Leo Soo Hoo - Army Air Force
Born in Detroit in 1922, Leo joined the Army Air Corps in early 1943. He rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant after training near Miami (basic); High Point, NC; Nashville, TN; Helena, AR and Spence Field in Moultrie, GA. By September 1944, Leo was assigned to the 10th Air Force, 312th Fighter Wing, 311th Fighter Group, 530th Fighter Squadron. Serving as a pilot in P-51A Mustangs, the 530th “Yellow Scorpions” became a highly decorated unit flying cargo-transport escort / support and ground attack missions in India. They were transferred to the 14th Air Force, performing similar duties in Burma and China. Leo was hospitalized twice for malaria in theater. At the same time, his brother, Henry, was serving as a navigator on a B-29 out of Saipan; sister, Marjorie, was enrolled in medical school at Wayne University in Detroit.
Declining a post-war promotion and assignment to train fighter pilots, Leo moved to Chicago after receiving a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. In 1949, he married Mae Lynn Jung of Philadelphia. They raised a son and three daughters while Leo worked at, and ultimately retired from, Illinois Tool Works. Passing away in 1998, Leo and Henry, along with other members of Amvets Post 85 (Chinese Americans), received the Distinguished Service Award from the City of Detroit in 2000.
John L. Lem – Army Air Force
The Lem family arrived in Oshkosh, Wisconsin around 1926 after John C. Lem, the American born son of a Chinese immigrant, returned from China with his wife, Lun Fong. As Oskhosh’s only Chinese family, they opened a Chinese restaurant and raised a family of nine children. Four sons, Abel, Paul, John and David served as officers in the Army and Army Air Corps during World War II. John L. Lem was born in Chicago in 1922. He was a University of Wisconsin sophomore when he enlisted in 1942 as a 2nd Lieutenant and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He served in Europe as a pilot in the Air Transport Command, flying BT-13, B-25, B-26, B-29, C-46, and C-47 aircrafts. He was honored to transport U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson to the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946. After returning in 1947, he completed graduate work in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. He was a Chemical Engineer at IBM’s Federal Systems Division, in upstate New York, and was promoted to Senior Scientist before retiring in 1983 after a 25-year career at IBM.He was appointed by New York’s former Governor Mario Cuomo to be the 1995 delegate to China for the “Citizens Ambassador Program” and the 1996 delegate to Australia/New Zealand. In an interview, John said “The war made me realize one should not fight wars. Killing is not going to make friends for you. The only way you can find friends is to follow the Lord Jesus. Show them compassion. Show them love. Trust that your outreach will give them a chance to reach back and that will make the world a safer place for all to live and grow.” John and his wife, Faye, raised four sons and one daughter and had eight grandchildren. He passed away in 2004.
Paul Abraham Lem - Army
The Lem family arrived in Oshkosh, Wisconsin around 1926 after John C. Lem, the American born son of a Chinese immigrant, returned from China with his wife, Lun Fong. As Oskhosh’s only Chinese family, they opened a Chinese restaurant and raised a family of nine children. Four sons, Abel, Paul, John and David served as officers in the Army and Army Air Corps during World War II. Paul Abraham Lem was born in Chicago in 1920. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Wisconsin State College in 1942. In 1943 while at the University of Chicago, he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet-Army and at the same time received a certificate in Meteorology. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and served as Weather Officer in the China-Burma-India Theater for which he received the World War II Victory Medal in 1944. He was honorably discharged in 1946. Paul met Ellen while serving in China; they were married in Glencoe, Illinois in 1947. Paul was recalled to active duty in 1950 serving as Weather Officer at Chanute Air Force Base. In 1951, he received his M.A. in Science from Northwestern University. During the Korean War, he was stationed in England as a Climatologist and was promoted to Captain. In 1956, he returned to the US where he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base conducting research in climatology. In 1962, he was promoted to Major as a Reserve of the Air Force. Paul continued his career as a scientist in Southern California at Douglas Aircraft Company, Jet Propulsion Laboratories and retired from Northrop Corporation’s B-2 program in 1993. Paul and his wife, Ellen, raised four daughters and he was the proud grandfather of eight grandchildren. Paul passed away in 2006 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to his infant son, Laurence.