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Legendary Flying Tiger Tex Hill passes away

Famed Flying Tigers Ace and Texas Air National Guardsman Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill poses in front of a single-engine Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk fighter. The plane used by the Flying Tigers to defend China during WWII. General Hill died Oct. 11 in San Antonio. (Courtesy photo)

Famed Flying Tigers Ace and Texas Air National Guardsman Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill poses in front of a single-engine Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk fighter. The plane used by the Flying Tigers to defend China during WWII. General Hill died Oct. 11 in San Antonio. (Courtesy photo)

Famed Flying Tigers ace and Texas Air National Guardsman Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill died Oct. 11 in San Antonio. General Hill was flight leader and then squadron leader of the 2nd Squadron and shot down a dozen enemy planes until the Flying Tigers were disbanded.  (Courtesy photo)

Famed Flying Tigers ace and Texas Air National Guardsman Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill died Oct. 11 in San Antonio. General Hill was flight leader and then squadron leader of the 2nd Squadron and shot down a dozen enemy planes until the Flying Tigers were disbanded. (Courtesy photo)

San Antonio -- Team Moody mourned the loss of one of the original Flying Tigers, Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill, who died Oct. 11 of congestive heart failure at his home. He was 92.

General Hill flew with Gen. Claire Chennault as a member of the Flying
Tigers, a volunteer group of American aviators who flew during World War II
to defend China, which had no air force of its own.

He served as both flight leader and then squadron leader of the 2nd
Squadron, flying the Curtis P-40 fighter with the distinctive shark's teeth
paint scheme on the nose of the plane. During his time as a Flying Tiger
pilot, he was credited with 12 aerial victories.

Tex Hill was synonymous with the Flying Tigers, said Col. Kenneth Todorov, 23rd WG commander.

"All of us in the 23rd WG are saddened by his loss," said Colonel Todorov. "But his legacy lives on through the spirit and determination of today's Flying Tiger warrior airmen."

When the Flying Tigers were disbanded in July, 1942, General Hill continued
to fly, eventually commanding the 23rd Fighter Group. By the time he left
active duty, he was a triple-ace, credited with some 18 confirmed aerial
victories.

In 1946, he joined the Texas Air National Guard as the youngest brigadier
general in the history of the Air Guard. He was 31.

The combat ethos and warrior spirit General Hill embodied still lives on in the 23rd Wing, said Col. Mike O'Dowd, 23rd FG commander.

"Tex was instrumental over the years in ensuring the 23rd Group and Wing designation and legacy was maintained," said Colonel O'Dowd. "Along with General Chennault, he set the standard Flying Tigers have followed ever since, and was a constant presence and mentor to every generation of Flying Tigers up to his death. 

As a Flying Tiger legacy, his mentorship and leadership will forever be read about in history books, said Gen. T. Michael Moseley Air Force chief of staff.

"General Hill has forgotten more about leadership and what's important than most of us will ever know," said General Mosley.

The general was buried 0ct. 16 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.