JOHN RICHARD ROSSI (1915 - 2008)
(CNAC 1942 - 1945)
(Captain - 1942)
(Hump Flights - 735)

In the 1943-45 log book of Don McBride, Dick listed his address as:

DICK ROSSI AVG
920 HOLLOWAY AV
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF


The CNAC Web Editor would like to thank Dick and Lydia Rossi for providing the following information and photo.

John Richard Rossi was born on April 19, 1915 in Placerville, California. Schooled in San Francisco, he attended the University of California at Berkeley. He entered the Navy for flight training in the fall of 1939. Upon receiving his wings and commission in 1940, he was assigned as Flight Instructor at Pensacola, Florida.

"Dick" Rossi resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) under the command of Colonel Claire Chennault. He arrived in Rangoon on November 12, 1941 with a group of thirty volunteers on the Dutch ship M.S. Bosch Fontein. He was undergoing a training program in P-40 aircraft at Toungoo, Burma, when Pearl Harbor was attacked.


(left to right)
John Petach, Dumas and Dick Rossi
(Photo Courtesy of Al Oldenburg)

Rossi engaged in his first combat over Burma in January 1942 (the second time he fired the guns in the P-40 he was in combat) and flew his last over the East China front in July 1942. Most of his combat missions were over Rangoon. Dick was a member of the AVG's First Pursuit Squadron (Adam and Eve). He also did detached combat duty with the Second and Third Squadrons, serving under all the AVG squadron commanders. He attained Ace status with a confirmed 6-1/4 victories in air-to-air combat.



When the AVG, better known as the "Flying Tigers," was disbanded in 1942, Rossi joined the China National Aviation Corporation, flying supplies from India to China. By the time the war was over he had flown more than 735 trips across the "Hump." After the war, Rossi, a founder of the freight carrier, the Flying Tiger Line, returned to California where he flew as a captain for 25 years, logging a lifetime of over 25,000 flying hours. He has served as president of the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers Association for fifty-five years and is a member of the American Fighter Aces Association.

The Chinese government awarded Rossi the White Cloud Banner (Yun Mo) V Grade, China Air Force Wings (5 Stars) and the China War Memorial (Kang Chan Chi-nien Chang) Decoration. He has also earned and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal, two Presidential Unit Citations, a World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars for the India-Burma, Central Burma, China Defensive and China Offensive campaigns, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button. In 1969 he was given a Commendation from the USAF for sustained aerial support of combat operations in South Vietnam. The AVG was inducted into the Confederate Air Force Hall of Fame in 1998, in Midland, Texas. In 1999 Rossi was awarded the status of "Eagle" by the International Association of Eagles, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The AVG was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in July 1999.

Tally record: 6 - 1/4 victories




Obituary
John Richard Rossi
Flying Tiger Ace Pilot of WWII

John Richard Rossi was born in Placerville, California, schooled in San Francisco, and attended the University of California at Berkeley. He enlisted in the Navy in the fall of 1939 and was selected for flight training. Upon receiving his wings and commission in 1940, he was assigned as a Flight Instructor at Pensacola, Florida.

“Dick” Rossi resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) under the command of Colonel Claire Chennault. He arrived in Rangoon on November 12, 1941 and was undergoing a training program in P-40 aircraft at Toungoo, Burma when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Rossi engaged in his first combat over Burma in January 1942 (the second time he fired the guns in the P-40 he was in combat) and flew his last over the East China front in July 1942. Most of his combat missions were over Rangoon. Dick was a member of the AVG’s First Pursuit Squadron (Adam and Eve). He also did detached combat duty with the Second and Third Squadrons, serving under all the AVG squadron commanders. He attained Ace status with a confirmed 6-1/4 victories in air-to-air combat.


When the AVG, better known as the “Flying Tigers,” was disbanded in 1942, Rossi joined the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), flying supplies from India to China. By the time the war was over he had flown a record 735 trips across “The Hump.” After the war, Rossi, a founder of the Flying Tiger Line freight carrier, returned to California where he flew as a captain for 25 years, logging a lifetime of over 25,000 flying hours. He served as president of the AVG Flying Tigers Association for sixty-five years and is a member of the American Fighter Aces Association. Rossi was also a founder of a chain of restaurants that were popular from 1960 to the 1980s, the “Hungry Tiger.”

The Chinese government awarded Rossi the White Cloud Banner Grade V, China Air Force Wings (5 Stars) and the China War Memorial Decoration. He has also been awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal, two Presidential Unit Citations, a World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars for the India-Burma, Central Burma, China Defensive and China Offensive campaigns, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button. In 1969 he was given a Commendation from the USAF for sustained aerial support of combat operations in South Vietnam. The AVG was inducted into the Confederate Air Force Hall of Fame in 1998, in Midland, Texas. In 1999 Rossi was awarded the status of “Eagle” by the International Association of Eagles, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The AVG was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in July 1999. In 2007, the local Fallbrook VFW Post 1924 selected Rossi as their Veterans Day Honoree.

Rossi and his wife, Lydia, enjoyed traveling the world and in the last 10 years they were invited to China and visited 7 times. The last time they went to China Rossi was seated next to the President of China, Hu Jintao, who toasted him and thanked him for what the Flying Tigers and other American Veterans had done for the Chinese people. Rossi and his wife attended numerous air shows with the other members of the Flying Tigers. He loved being with his family, going on Boy Scout hikes with his son, and growing avocados.

Rossi succumbed to complications from pneumonia and passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family. Rossi lived in Fallbrook for the last 35 years and is survived by his wife Lydia Rossi of Fallbrook; son Anthony Rossi of San Diego, and numerous other relatives.


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