|April 19, 1909 / February 24, 1992
|Greenville, South Carolina
|Operations and Supply Group Executive Officer
|American Theater Service Medal, American Defense
Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal,
Bronze Star (posthumous), Chinese Decorations (unknown)
Grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, where he became Columbia's first
Eagle Scout. Graduated from Columbia High School in 1928 and the
University of South Carolina in 1932. A natural athlete, he
lettered in football, basketball, track, and swimming, and made the All
Southern Conference football team as left tackle in 1931. During
summer vacations he worked on tramp steamers bound for Canada, the West
Indies, and Central and South American countries; this brought him the
As a member of the Kelly Field Class of 1934, he soloed over Randolph
Field on August 13, 1934, and later graduated from the Kelly Field
Advanced Flight School Class of 1935 in the bombardment section.
He served on active duty at Langley Field, Virginia, until September 24,
1937, when he went to inactive status with the reserves. While at
Langley he participated as copilot in the first transcontinental
formation flight of B-17's (from Langley Field to March Field) and also
flew in a formation flight of nine Martin B-10 Bombers. Upon
leaving active duty he flew as pilot for Eastern Air Lines until early
Recruited by Col. Claire Lee Chennault in 1938 to serve as an instructor
for the Chinese Air Force, he landed at Hong Kong on November 3, 1938,
to begin a 2-year contract as American Chief Instructor/Check Pilot,
Primary Stage, at the Chinese Air Force Cadet School in Yunnan-yi.
After brief duty at Mengtsz, he reported to Yunnan-yi in late December
1938, and later moved with his section of the school to Tsuyung, also in
Yunnan Province, where his wife Jeanette S. "Steve" Adair joined him for
about a year. He arrived back in the States in February 1941.
A memorandum from Chennault dated April 7, 1941, requested that 1st
Lieutenant C. B. Adair, Air Corps Reserve, assist in the procurement of
American personnel for service in China.
During the months leading to the formation of the AVG, Skip Adair
traveled, under authority of the White House, to the various Army Air
Corps facilities and recruited pilots and ground personnel for the AVG.
By September 1941 he was at Rangoon Burma, to greet the recruits.
His letters home describe how each person in the AVG seems to do the
work of 10 people and that his own duties include "Acting Commanding
Officer while Claire is away" and also Supply, Food, Transportation,
Housing, and at times Adjutant and Finance. Various orders appoint
him "Group Executive Officer" and "Group Commander in absence of General
Chennault." His letters also reflect how very proud he was of the
work accomplished by members of the AVG.
|Post AVG, WWII:
|Accepted a commission as Major on July 4, 1942, and
stayed on in China on Gen. Chennault's China Air Task Force staff as
Operations Officer, and finally left China about Christmas 1942.
After China, he was stationed at the Pentagon and at Mitchell Field,
New York, eventually attaining the rank of Colonel. He
received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force on December 16,
1947, by reason of physical disqualification.
|Post War Career:
|Following his discharge from the Air Force, Skip
returned to his favorite spot on earth, Greenville, SC, to spend
more time with family and on the golf course at the Greenville
Country Club. He played golf to a 6 handicap and taught the
whole family to play. He worked in various sales positions
until becoming an agent for Aetna Life. He retired after a
long career with Aetna Life, but always regarded his service with
the AVG as his greatest accomplishment.
He died at home of cancer in 1992, and was survived by his wife of
53 years Jeanette S. "Steve" Adair; his sister Priscilla Adair, who
had assisted in recruiting for the AVG; son C. B. "Mike" Adair, Jr.,
daughter Barbara "Pat" Adair Bothe, and daughter Stephanie Adair
Vickery - all three of whom graduated from Skip's Alma Mater, the
University of South Carolina; and grandsons J. Michael Bothe and
David S. Bothe.