28 November 2012

Flying Tigers

Art Cobert - 11th Bomb Squadron
I was invited to sit in on the Rivertowne Book Club in Mt. Pleasant today and soon discovered I was in for a real treat. I was seated next to the speaker, Art Cobert who will turn 92 in January and flew with the members of the Flying Tigers. What amazing stories he had to tell. He had a video that he had put together with collected pictures from their time based in China - 1940-45.  
Gunnery Sergeant (Sep.) Arthur Cobert is an Army Air Corps veteran who served as a flight engineer, gunner and backup pilot on the B-25 bomber during World War II. He enlisted in March 1943 and was honorably discharged from service in December 1945 after being wounded. He was a member of the 11th Bomb Squadron, also known as the Jiggs Squadron, which was selected to be one of two replacement crews for the legendary Flying Tigers. The unit was sent to China where B-25 crews flew missions throughout the Pacific theater, against Japanese targets. Cobert was wounded twice during his service and was awarded the Purple Heart. Of his experience in the military, he said, “I think the military is good for young men because it kicks them in the backside and straightens them out and gives them a little discipline that they don’t always have. It sure helped me.”

He brought some memorabilia for us to look at and read out a few meaningful letters. He was able to still squeeze into his uniform! They each wore the sign below on their back. It let the locals know that they were US airmen and they would be rewarded for their return.

Art also happens to be one of our hospital volunteers and still regularly helps out at the Mount Pleasant Hospital.