Chinese-American service in World War II

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Chinese-American soldier training at Fort Knox, Kentucky Halftrack-fort-knox-4.jpg
Chinese-American soldier training at Fort Knox, Kentucky

It has been estimated that between 12,000 [1] and 20,000 [2] Chinese-American men, representing up to 22 percent of the men in their portion of the U.S. population, served during World War II. [3] Unlike Japanese and Filipino Americans, 75 percent served in non-segregated units. [4] Chinese Americans distinguished themselves from Japanese Americans, and suffered less discrimination. [5]



A quarter of those would serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces, some of them were sent to the Chinese-Burma-India theater for service with the 14th Air Service Group [6] and the Chinese-American Composite Wing. [7] Another 70 percent would go on to serve in the U.S. Army in various units, including the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 32nd and 77th Infantry Divisions. [3] Prior to the war, the U.S. Navy had recruited Chinese Americans but they had been restricted to serve only as stewards; [7] this continued until May 1942, when restrictions ceased and they were allowed to serve in other ratings. [7] In 1943, Chinese-American women were accepted into the Women's Army Corps in the Military Intelligence Service. [8] They were also recruited for service in the Army Air Force, with a few later becoming civilian Women Airforce Service Pilots. [8] [9]


Captain Francis Wai of the 34th Infantry was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for actions on the island of Leyte in late 1944; this awarding was later elevated to a Medal of Honor in the 2000 review. [6] Wilbur Carl Sze became the first Chinese-American officer commissioned in the Marine Corps. [10]

Congressional Gold Medal

On May 4, 2017, Senators Tammy Duckworth, Thad Cochran and Mazie Hirono introduced S.1050 Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act [11] and Representatives Ed Royce and Ted Lieu introduced a companion bill H.R.2358. [12] Efforts to pass the bill were led by the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project. [13] The bill was passed in the Senate on September 12, 2018, [14] and in the House on December 12, 2018. [15] President Donald Trump signed the bill, enacting it into law on December 20, 2018. [16]

See also

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  13. "Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project". Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
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