Wah-sim “Wallace Yip” - Army
PFC Yip Wah-sim “Wallace Yip” was born in 1923 at Taihen village, Taishan (Hoishan) county, Guangdong province. His father brought him to California at the age of ten in 1933. Wally Yip was detained on Angel Island and interrogated for several weeks before entering the country. He came to live with an older sister and her husband at their laundry in New Orleans. He spent every summer working at a grocery store in Leland, Mississippi, belonging to the family of his friend, future WWII veteran Beck H. Gee. Wally Yip was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. Trained as a mortarman, he was assigned to the Third Army, 79th Infantry Division. He landed at Utah Beach six days after the initial Normandy invasion, clearing German resistance between Cherbourg and St. Lo, and joining George Patton's drive across northern France. PFC Wally Yip won the Bronze Star in this campaign. He was wounded by artillery fire during the approach to the Rhine and hospitalized for six weeks. Yip was awarded the Purple Heart for this injury. Returning to the front, he participated in the crossing of the Rhine north of Essen and the drive across Germany, before participating in the occupation of Czechoslovakia. He returned to New Orleans in 1945, and in 1947, he visited his home village and married Lew Hong-lee “Lily Yip.” Wally and Lily Yip lived in San Francisco for a year, before returning to New Orleans, where they raised five children together. Wally Yip worked several jobs, then purchased a laundry in 1957, which he managed with his wife until their retirement in 1996. Wally Yip passed away in 2012. His medals are on display at the Purple Heart Conference Room at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Tuck Y. Young - Army
Tuck Y. Young was one of two MS River Delta Chinese WW2 KIA, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Tuck volunteered to serve his country despite the gross discrimination and injustices he faced both at home and in the Army. Growing up in the Jim Crow South the son of a materially-poor but family-rich widow merchant, he gave the ultimate sacrifice on the front-lines at Kakuza Ridge on Okinawa as part of the Army’s “integrated but segregated self-proclaimed yellow brigades.” He was in the initial Philippines liberating force on Oct 20, 1944 under General MacArthur and his medical detachment was cited for Meritorious Unit Commendation over the ensuing two-month period of “rigorous combat conditions.” His selflessness, which both deprived him of a full life and had significant repercussions on the surviving family, paved the way in both spirit and example for his siblings and countless nephews/nieces who have gone on to earn numerous Ivy League degrees and become highly productive Americans. As the national debate continues over “illegal immigrants”, the story of Tuck and similar countless “illegal” (as defined by the discriminatory “yellow laws” that were finally fully repealed in 1965) Chinese immigrants’ contributions to America cannot be underestimated. Tuck was the epitome of what makes America GREAT: integrity, honesty, and selfless service to his country, ALL Americans, and her allies. He was no coward and would not let “bone-spurs” or seek a deferment, more less five, to interfere with fulfilling these noble ideals, including giving his last full measure.
Jennings Hom - Army Air Force
Jennings Hom, the eldest son of seven children, was born and raised in San Diego, California in 1924. After high school, he learned to weld at vocational school and then promptly enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 26, 1942 at 18 years old. Jennings served as an aircraft maintenance mechanic with the 555th Air Service Squadron of the 14th Air Service Group in support of the “Flying Tigers”. Jennings caricatured his Jeep load of San Diego Chinese-American buddies in a drawing as they traversed the harrowing, narrow and winding Ledo Road (aka “The Hump”) to bring supplies from India through Burma into China. Jennings served until January 14, 1946, then earned his BA in Business Administration from San Diego State University. He became manager of his family’s store, Woo Chee Chong, in Chinatown, and together with his wife Mary Lou (née Pong) expanded the business to a chain of 4 large Asian grocery stores throughout San Diego County. Jennings Hom was a humanitarian, a man of integrity, and a true gentleman—generous, congenial, respected, loved and admired by many. He loved God, his church, his family, his employees whom he considered his extended family, the community and his country. He passed peacefully at home in 2011 surrounded by his beloved wife of 60 years, 8 children, and 16 grandchildren.