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The Shadow Tiger

Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault
An Alabama native had a front row seat to some of the most unique moments in aviation and world history, and for the first time the adventures of William C. McDonald Jr. are captured in a new book, The Shadow Tiger. The story provides a unique first-hand account of events leading up to and during World War II, based on more than 30,000 pages, letters and photos the aviator shared with friends and family during his 11 years as a pilot both in the United States and in China.
The Shadow Tiger traces McDonald’s flying career from its beginning at Maxwell Air force Base in Montgomery to his time as U.S. Army cadet and wingman in General Claire Chennault’s famed aerobatic flying group Three Men on a Flying Trapeze. Much of the book focuses on McDonald’s time in China where he worked hand in hand with Chennault to lay the foundation for what would become the Flying Tigers, served as a combat pilot, trained the Chinese Air force, and made hundreds of life saving flights through the Himalayas. Through McDonald’s own letters and photographs, readers will experience first-hand adventures including the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, a harrowing landing in the middle of the Yangtze River, and countless flights ferrying world-famous passengers and high-value cargo for the China National Aviation Corporation.


"Having read The Shadow Tiger, I stand in awe of a true warrior...a selfless leader and a perfect example of 'the greatest generation.' If you want to be inspired, this is one book you must read." General Charles C. Krulak, 31st Commandant, US Marine Corps "

"McDonald was a great pilot whose life was filled with incredible adventures. I guarantee this book will keep you on the edge of your seat as much as it kept me on the edge of mine." William I. Chivalette, Curator, Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute "

"Williamson and McDonald are outstanding pilots...If we were to go to war and I were ordered to the front, I would choose these two men to accompany me into combat, and that is the highest compliment a combat formation leader can pay." Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault, Commander of 14th Air Force "

"Billy McDonald was a badass." Gregory Crouch, author of China's Wings

This is a wonderful addition to the collection of anyone interested in the Flying Tigers or the golden age of aviation. William McDonald III has done a fantastic job of presenting the story of his father, Billy McDonald, in his journey from the Army Air Corps to flying in China.
Claire Chennault's memoir is notably lacking in talking about his time in China before he set up the Flying Tigers and the McDonald volume is an important contribution to that history in helping to provide the color and context for what Chennault and other Americans were doing in that period. If you wanted to know more about Chennault, the Flying Tigers or American aviators in China, this is a must-read." Samuel Kleiner
Profile Photo William C McDonald, III

About William C McDonald, III

Billy McDonald grew up hearing stories about flying and about my father’s experiences in China, and as an adult, he was stunned to discover front-page stories about his father’s career. After five years of research and another year working with his co-author to create the final book, he has immersed himself in the history of aviation in Alabama and in China during the 1930s and 40s, as well as the experience of Americans in China during that era.  Since completing The Shadow Tiger, he has presented  his father’s story to dozens of organizations The Southern Museum of Flight, CNAC, China National Aviation Corporation,  WW2 Roundtable, Atlanta chapter, Commerative Air Force, Dixie Wing, several Rotary Clubs, several MOAA ,(  Military Officers Association of America) chapters, air shows as well as several independent book stores...In 2016,he also spent three weeks in China meeting with multiple Museums and Associations that showcase the history of American flyers with theFlying Tigersand the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC).It was very humbling for McDonald to see his  fathers’ photos in all 8 museums as they remembered the Americans who came to their aid. He  currently serves on the board of CNAC Heritage Fund,  The Southern Museum of Flight and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society as an associate for his father who was just awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. That was one of  his shining moments to be able to do that for his father.
His fathers collection of 30,000 documents, letters and photographs were seen by 2 curators of the Smithsonian, they were so impressed with the book, that they asked for the papers for the Smithsonian and were donated on August 14, 2017 where he also spoke at the museum. McDonald spoke at the WW2 Museum in New Orleans on July 17 and 18.
Billy McDonald would say that one of his greatest achievements was to write the book that his father planned on writing.
All books by William C McDonald, III

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