
John R. Rossi grew up predominately in San Francisco and attended the University of California, Berkeley.  He was working his way through college by taking jobs on the ships that sailed out of San Francisco. After his first trip he was able to join the Merchant Marine Union. He entered the Navy's flight program in the fall of 1939.  After earning his Navy wings and commission in 1940, he was assigned as flight instructor at Pensacola Naval Air Station, FL.
AVG Facts:
Dick resigned his commission in 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) under the command of Col. Claire Chennault.  Dick began his flight training with the AVG upon arrival into Burma, Nov. 12, '41.  He had not yet completed his P-40 flight training when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  The Second time Dick fired the guns of a P-40 was on his first combat mission in January, 1942 where he engaged in his heaviest combat over Rangoon, Burma.  Although attached to the First Squadron, Dick was also temporarily assigned to both the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons.
Post AVG, WWII:
When the AVG - the Flying Tigers, were officially disbanded on July 4, 1942, Rossi joined the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) flying supplies from India to support China's war effort.  By war's end, Dick held the record for the most "hump" flights over the Himalayas at 735 trips.
Post War Career:
Dick continued his career by flying for Chennault's China Air Transport line and later for the Flying Tiger Airline as co-founder and pilot.  He retired from flying in 1975 at age 60 as required by the FAA  with over 25,000 hours logged.   Dick was the president of the Flying Tigers Association for 60 years, until his passing in 2008. He was part owner of a chain of restaurants "Hungry Tiger", was active in many organizations, attending reunions of the AVG, American Fighter Aces, CNAC, CAT, Hump Pilots, Pensacola Navy Cadets, and his large Italian family. He became a father for the first time when he was 59 years old, which led him to become active in his son's sports and scouting. He bought an avocado ranch in 1969 and enjoyed working in the orchard.

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