Our Veterans

If you would like a profile, please read our submission guidelines.

 
 
AKAKA.png

Daniel Akaka - Army

Corporal Daniel Kahikina Akaka (Chinese: 李碩; pinyin: Lǐ Shuò) was born in Honolulu, the son of Annie (née Kahoa) and Kahikina Akaka. His paternal grandfather was born in Swatow, Canton, China during the late Qing Dynasty, and his other grandparents were of Native Hawaiian descent.

During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including service on Saipan and Tinian. He served from 1945 to 1947.

Entering college (funded by the G.I. Bill), he earned a bachelor of education in 1952 from the University of Hawaii. He later received a master of education from the same school in 1966. He worked as a high school teacher in Honolulu from 1953 until 1960, when he was then hired as a vice principal.

Akaka was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1976 to represent Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, comprising all of the state outside the inner ring of Honolulu. He was reelected seven times, all by wide margins.

Akaka was appointed by Governor John Waihee to the U.S. Senate in April 1990 to serve temporarily after the death of Senator Spark Matsunaga. In November of the same year, he was elected to complete the remaining four years of Matsunaga's unexpired term with 53 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 1994 for a full six-year term with over 70% of the popular vote. He was reelected almost as easily in 2000.

For the 2006 election, he overcame a strong primary challenge from Congressman Ed Case, then won a third full term with 61 percent of the vote.

During his tenure, Akaka served as the Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.[17]

In 1996, Akaka successfully sponsored legislation that led to nearly two-dozen Medals of Honor being belatedly awarded to Asian-American soldiers in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion. He also successfully passed legislation compensating Philippine Scouts who were refused veterans benefits

 
Chong2.png

Gim Suey Chong - Navy

Gim Suey Chong was a 5th generation sojourner to Gold Mountain, America. He and his forefathers were from Yung Lew Gong village, in the heart of Hoyping near the magnificent Tam Kiang river of Kwangtung province of Cathay. Gim was born in the 9th gray brick house on the 6th narrow alley on December 26, 1922. In 1932, Gim embarked on his intrepid immigration to Gold Mountain, America. Because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, a cruel racist federal law, Gim assumed the persona as a paper son, of his uncle Hung Quock Chong. On April 20, 1932, he arrived at the seaport of Boston. 

At the Central Square of Cambridge, between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Gim began his life in America. At the Imperial Restaurant on 2 Central Square, Moi Chung, his father, was partner and manager of this first-class Chop Suey house for American and Chinese customers. During the height of the Great Depression, Gim and Moi Chung left Boston from South Station. 

In 1936, they arrived at busy Union Station in Los Angeles to settle at Little Tokyo, the heart of the vibrant Nikkei community of the Southland near City Hall in Downtown. It was a bustling neighborhood of restaurants, stores, and markets during the heyday of Little Tokyo. Moi Chung worked at the Nikko Low Chinese Restaurant on 339 ½ East First Street, owned by a cousin from Hoyping. After graduating from Belmont High School, Gim was certified as a qualified aircraft mechanic at Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute in Glendale. Pan American Airways System hired him as a mechanic’s helper. 

He enlisted with United States Naval Reserve on May 18, 1943 as seaman, first class, During World War II, his all-Chinese crew diligently maintained the China Clipper, the world-famous flying boat and other seaplanes, to and from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. They performed crucial maintenance at Treasure Island Station on the San Francisco Bay, east of San Francisco. He was discharged on December 7, 1945.

In 1946, Gim invested his savings as a junior partner of the Kubla Khan Theater Restaurant on 414 Grant Avenue in San Francisco Chinatown, with Eddie Pond, who came from Hong Kong. The time was the zenith of The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs. After the sad demise of the Kubla Khan, in 1950, Gim returned to Los Angeles. He and Moi Chung resided in Chinatown at College Hotel on Broadway, during the heyday of Chinatown. Amidst an exotic cluster of Cantonese restaurants, shops, and markets, West Gate, Central Plaza, and East Gate dominated the panorama. 

From 1950 to 1978, Gim worked for Lockheed-California Company, as a quality assurance inspector of military aircrafts in Burbank. During the Cold War period, it was known as the Golden Age of Aviation in the San Fernando Valley. From 1950 to 1974, he also worked as a waiter during weekends at the Far East Café on 347 East First Street in Little Tokyo, with its iconic Chop Suey neon sign. This premier bistro was known for its delicate and bright China-Meshi dishes, a Japanese version of Chop Suey. 

On January 14, 1955, Gim happily married Miss Seen Hoy Tong in Los Angeles. In 1956, Gim was proud father of two sons, Raymond Douglas Chong, and Michael George Chong. On December 2, 1979, Gim Suey Chong died in Los Angeles, the City of Angels.

 
Tom.png

William K. Tom - Army

“One of the most haunting effects of the end of the war was the bonds of attachment had to be broken with the men with whom I served and considered my brothers. We all scattered across our country to pick up the pieces of our youth to achieve the primary goal of our ultimate destiny. We might never see each other again. If it hadn’t been for our post-war reunions, I would have spent the balance of my life wondering about the fate of my friends.  Of course, not everyone attended these reunions, so there is an ongoing emptiness in my heart, forever pondering.”

These are the words my father, William K. Tom, wrote many years after World War II ended. Despite the haunted words of his writings, the ‘ultimate destiny’ he wrote about was to be quite successful. He was the first college graduate in his family; he had the highest grade point average in the Pharmacy School at the University of California San Francisco in 1952; worked as a pharmacist for 40+ years; and was one of the authors of the National Data Drug File and the International Data Drug File which is used in every pharmacy and many pharmacies overseas. His destiny included oil painting, the banjo and harmonica, ham radio licensing examiner, work as an ‘extra’ in the movies ‘Streets of San Francisco’ and ‘Sister Act’, domestic and international travel, autobiographer, editor of the 17th Airborne Newsletter “Thunder from Heaven”, as well as a loving marriage, 4 children, and 6 grandchildren. 

My father is now almost 95 years old. Although his uniform patches identify him as 7th Army and 9th Army with whom he was attached as a medic, my father considers himself a loyal rifleman of Company C, 194th Glider Infantry, 17th Airborne with whom he received his basic training.

See More Profiles