Allen “Bert” Christman was a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. He first drew fame as a cartoonist drawing most notably “Scorchy Smith,” a newspaper strip about a mercenary pilot in the inter-war years. He was also credited with co-creating the character of “The Sandman.”
Bert gave up his career as an artist, and joined the U.S. Navy in June of 1938 as a pilot cadet. He was serving on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger in 1941 when he was recruited to join the covert American Volunteer Group to fight the invading Japanese in the skies over China and Burma. The AVG would later be world famous as the “Flying Tigers.” During his time with the Tigers, Bert made many friends by using his artistic talents to personalize the noses of the P-40B fighters of the “Panda Bear” squadron of the AVG with cartoons and caricatures for the pilots.
Bert was shot down and killed by the Japanese Army Air Force while flying in defense of the Burma Road. He was buried with the full military honors due to a Colonel in the Chinese Air Force.
Artist for "Scorchy Smith" and "The Sandman"