AM774 . Bruce in Beijing

Recalling the wartime memories of a pilot with the US Army Air Force

2015-09-18 11:26:24



 B-25 Mitchell Bomber (Boeing)

 B-29 Superfortress (Boeing)

 Boeing B29 (

 Image of 'baby Joe' on father's Mustang fighter at end of WW2 in Pacific

 Joe's father - test pilot on Boeing 707

P 51 Mustang (

Joe Tymczyszyn (pron. “Tim-Chisen”) has lived in Beijing for many years working in an advisory capacity with Chinese aviation. He comes from a family of aviators, who at a young age and inspired by their father took to the skies over California in small single-engine planes.

During the war, which finished seventy years ago, Joe’s father saw action in the Pacific while serving with the US Army Air Corps. He flew a range of aircraft from transport planes, through small bombers to the iconic Mustang fighter. That plane was decorated with a painting of Baby Joe on the fuselage. As the war was reaching its conclusion the American forces occupied the island of Okinawa where Joe’s father was based. The island was used for bombing missions over Japan.

Joe talks of how the day after the atomic bomb was dropped; his father was requested to fly over the bombed areas on an aerial photography mission. Joe talks of seeing the photos and of the feelings of American servicemen at that time in history.

After the war Joe’s father returned to Seattle in the US where he became a test pilot with Boeing. Aviation has greatly advanced over the last seventy years. Advanced aircraft now fly high above mountains and the weather. That was not the case in the 1940’s when an air supply corridor into China’s Yunnan was created along an incredibly dangerous route, ‘The Hump’, from India to Kunming. Joe talks also of the setting up of the brave ‘Flying Tigers’ of which we will hear more about in the next feature.