Francis Brown Wai  was a captain in the United States Army and received the Medal of Honor for actions during the recapture of the Philippines from Japan in 1944. On October 20, 1944, Wai landed on the Red Beach in the Philippines, he found the soldiers in the immediate area to be leaderless, disorganized, and pinned down on the open beach. Assuming command of the soldiers around him, his demeanor and example inspired the other men to follow him. With deliberate disregard for his own personal safety, he repeatedly advanced without cover to draw Japanese machine gun and rifle fire, thus exposing the locations of the entrenched Japanese forces. Systematically, the Japanese positions were assaulted and overcome. Wai was killed leading an assault against the last Japanese pillbox in the area. For his actions, Wai was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After an extensive review of awards in 2000, his medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. To date, Wai is the only Chinese American and one of only two non-Japanese Asian American officers to receive the medal.

Francis Brown Wai was a captain in the United States Army and received the Medal of Honor for actions during the recapture of the Philippines from Japan in 1944. On October 20, 1944, Wai landed on the Red Beach in the Philippines, he found the soldiers in the immediate area to be leaderless, disorganized, and pinned down on the open beach. Assuming command of the soldiers around him, his demeanor and example inspired the other men to follow him. With deliberate disregard for his own personal safety, he repeatedly advanced without cover to draw Japanese machine gun and rifle fire, thus exposing the locations of the entrenched Japanese forces. Systematically, the Japanese positions were assaulted and overcome. Wai was killed leading an assault against the last Japanese pillbox in the area. For his actions, Wai was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After an extensive review of awards in 2000, his medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. To date, Wai is the only Chinese American and one of only two non-Japanese Asian American officers to receive the medal.

Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon  was of Chinese-English-Hawaiian origin and was the first AAPI graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1934. He was the recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of the USS Sigsbee   from May 1944 to October 1945. During the Korean War, he commanded the USS John W. Thomason.   He retired in October 1959 as a rear admiral, the first AAPI admiral in the U.S. Navy. The Guided Missile Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon was christened in 2003 in his honor. Clearly, Chung-Hoon was a leader and warfighter who established firsts: first AAPI to graduate from the U.S, Naval Academy, be promoted to admiral rank, and have a ship named for him. He also made his mark early on as a halfback and punter on the Navy football team. Upon his retirement, he served as the director of the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture. He died in July 1979.

Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon was of Chinese-English-Hawaiian origin and was the first AAPI graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1934. He was the recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of the USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945. During the Korean War, he commanded the USS John W. Thomason. He retired in October 1959 as a rear admiral, the first AAPI admiral in the U.S. Navy. The Guided Missile Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon was christened in 2003 in his honor. Clearly, Chung-Hoon was a leader and warfighter who established firsts: first AAPI to graduate from the U.S, Naval Academy, be promoted to admiral rank, and have a ship named for him. He also made his mark early on as a halfback and punter on the Navy football team. Upon his retirement, he served as the director of the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture. He died in July 1979.

Captain Moon Chen  was assigned to the China Air Task Force, and later the 14th Air Force, under Gen. Claire Chennault in the China Burma India Theater. He flew the Hump and also transported personnel, supplies and VIP’s within the theater. Later, he served as Chennault’s personal representative and liaison officer to the Chinese Air Force in Chungking. Prior to joining the China Air Task Force, Moon was a pilot for China National Aviation Corporation and later a pilot for the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), headed by William Pawley, the Curtiss Wright Corporation (manufacturer of P-40 aircraft) representative in China. CAMCO was the company of record for Claire Chennault’s American Volunteer Group (AVG), which became known as the Flying Tigers. Moon helped to establish the CAMCO factory at Loiwing on the China-Burma border for repair of the AVG P-40s. Post-World War II, Moon continued working for Gen. Chennault in the airline, Civil Air Transport, co-founded by Chennault, culminating as VP for Sales & Marketing. Later on, he worked for Northrop Aircraft Company as a manager on F-5E coproduction.   Editor’s Note: Chen is shown with his two boys, Bobby (left) and Billy (right). Bill grew up to became the first Chinese American to wear 2-star rank in the U.S. Army.

Captain Moon Chen was assigned to the China Air Task Force, and later the 14th Air Force, under Gen. Claire Chennault in the China Burma India Theater. He flew the Hump and also transported personnel, supplies and VIP’s within the theater. Later, he served as Chennault’s personal representative and liaison officer to the Chinese Air Force in Chungking. Prior to joining the China Air Task Force, Moon was a pilot for China National Aviation Corporation and later a pilot for the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO), headed by William Pawley, the Curtiss Wright Corporation (manufacturer of P-40 aircraft) representative in China. CAMCO was the company of record for Claire Chennault’s American Volunteer Group (AVG), which became known as the Flying Tigers. Moon helped to establish the CAMCO factory at Loiwing on the China-Burma border for repair of the AVG P-40s. Post-World War II, Moon continued working for Gen. Chennault in the airline, Civil Air Transport, co-founded by Chennault, culminating as VP for Sales & Marketing. Later on, he worked for Northrop Aircraft Company as a manager on F-5E coproduction.

Editor’s Note: Chen is shown with his two boys, Bobby (left) and Billy (right). Bill grew up to became the first Chinese American to wear 2-star rank in the U.S. Army.

In 1944,  Alfred Chan  was drafted in his junior year of high school. I was deferred a year as working on a ranch operating heavy machinery was important to the war effort. Knowing heavy machinery made the Seabee’s the right choice for me, being the Navy’s builders. I received deployment orders on the USS Hancock for Midway Island, just after the victory of the Battle of Midway in 1944. Seabee’s built military infrastructure like airstrips and fuel depots in preparation for the invasion of Japan. Then one day, we heard over the PA Japan’s surrender. We were going home! Beer flowed freely that day. After an honorable discharge on May 18, 1946, I married my wife of 70 years, living in Oakland, CA. For the East Bay Chinatown Post #3956, I was a founding, charter, Post Commander and lifelong member fighting for Chinese civil and immigration rights. We have two children, Ron and Melanie, and grandchildren Bryan and Jennifer. Ron and I were selected for an Honor Flight to visit the WWII memorial. May there be peace and no further wars for our next generations.

In 1944, Alfred Chan was drafted in his junior year of high school. I was deferred a year as working on a ranch operating heavy machinery was important to the war effort. Knowing heavy machinery made the Seabee’s the right choice for me, being the Navy’s builders. I received deployment orders on the USS Hancock for Midway Island, just after the victory of the Battle of Midway in 1944. Seabee’s built military infrastructure like airstrips and fuel depots in preparation for the invasion of Japan. Then one day, we heard over the PA Japan’s surrender. We were going home! Beer flowed freely that day. After an honorable discharge on May 18, 1946, I married my wife of 70 years, living in Oakland, CA. For the East Bay Chinatown Post #3956, I was a founding, charter, Post Commander and lifelong member fighting for Chinese civil and immigration rights. We have two children, Ron and Melanie, and grandchildren Bryan and Jennifer. Ron and I were selected for an Honor Flight to visit the WWII memorial. May there be peace and no further wars for our next generations.