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]

Contents

Service

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]

Recognition

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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References

  1. Wong, Kevin Scott (2005). Americans first: Chinese Americans and the Second World War. Harvard University Press. p. 1. ISBN   978-0-674-01671-2 . Retrieved 21 September 2009.
  2. "One Fifth of Chinese Americans Fight Fascism in World War II". Xinhua News Agency. 28 May 2001. Retrieved 21 September 2009.[ dead link ]
  3. 1 2 "World War II/Post War Era". Timeline. Oakland Museum of California. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  4. Williams, Rudi (3 June 2005). "DoD's Personnel Chief Gives Asian-Pacific American History Lesson". American Forces Press Service. U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on June 15, 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  5. "Asian Americans:World War II". Calisphere. The Regents of The University of California. 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  6. 1 2 James C. McNaughton (3 August 2009). "Chinese-Americans in World War II". Center of Military History. United States Army . Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 Wong, Kevin Scott (2005). Americans first: Chinese Americans and the Second World War. Harvard University Press. p. 61. ISBN   978-0-674-01671-2 . Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  8. 1 2 Rudi Williams (27 May 1999). "Asian Pacific American Women Served in World War II, Too". American Forces Press Service. United States Department of Defense . Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  9. McLellan, Dennis (23 October 2000). "Adding a Missing Piece to Masonic of American History". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  10. Major Karen J. Gregory, USAFR. "Asian Pacific American Heritage Month" (PDF). Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011. On December 15, 1943, Wilbur Carl Sze was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and the first Chinese-American officer in the U.S. Marine Corps
    "apa-usmc02". Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2002. Department of Defense. 2002. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  11. Duckworth, Tammy (2018-12-12). "S.1050 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  12. Royce, Edward (2017-05-04). "H.R.2358 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  13. "Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project". Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  14. Yam, Kimberly (2018-09-17). "Senate Unanimously Passes Bill To Honor Forgotten Chinese-American WWII Veterans". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  15. "Rep. Royce Bill Honoring Chinese American WWII Veterans Heads to President's Desk". U.S. Representative Ed Royce. 2018-12-13. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  16. "Bill Announcement". The White House. Retrieved 2018-12-23.