Wah Kau Kong - Army Air Force
2nd Lieutenant Wah Kau Kong, born January 17, 1919 in Honolulu, Hawaii; was the first Chinese American fighter pilot. Kong became a chemist for the United States Government after graduating from the University of Hawaii. As a research chemist he could have avoided being called to combat duty. Instead, Kong chose to volunteer for the United States Army Air Forces after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. He recorded the highest national score in his entrance examination and was accepted into the aviation cadet training program. Kong graduated from flight school in May 1943, becoming the first Chinese American fighter pilot. On October 23,1943 Kong boarded a convoy for England. He was assigned to the 353rd Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Group at RAF Boxted. He was assigned to flying a new and powerful aircraft, the P-51B Mustang, which he named "Chinaman's Chance" on one side and "No Tickee No Washee" on the other. On February 11, 1944, (his 12th mission) Kong claimed his first victory while returning from a bomber escort mission to Frankfurt. He claimed 1.5 victories before being killed in action on his 14th mission over Blomberg, Germany February 22, 1944. He was awarded the Air Medal for “meritorious achievement in combat” and is interned in the National Cemetery of the Pacific.
Gim N. Chin - Army
Gim N. Chin was born in Tai Cheung Village, Toishan, China, and immigrated to America at the age of 15 to join his father, who was working in Sacramento, California. He attended school and then returned back to China in 1932, where he met and married his wife, Bo Yuke Yee, and then had his first daughter. He later returned to work at various jobs around Sacramento and Stockton, to better support his family, who were still in China. With the advent of World War II, Gim was activated for duty by the US Army, for the 61st General Hospital, Medical Department. His unit served in hospitals in India and Burma, where he would often find himself to be the only Chinese American there in uniform. Always in good spirits and humor, Gim had no problem making friends among his other fellow GI’s. His culinary skills were also soon recognized and utilized while on duty. He collected the American Defense Medal, the APTO, the EAMET, and the Good Conduct Medal, among others. With the end of the war, Gim was able to realize the American Dream - he established his first restaurant in Sacramento and brought over his wife from China. Also not forgetting how much his country meant to him, he joined VFW Post 8358 (Chung Mei), where he would be an active member for over 45 years. He raised six more children in Sacramento, each of whom graduated from college, and with various grandchildren. His restaurant, the Ding How Café, was a successful local establishment and hang out back in the days. Gim finally decided to retiree at age 65, and sold the business. Not one to stay inactive, Gim enjoyed cooking for the family, domestic and foreign travel, family association functions, and seeing his old friends again at the restaurant. He passed away peacefully in 1994, preceded by his beloved wife of 55 years.