A one-year contract to live and work in China, flying, repairing and making airplanes.
Those American pilots, mechanics and support personnel became members of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), later known as the Flying Tigers.
Flying Tiger pilot Robert T. Smith snapped this photo of his squadron in flight over China on May 28, 1942.
Today, even with US-China tensions rising , those American mercenaries are still revered in China, with memorial parks dedicated to them and their exploits.
A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 Flying Tiger fighter planes at an airfield somewhere in China.