|Francisco J. Campos|
Francisco J. Campos explains the origins of the blood chit.
" The concept of the blood chit originated in China during the early days of World War II. It was created by members of General Chennault's American Volunteer Group: the Flying Tigers. The famed pilots wore Chinese and American flags, and a message in Chinese characters.
The translated message said that they were American airmen fighting the Japanese invaders of China; they had met misfortune and needed help in evading the Japanese and assistance in returning to their home base. The original blood chit was stenciled on silk, and sewn inside the jacket. If a pilot was downed, he just had to reverse his flying jacket (since American pilots did not spoke Chinese) and let the Chinese peasants to led him to his base.
Chinese knew there was a reward for aiding a downed AVG pilot, so they gladly collaborated with downed Flying Tigers. Time passed, and the AVG feats feeded their legend. Japanese pilots were less than confortable when a group of green P40B Tiger Sharks (with the famous 'shark face' painted on nose) was spotted flying into their vector. The AVG pilots started to use them the Blood Chit not inside their jackets, but in the back of their leather vests, as a proud symbol of their efficience. The complete (and fascinating history of the Flying Tigers and their three Squadrons (Hell's Angels, Adam and Eve and Panda Bears) can be read on their homepage, at www.flyingtigersavg.com/tiger1.php
As you will know, I received a leather AVG Blood Chit some time ago as a present from my wife. This is one of the best presents I've ever had (these things are rather difficult to find in Spain), and I had it sewn on the back of a leather vest I usually wear.
" The chit provoked funny moments on some Chinese and Japanese restaurants in BCN (I love eastern food): try to imagine four Chinese waitresses on my back reading aloud what is written in pictograms... I've noted also that Japanese waiters behave with special respect when they see the chit, and they're very friendly with me.
When I received a new 'air-related' gift in the form of a miniature flying jacket from Elite Force - Aviator series, (www.blueboxtoys.com), I decided to customize it as an AVG one, since flying jackets have changed very little in design since WW-II.
My father-in-law is a handcraft book-binder (you can visit his page at www.santiagodotu.com) and provided me with genuine leather pieces to use as a base for my little project. After digging in books and Internet for the proper insignia reference, I painted the emblems over brown leather using miniature acrilic paints and a Rotring technical pen for the intricate pictograms.
I did later another two miniature chits, one for my miniature soldiers display, and another to thank MiGMan for being a gentleman and a friend. Of course, my love for flight sims is the main cause of my interest in aviation history and collectibles, a hobby I feel really proud of and which makes a real difference among other computer aficionados like me. "
MiGMan's Flying Tigers blood chit handpainted by Francisco J. Campos