In an effort to counter Japanese military aggression, Colonel Claire Lee Chennault, air advisor to China, under authorization of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, formed the American Volunteer Group (AVG)-more commonly known as the 〝Flying Tigers〞-on August 1, 1941. This small force of at most 270 men, consisting of American pilots and ground crew personnel, provided an effective air defense for Yunnan Province in southwestern China and its neighboring Burma. The AVG was disbanded in July 1942 after the U.S. declared war on Japan. The Flying Tigers fought heroically and selflessly. Their presence in China considerably lifted the morale of the Chinese people during those hardest years.