"The Legend of Hogytaw" details a true story of a young Chinese pilot, Lin Tian-zhang, who decisively joins the Chinese Air Force during the Anti-Japanese War in 1937. His orders send him to Kunming Air Force Base under the command of General Chennault. During a flight drill, as Tian-zhang hones flying, climbing, diving and combat skills in the skies of fire, General Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Commander-in-chief at the time, witnesses his refined flying skills, courage, and audacity, and personally congratulates him. In another training session, Tian-zhang unexpectedly encounters a Japanese plane aiming at his coach. He instinctively dives on the enemy and saves his coach. His innate prowess in flying, devotion, gallantry, unquestionable nobility and integrity were highly recommended that General Chiang kai-shek awarded him a Medal of Honor, making him one of very few pilots ever so awarded during training.
After graduating from Kunming Aviation School, Tian-zhang is sent to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to receive American flight training. With WWII shadows hanging over the vast Sonoran Desert skies and star-filled desert nights, the American Air Force prepares Tian-zhang to be a top gun fighter pilot. After several rounds of training and elimination, he becomes a dedicated and highly competent fighter pilot of the famed P-40 aircraft. The American training further fosters his patriotism and shapes his spirit of dedication to world peace.
Upon graduation, Tian-zhang receives his orders to enter combat in the "China-India- Myanmar" Theater. He becomes a fighter pilot of the 28th Squadron of the 3rd Wing of the Chinese Air Force, stationed in Karachi India for OTU training where he is promoted to a flight instructor. In July 1943, he is formally selected into the US-Chinese Composite Wing, and becomes one of the few "flying elite" of the Chinese Flying Tigers directly commanded by General Chennault. On Oct. 29, Tian-zhang boards a US Air Force C-47 transport to China as the Composite Wing receives its first combat mission. During the night flight on the "Hump Route," the plane crashes. Tian-zhang and four other top fighter pilots of the U.S.-China allied air force perish on board. The first mission of the U.S.-Chinese Composite Wing is aborted and the attack on the Japanese is set back five months. As of today, the wreckage of the C-47 has not been found, and the remains of the heros have not been returned to their hometowns. Tian-zhang's story, like many others, remains largely untold until the details described in this book.
This book combines family memories and Tian-zhang's letters, tracing Tian-zhang's life journey as a pilot. With vivid narrative of Tian-zhang's athleticism, love of nature and courage in his formative years, the book illustrates the molding of a hero. The book also chronicles the hardships of the early Chinese air force, the life journey of the young Chinese pilots combating the Japanese invaders in nearly a decade of bloodshed, and the way in which the Chinese and American pilots ally to defeat the mutual enemy during WWII. This book is a tribute to the bravery, dedication, and love of freedom of these heroic and patriotic pilots largely unknown but never forgotten in the hearts and minds of their loved ones. This book is written by one such surviving niece and American lawyer who, along with the Taiwan Embassy, finally, in 2016, placed a photo, a WWII aviator's hat, and pilot goggles in an urn dedicated to the Taiwan National AirForce Cemetery, publicly recognizing Tian-zhang as a national hero.