Our Veterans

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Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon - Navy

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.

 
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Henry Y. Lew - Navy

Henry Y. Lew was born and raised in Watsonville, California. He was the eldest son of Chinese immigrants, Kim Lew and Choy Ping Lew. In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After completing basic training in San Diego, he served in San Francisco for several months before heading to Pearl Harbor. After serving six months in Pearl Harbor until the war was over, Henry shipped out to Tsingtao, China, where he served on a service ship providing translation services in the Navy. He also served as a photographer’s mate, documenting life on the ship and launching his lifelong interest in photography. When Henry returned to the States, he finished his Master’s degree and Doctorate in Chemistry at Stanford University. He was eventually employed as a Research Chemist for a petrochemical company for more than 30 years. Henry was married to his wife Peggy Ting and raised his family in the San Francisco Bay Area. Henry has three children and two grandchildren.

 
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Tom Gan Chin - Army Air Force

Tom Chin was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. After he graduated from Garfield High School, he enrolled at the University of Washington. In December 1942, he enlisted in the US Army. After completing Basic Training at Fort Lewis, he was selected to join the burgeoning Army Air Force Weather Service and was returned to UW to complete a pre-meteorology program. Following that, he was sent to the University of Chicago for meteorology training and received the certificate of “Professional Competence in Meteorology.” With this certification he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. His first and only posting was to the March Field weather station, near San Bernardino, California. While there, he provided weather forecasts for bomber training runs to Baja California and back. He was honorably discharged from the US Army after three and one-half years of service. He trained as an engineer at UW and UC Berkeley (Masters degree), and put in a career in the petrochemical industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was married to Dorothy Lew, also of Seattle, and has four children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. During his lifetime, he disproved by example the rationale of the Chinese Exclusion Act and gladly served in the US military. In 1951, he helped break through corporate America's unofficial racial barrier and gratefully enjoyed the benefits of being an American.

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