Edward & William Hong - Army
Born in a small village south of Canton, China, Lt. Col. Edward Hong was 8 when he arrived at Angel Island in 1923. Eddie grew up in Danville, Illinois and began his military career enlisting in the Officer’s Reserve Corps while attending the University of Illinois where he received his Engineering Degree in 1937. That same year, he was commissioned 2nd Lt, Signal Corps while also assuming the role of father—his own father having died and leaving the restaurant, his mother, and 3 boys to care for. Unable to find engineering work, Eddie returned to the University of Illinois, earned his law degree, and in 1941 became the first Chinese American admitted to the Illinois Bar. From 1942 to 1945, Eddie served in the U. S. Army Signal Intelligence Service and Signal Security Agency, during their formation at Arlington Hall Station with William F. Friedman. In 1943, Eddie was promoted to Captain and was transferred from Arlington Hall to the Pacific Theater under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. It was during this time he married, Mae Sien (Goon) and his brother William, enlisted in the Air Force. While serving in the Pacific Theater, Eddie received the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, the American Service Medal and the Victory Medal. Eddie attended the School of Military Government in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1945 and was promoted to Major, Commanding Officer, 3365th Sig Service Battalion, 70th Reg ACS-PEA. In 1947, Eddie was awarded United States citizenship and became the 2nd Chinese American admitted to the New York Bar. Eddie argued his first case before the US Supreme Court in 1951. In 1965, Eddie transferred to the United States Army Retired Reserve, with the rank of Lt. Colonel. In 1966, Eddie ran for State Assemblyman, 66th district, successfully defeating the 25-year incumbent. In addition to his law practice, Eddie also ran travel, insurance and real estate agencies as well as a restaurant. Among other civic organizations, Eddie served as Charter President, Lions Club of Chinatown. Little is known about William’s military history, except that he was stationed in Europe during WWII where he met his beloved wife Gertrud. William is pictured with Eddie’s wife Mae, in the photo.
James Moe - Army
A civilian with the Army Corps of Engineers in Hawaii, James Moe witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor that fateful Sunday morning. He returned to the mainland as a soldier and went on to have a career in the military. He served in the China-India-Burma Theater. From 1944-1945 he was a counter espionage officer with the OSS in the Kunming, Kweilin, and Canton areas. In the period from 1942-1961 he attended various service schools, had tours of duty in China, India, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, and various mainland posts. From 1946-1947 he was Executive Officer of the Region Office, Counter Intelligence Detachment, Presidio San Francisco; 1949-1950 he was Executive Officer, Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment Ryuku (Okinawa) Command; 1959-1961 he served as Executive Officer of the Army Intelligence and Security Detachment, Ft. Shafter, Hawaii. From 1961-1963 his last active duty post was as Region Commander of the 109th Army Intelligence Group, Second Army in the mid-Atlantic states. He retired from active duty, but returned as a civilian doing the same work for another 16 years. James Moe was a charter member of Army Intelligence Corps Veterans.
Alfred Chan - Navy
In 1944, I was drafted in my 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.