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[MILITARY] 14th Air Service Group - Historic WWII Army Servicemen Served in Asia

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  • madchinaman
    Historic WWII units will reunite By Tan Vinh Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com York Luke, left, and Chong Wong became friends while refueling
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 17, 2005
      Historic WWII units will reunite
      By Tan Vinh
      Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@...


      York Luke, left, and Chong Wong became friends while refueling
      aircraft and transporting ammunition in southwest China's Yunnan
      Province during World War II. Sixty years after their friendship was
      forged, they still meet monthly for lunch.

      On a recent afternoon at a senior center in the Chinatown
      International District, York Luke and Chong Wong, both 82, sat side
      by side and pondered who, when they are gone, would tell the story
      of the first Chinese-American units that served during World War II.

      There once were about 30 Seattle-area veterans from the historic
      14th Air Service Group and the 987th Signal Company — men of Chinese
      ancestry who enlisted in the U.S. Army and were sent to China in
      1944 to help fight invading Japanese forces.

      Today, though, the Seattle contingent will be largely absent as
      about 40 surviving members of the two units, coming from as far away
      as California and New York, gather here for a four-day reunion that
      will include dinners in Chinatown, a trip to Blake Island and a bus
      tour of Seattle.

      Many of the 1,500 members in the two units have passed away or are
      assumed dead. One resides at a local nursing home but is recovering
      from a stroke and has not been active in the group.

      As active local members go, the two of us, said Luke, pointing to
      Wong, are what remains of the proud group.

      Luke and Wong arrived in Seattle when they were about 12 and were
      casual acquaintances. But it was in the U.S. Army, during the days
      and nights they spent together refueling aircraft and transporting
      ammunition in southwest China's Yunnan Province, that their
      friendship developed.

      But even they probably won't be attending most of the reunion's
      events, as Wong is losing his vision from diabetes and Luke has
      suffered two heart attacks.

      "It's sad that everyone has passed way," Wong said. "But there is
      nothing you can do about it."

      In recent years, their reunions have drawn only 40 to 60 veterans.
      Many are scrambling to jot down notes or retrieve their old uniforms
      and letters from attics and basements to pass on to their
      grandchildren.

      "They are nearing the end, and they want to leave something behind
      so that the younger generation would be able to learn from their
      experiences," said Christina Lim, co-author of "In the shadow of the
      Tiger, the 407th Air Service Squadron," and a producer of KTEH
      Silicon Valley Public Television in San Jose, Calif. Her father,
      Harry Lim, served in the 14th Air Service Group.

      In the history of World War II, their stories have largely been
      overlooked, overshadowed not just by the most famous Allied battles
      and troops but by other segregated groups as well, such as the all-
      African-American Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots, and the highly
      decorated Japanese-American soldiers from the 442nd Regimental
      Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion, who fought in Europe.

      But the two predominantly Chinese-American units — their commanding
      officers were white — rarely are mentioned, partly because they
      served supporting roles as aircraft-maintenance and communication
      specialists, and partly because they served in remote areas of
      China, Burma and India.

      In 1937, the Japanese invaded eastern China, setting off the Sino-
      Japanese War. An ally of the Chinese, the United States recruited
      bilingual soldiers who helped both the U.S. and Chinese troops.

      By 1944, the new Chinese-American recruits were shipped to about two
      dozen remote airbases, mostly in China. Many, including Luke and
      Wong, recovered crashed planes or repaired bullet-ridden U.S.
      bombers and fighters.

      They maintained the aircraft flown by the famous U.S. Army Air
      Corps' "Flying Tiger" fleet, which shot down at least 300 Japanese
      warplanes.

      But the Chinese-American soldiers, historians say, were left to fend
      for themselves — too young and naive, Wong said, to realize the
      danger.

      Due to a manpower shortage, they flew Chinese troops and ammunitions
      over the Himalaya Mountains without bomber or fighter escort. They
      received no military ground support and were armed only with .45-
      caliber pistols. Luckily, they escaped any firefights.

      Luke, who immigrated to Seattle in 1935 and volunteered to join the
      Army seven years later, said, "I wanted to serve this country and
      help the country I was born in."

      The Chinese-American forces suffered only one casualty, Chris Chen
      of Seattle, who died in 1944 after jumping out of his truck when the
      fuel tank malfunctioned and exploded.

      By late 1945, the Japanese retreated, and the Chinese-American
      troops were shipped to Fort Lawton in Seattle before returning to
      their hometowns.

      Now the veterans are in their 80s and 90s. Most have only vague
      recollections of the war. Luke's most vivid memory was of counting
      the B-29s and the P-51s taking off and then seeing fewer planes
      landing on the tarmac the next morning.

      "When you don't get the same count on the way back, it just hits you
      right here," he said, patting his heart.

      Both men returned to Seattle after the war, married, raised families
      and ran businesses — Luke owned a laundry service and Wong owned
      several restaurants in Chinatown and surrounding areas. Both retired
      a decade ago.

      Luke still lives in Seattle with his wife of 58 years, Arlene Luke,
      77. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-
      granddaughter. A widower whose wife passed away in 1989, Wong, too,
      lives in Seattle. He has three children and four grandchildren.

      Sixty years after their friendship was forged, they still meet
      monthly for dim-sum lunches around the Chinatown International
      District, chatting about their families and their health, but rarely
      about the war. At this age, said Luke, "we just don't remember much."


      ==========================


      http://www.sinoam.com/14th_AIR_SERVICE_GROUP.htm
      The 14th Air Service Group was activated in November 1942, at the
      specific request of then Brigadier General Claire L. Chennault,
      Commander of the China Air Task Force and Lieutenant General Joseph
      W. Stillwell, Commander of U.S. forces in the China, Burma, India
      Theater of Operations, to support aerial operations in China with
      Army Air Force support personnel who were fluent in both the English
      and Chinese languages. As administrators, mechanics, engineers and
      electricians, who could easily communicate with both Chinese
      soldiers and civilians, these Chinese American airmen contributed
      mightily to Allied success by maintaining aerial operations from
      airfields across unoccupied China.

      As bilingual administrators, engineers and technicians they
      coordinated and supported the functioning of 14th Air Force
      airfields and as mechanics and specialized technicians they
      recovered, an repaired battle damaged aircraft and coordinated with
      Chinese Air Force personnel to maintain American and Chinese
      aircraft operating in Chinese Theater of Operations.

      As a unit of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the 987th Signal Company
      was raised from bilingual Chinese American soldiers and organized
      specifically for service in China, with the objectives of providing
      communication services and enhancing Liaison between American and
      Chinese military organizations. Once in China, the unit deployed to
      Kaiyuan in Yunnan Province, where it established a company
      headquarters and operated support services. From Kaiyuan, small two
      and four man field teams deployed, primarily on horseback, to
      various remote locations to assist American Army Infantry Liaison
      teams working with Chinese Army units that were deployed along
      China's border with Japanese occupied French Indo- China.

      Once deployed, the Company eventually assumed communications duties
      for all the widely scattered Allied ground units in the region. In
      additions to coordinating ground and ground to air communications
      throughout their area of operations, they also coordinated
      communication for long-range reconnaissance patrols that penetrated
      deep into Japanese held territory.


      ===============


      Chinese-Americans in World War II
      http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/topics/apam/Chinese-Americans.htm


      When the United States entered World War II, about 29,000 persons of
      Chinese ancestry were living in Hawaii and another 78,000 on the
      mainland. By war's end, over 13,000 were serving in all branches of
      the Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces.

      About one quarter of all Chinese-American soldiers served with the
      Army Air Forces. In 1943 the Army Air Forces organized some support
      units for the China-Burma-India theater, including the 14th Air
      Service Group, composed predominantly of Chinese-American personnel.
      Other Chinese-Americans trained as pilots and aircrew and fought in
      Europe and the Pacific. However, most were assigned to regular
      ground units.

      An estimated 40 percent of Chinese-American soldiers were not native-
      born citizens. After Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act in
      1943, many took advantage of their military service to become
      naturalized.

      One Chinese-American received the Distinguished Service Cross, Capt.
      Francis B. Wai. He was born in Hawaii, where his father was Chinese
      and his mother Native Hawaiian. After graduating from the Punahou
      School in Honolulu and the University of California at Los Angeles,
      Wai enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard and was called to active
      duty in 1940. He earned his commission through officers candidate
      school in 1941 and was assigned to the 34th Infantry, part of the
      24th Infantry Division. On October 20, 1944, his unit landed at
      Leyte in the Philippines. He was killed in action while leading
      soldiers off the beach against accurate and concentrated enemy fire.


      ===========


      Americans First
      Chinese Americans and the Second World War
      K. Scott Wong
      http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/WONAME.html


      World War II was a watershed event for many of America's minorities,
      but its impact on Chinese Americans has been largely ignored.
      Utilizing extensive archival research as well as oral histories and
      letters from over one hundred informants, K. Scott Wong explores how
      Chinese Americans carved a newly respected and secure place for
      themselves in American society during the war years.

      Long the victims of racial prejudice and discriminatory immigration
      practices, Chinese Americans struggled to transform their image in
      the nation's eyes. As Americans racialized the Japanese enemy abroad
      and interned Japanese Americans at home, Chinese citizens sought to
      distinguish themselves by venturing beyond the confines of Chinatown
      to join the military and various defense industries in record
      numbers. Wong offers the first in-depth account of Chinese Americans
      in the American military, tracing the history of the 14th Air
      Service Group, a segregated unit comprising over 1,200 men, and
      examining how their war service contributed to their social mobility
      and the shaping of their ethnic identity.

      Americans First pays tribute to a generation of young men and women
      who, torn between loyalties to their parents' traditions and their
      growing identification with America and tormented by the pervasive
      racism of wartime America, served their country with patriotism and
      courage. Consciously developing their image as a "model minority,"
      often at the expense of the Japanese and Japanese Americans, Chinese
      Americans created the pervasive image of Asian Americans that still
      resonates today.

      -

      Americans First
      Chinese Americans and the
      Second World War
      k. scott wong
      harvard university press
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
      London, England
      2005
      Copyright © 2005 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College


      —Harry Lim, a veteran of the th Air Service Squadron

      Introduction
      Soon after my parents married in 1943 in Philadelphia's Chinatown,
      they left for Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, where my father,
      Henry Wong, was stationed as a second lieutenant in the
      army air force, one of the more than twelve thousand Chinese
      Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces during the Second
      World War. He soon received his orders for overseas duty
      and spent the rest of the war in the Third Air Cargo Resupply
      Squadron under the umbrella of the Fourteenth Air Force, flying
      in a C-46 airdropping supplies to American and Chinese
      troops in southwest China. When he departed for China, my
      mother, Mary (née Lee), returned to Philadelphia and lived with
      her in-laws. My parents' first child was born during this period,
      and my father would not meet his firstborn son for seventeen
      months.

      Before the war, my parents were among a small number of
      American-born Chinese in their community. My paternal grandparents
      were unusual for their time. Wong Wah Ding, a native
      of China, was married to Emma, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia.
      They lived in Philadelphia Chinatown, and my grandfather,
      a merchant and herbalist, was considered its unofficial
      mayor for much of the 1940s and 1950s.

      They raised their only child in an English-speaking household as it
      was the common language between them. My mother, in contrast, spent
      her early years in Salem, New Jersey, living atop the family laundry
      with her parents and six siblings, speaking mostly Chinese until she
      entered school. After her father, Kew Lee, passed away, her mother,
      Anne Lee, moved the family to Philadelphia and raised the children
      in Chinatown as a single mother. It was there that my parents met as
      teenagers and later married.

      My grandparents belonged to the Chinese immigrant generation
      that suffered the pain and difficulties of exclusion policies.
      Families had been separated, relegating many men to lives akin
      to bachelorhood as immigration laws prohibited their wives from
      joining them. Thousands of "paper sons" had entered the country
      under assumed identities to find work and a means of survival.
      Despite the barriers and hardships, these immigrants gradually
      gave birth to a generation of Chinese American children
      that came of age as the United States was entering the Second
      World War.

      In the years leading up to U.S. involvement in the war, many
      first- and second-generation Chinese Americans struggled to find
      acceptance in the wider society. Those with college degrees
      had difficulty finding jobs outside the Chinatown economy, and
      some even looked to China for possible employment. However,
      most American-born Chinese realized that their futures would
      unfold in the United States.

      While many received some kind of instruction in the Chinese language
      and spoke Chinese to their parents and peers, this generation was
      primarily English-speaking and American in outlook, having been
      educated in American schools. These Chinese Americans, while
      acknowledging their heritage and their familial ties to China,
      sought to carve out a legitimate position in American society and to
      be accepted as equals of all other Americans.

      For Asian Americans, the generational conflicts common to many
      immigrant groups were exacerbated by U.S. immigration and
      citizenship policies. Immigrants from Asia were ineligible
      for citizenship by law. As their American-born children sought
      acceptance in the broader society, the worldviews of parents
      and children often diverged. Many parents were unsure whether
      their futures would lie in America or in Asia, and the children,
      though citizens, were often unable to safeguard their own rights
      in the land of their birth.

      These conflicts were most obvious for Japanese Americans during the
      war in which Japan was an enemy. They were forced into concentration
      camps despite the fact that two-thirds of them were American
      citizens by birth. Because of their internment and the attending
      issues concerning citizenship, racism, and the magnitude of the
      national crisis, the wartime experience of Japanese Americans has
      dominated the study of the impact of the war on Asian American
      communities.

      Most research on the war has focused on the hardships of internment
      and/or the military heroics of the Japanese American 442nd
      Regimental Combat Team and 100th Battalion. This almost exclusive
      focus on one group has narrowed the subsequent memory of the war to
      a bipolar discourse of injustice and achievement, ignoring the
      complex experiences of other groups of Asian Americans during this
      period of American social transformation.

      Until recently, the Chinese Americans born in the 1910s and
      1920s have not received the same sustained scholarly interest
      as earlier and later cohorts.2 Many researchers have focused on
      uncovering the racist past of Asian American history and championing
      resistance to oppression. The generation born in the
      1920s, many of whom by the late 1960s were well established in
      the American middle class, have been seen by some scholars as
      assimilationists and therefore as less relevant or less heroic than
      earlier railroad workers or later-born internees.

      It is as though American scholars of Chinese America had created
      their own version of the famous observation by Marcus Lee
      Hansen: "What the son wishes to forget the grandson wishes to
      remember." In the case of Chinese American studies, the
      grandchildren have tended to valorize their grandfathers and
      grandmothers while dismissing their fathers and mothers. But, as the
      historian David Yoo has argued, this tendency "has meant that many
      scholars have missed the opportunity to explore how identity
      formation developed in the lives of second-generation immigrants."3

      This book is an attempt to explore just that: the identity formation
      of Chinese Americans, particularly the second generation, as it
      developed and changed in the unique circumstances of the Second
      World War.

      A perusal of books on the war and the years immediately after yields
      few references to Chinese American military personnel, defense
      industry workers, relief efforts, or even the repeal of the Chinese
      Exclusion Acts. And yet Chinese Americans contributed to all aspects
      of the war effort and suffered and benefited as much as anyone from
      the deprivations and changes wrought by the war. One slogan on a
      recruiting poster for the Women's Army Corps could easily apply to
      Chinese Americans as well: "i'm in this war too!"

      Although I speak Mandarin Chinese (not of great use when trying to
      interview Cantonese speakers) and can read Chinese, I decided to
      conduct the interviews for this book in English and to consult
      mostly English-language sources. The second generation was most
      comfortable speaking English and received most of its information
      from the English-language press, not from Chinese-language
      newspapers. Furthermore, this cohort produced a large body of
      written sources. They were consciously reflective on the social
      changes they were experiencing. Now, fifty years later, they are
      eager to share their thoughts on their lives as second-generation
      Chinese Americans.

      In writing about these men and women I have attempted to place their
      voices at center stage. The story they tell is one of struggle and
      success: of the ways they supported the U.S. war effort while also
      aiding China; of the different racial cultures of Hawai'i and the
      mainland United States; of the soldiers and officers who served in
      the U.S. military, including the all–Chinese American 14th Air
      Service Group and 987th Signal Company; of racial segregation and
      ethnic pride; of American nationalism and Chinese American
      patriotism.


      Chinese America before the War

      When the United States entered the SecondWorldWar in late 1941,
      Chinese immigrants had been present in the country for nearly a
      hundred years. However, because of restrictive immigration
      legislation, anti-Chinese sentiment, residential and occupational
      segregation, and language and cultural barriers, Chinese Americans
      remained marginalized in U.S. society. Long considered "perpetually
      foreign" and inassimilable, many Chinese Americans, in the mid-
      twentieth century, lived in segregated urban communities, often
      isolated from mainstream American life.

      Although there is evidence that the first Chinese to arrive in
      the United States landed on the East Coast as a result of Sino-
      American trade in the eighteenth century, Chinese began entering
      the country in appreciable numbers soon after gold was discovered
      in California in 1848. The immigrants were drawn to America because
      of declining fortunes in China caused by internal disorder,
      overpopulation, poverty, and Western imperialism, along with the
      prospect of riches in California's Mother Lode or better wages in
      America's agricultural sector, small businesses, light mnufacturing,
      or railroad construction.

      Not long after their arrival in California, however, the Chinese
      became targets for white Americans' racial antagonisms and economic
      insecurities. They found themselves restricted by law from
      intermarrying with whites, forbidden to engage in certain
      occupations or live in certain areas, denied the opportunity to
      become citizens and the right to testify for or against whites in
      courts of law, and subject to fines and fees not levied against
      other immigrants or racial groups. They were also victims of
      frequent and large-scale physical violence and intimidation. As a
      result, they tended to live in close proximity to one another as
      much for mutual protection as for cultural familiarity.

      Chinese American urban communities, better known as Chinatowns, had
      long been under siege, and San Francisco Chinatown, historically the
      major settlement of Chinese in the United States, was a key site of
      the anti-Chinese movement.

      In 1876 San Francisco hosted federal hearings on Chinese immigration.
      By that time there was a history of anti-Chinese activity in the
      city, especially in the form of organizations such as the
      Workingmen's Party led by Denis Kearney. Kearney's shout at the end
      of his sandlot speeches—"The Chinese Must Go!"—became the slogan of
      the anti-Chinese movement.

      Many viewed Chinatown as an immoral, vice-infested district and the
      Chinese as mysterious people who could never become "true Americans."
      One witness at the federal hearings on immigration had this to say
      about the Chinese community in San Francisco: "An indigestible mass
      in the community, distinct in language, pagan in religion, inferior
      in mental and moral qualities, and all peculiarities, is an
      undesirable element in a republic, but becomes especially so if
      political power is placed in its hands."

      The term "Chinatown" was often used in a demeaning manner to elicit
      images of filth, mystery, crime, disease, and moral depravity.
      These images became almost generic descriptions for any Chinese
      immigrant or Chinese American community, giving the impression that
      all "Chinatowns" were alike. Chinese immigrants often referred to
      their communities as tang-ren-jie (streets of the men of Tang) and
      more recently as Hua-bi (Chinese district), but "Chinatown" became
      the term most commonly used by Chinese Americans as well as the
      general public.

      The first Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882, prohibited the
      immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years and declared that
      Chinese immigrants were ineligible for citizenship. This was the
      first U.S. immigration law that specifically barred a group of
      people on the basis of race and class.

      Those Chinese allowed to enter the United States were of the so-
      called exempt classes, which included merchants, teachers, students,
      diplomats, and tourists. Over the next twenty-two years, the
      original exclusion legislation was repeatedly extended and
      strengthened. Measures passed in 1888, 1892, 1894, 1902, and 1904
      expanded the definition of laborers and narrowed the definition of
      merchants. These acts dramatically reduced the number of Chinese
      entering the country.

      The exclusionary laws created a strong motivation for illegal
      immigration, and one feature of U.S. law facilitated it. American-
      born children of immigrants were U.S. citizens, and children
      born to a U.S. citizen, whether born in America or not, were also
      citizens. Thus if Chinese Americans who were citizens could
      prove that they had children in China, the children would be
      able to join the parents in America. This led to the development
      of what came to be called "paper sons": the practice of claiming
      fictional offspring.

      After the 1906 earthquake, which destroyed the immigration records
      in San Francisco, this ploy became especially common. The "parents"
      would have someone draw up false papers documenting the lives and
      identities of these children, and the papers would be sold to people
      in China who could pass for the children. The purchaser would
      memorize his "paper life" and then attempt to enter the United
      States posing as the child of a citizen.

      Many Americans believed that most Chinese who arrived in the country
      were entering illegally as such paper sons. San Francisco continued
      to be the major port of disembarkation for immigrants from China,
      and the Angel Island Immigration Station, situated in San Francisco
      Bay and in operation from 1910 to 1940, was the first American site
      where many Chinese encountered extreme hostility. Thousands were
      detained at Angel Island, sometimes for over a year, before they
      were allowed to immigrate.

      The validity of each would-be immigrant's story was determined by a
      series of tedious interviews involving verification by witnesses.
      These interviews were the reason for the long detentions on Angel
      Island. In spite of these rigors, the majority of those seeking
      entry into the United States were eventually admitted: in some years
      the rate was as high as 97 percent.

      Many who were admitted, after their terrifying experience on Angel
      Island, immediately sought refuge in San Francisco Chinatown or
      another U.S. Chinatown.

      Negative imagery, language and cultural differences, the fear of
      illegal immigration, and hostile racism kept many prewar Chinese
      Americans confined to Chinatown, unable to find jobs or homes
      elsewhere, and therefore distant from the broader American
      experience. For this reason, in the 1930s and early 1940s, the
      residents of Chinatown, especially merchants and members of the
      political elite, worked hard to transform Chinatown from its old
      image of a mysterious ethnic enclave into a tourist-friendly
      attraction with an economy based on restaurants and curio shops.


      chinese america before the war
      Social Boundaries
      San Francisco Chinatown was the cultural heartland of Chinese
      America. It was the national headquarters of the Chinese Consolidated
      Benevolent Association (also known as the CCBA or the Chinese Six
      Companies), an organization that oversaw relations between Chinese
      fraternal associations and often fought for civil rights causes on
      behalf of the Chinese in America.

      The community supported a number of daily and weekly publications,
      in both Chinese and English, and was generally regarded as the
      premier Chinese American community in the nation, followed by that
      in New York.6 Despite the rigors of the Chinese exclusion acts and
      the long-term detentions on Angel Island, a steady stream of Chinese
      immigrants continued to bring new life into San Francisco.

      By the Second World War, a distinctively Chinese American culture
      had developed in San Francisco, a culture that was shaped by the
      residents' relationship to China and its role in the politics of
      Asia, their often hostile relationship with white America, and the
      coming of age of a second generation of American-born Chinese who
      were struggling to define their place in society.

      As a result of various exclusion laws and cultural deterrents,
      far fewer Chinese women than men immigrated. Chinese women, if
      single, did not venture overseas alone, and if married, were
      expected to stay in China and care for their in-laws. Furthermore,
      since many male emigrants assumed they would return to the home
      village with the financial fruits of their labors, their wives
      endured long separations in anticipation of their return.

      With the passage of anti-miscegenation laws in California and other
      western states that specifically prohibited intermarriage between
      Chinese and whites, many men could not find ates, and the
      development of Chinese American families was severely stunted.

      It was not until the mid-1930s that Chinese America finally achieved
      a sizable adult second generation. These men and women, American-
      born and thus U.S. citizens, often found themselves caught between
      their loyalty to and identification with Chinese culture and
      tradition and their desire to be fully accepted in American society.
      Because of the difficulty in finding jobs outside Chinatown, many
      Chinese Americans came to believe that their futures would be more
      secure in China than in America.

      It was not uncommon for families to send their children, especially
      sons, to China for part of their education so that they could
      perfect their use of the Chinese language, learn Chinese culture,
      cultivate professional contacts, and perhaps meet a future spouse.

      This was true not only in larger Chinese American communities such
      as San Francisco but across the country, including Hawai'i. For
      example, William Seam Wong and Joseph Yuu of Boston Chinatown went
      to China to receive a Chinese education. Wong, born in 1920,
      traveled to China with his mother in 1931 and stayed until the
      Japanese tightened their hold on that country in 1937. Yuu went to
      China with his family in 1927 and returned to the United States in
      1935.

      Wong and Yuu, who had been born in the United States and were thus
      American citizens, had no trouble leaving and reentering the
      country. But for many of the second generation, especially those old
      enough to be worried about careers, the choice between remaining
      in America and trying their luck in China was fraught with conflict
      and ambivalence. The tension between the desire to claim a place in
      America and the feeling that one could have a more promising future
      in China found expression in a now-famous essay contest of 1936
      sponsored by the Ging Hawk Club of New York.

      The essay topic was "Does My Future Lie in China or America?" The
      first- and second-place essays appeared in the Chinese Digest, a
      Chinese American periodical published in San Francisco under the
      editorship of Thomas Chinn. The winner, Robert Dunn from Somerville,
      Massachusetts, a student at Harvard University, placed his future in
      America, maintaining that one could serve China "by building up a
      good impression of the Chinese among Americans, by spreading good-
      will and clearing up misunderstandings, by interesting the Americans
      in the Chinese thru personal contacts and otherwise, and, if
      necessary, by contributing generously to the financing of worthy
      enterprises in China."

      He stated that he preferred American social values, asserting that
      his Chinese relatives "pour contempt upon religion, especially upon
      Christianity, and fail to see the preciousness and value of the
      individual life. This culture and attitude is contrary to mine, and
      I fear that I shall be unhappy in the process of yielding to it."

      He concluded that "[I] owe America as much allegiance as I do China;
      that it is possible to serve China while living in America; that
      remunerative employment, though scarce, is not impossible to obtain
      in either China or America; and [that] I would avoid the unhappiness
      and social estrangement due to conflicting cultures by staying in
      America."

      The second-place winner took the opposite position. Kaye Hong, a
      resident of San Francisco, focused much of his essay on the
      restrictions placed on Chinese Americans by American racism. He
      lamented: "I have learned to acknowledge that the better jobs are
      not available to me and that the advancement of my career is
      consequently limited in this fair land." Hong rejected the rhetoric
      on which many Chinese in America relied, which stressed the past
      accomplishments of Chinese civilization:

      "The ridicule heaped upon the Chinese race has long fermented
      in my soul. I have concluded that we, the younger generation,
      have nothing to be proud of except the time-worn accomplishments
      of our ancient ancestors, that we have been living in the
      shadow of these glories, hoping that these arts and literature
      of the past will justify our present. Sad but true, they do not.
      To live under such illusions is to lead the life of a parasite."

      Returning to China, Hong proposed, would allow him to serve China by
      aiding in its modernization, for only a modern China would garner
      the respect of the world. This sentiment had been prevalent among
      Chinese since they began immigrating to the United States.

      Many believed that a stronger Chinese government would be able to
      improve the position and treatment of Chinese in America.
      Unfortunately, this was not necessarily the case.

      Dunn's essay drew a heated response from some readers of the Chinese
      Digest. Members of the Chinese Students' Club at Stanford University
      replied with a scathing letter that informed Dunn: "Your fallacies
      in reasoning, your ignorance of China's needs, your misconceptions
      of Chinese culture and civilization, your biased viewpoint, all
      reveal how poorly qualified you were to correctly evaluate the
      factors involved in this great problem that confronts the second-
      generation Chinese in America."

      They called Dunn's position "pathetic and misleading." Pointing out
      that their group consisted of both Chinese-born and Americanborn
      students, they chided Dunn for his characterization of China as
      backward and for seeing "our problem through the eyes of an
      unsympathetic American who has never lived in China.

      You judge China by American standards—political, economic, and
      moral." They then revealed their class and regional biases by
      stating: "We have reason to believe that your contacts have been
      restricted to Cantonese, who are by no means representative of the
      whole of China's people. Because some of these contacts have
      conflicted with your American sensibilities, you have associated the
      Chinese with unpleasant things."

      Since the majority of the Chinese in the United States at that time
      were Cantonese of the urban working and merchant classes, in implying
      that the Cantonese were the Chinese from whom Dunn felt alienated,
      the Stanford students were actually attempting to distance
      themselves from the Cantonese and from the culture that had
      developed in American Chinatowns.

      This letter, written by university students who probably came from
      more affluent backgrounds than most residents of Chinatown, speaks
      to conflicts within the Chinese American population. Class tensions
      and regionalism, factors that had separated Chinese in China,
      manifested themselves in America as well.

      The Stanford students did bring up an issue that was important to
      many Chinese Americans in the prewar years. Dunn had written in his
      essay: "It is evident, then, that employment is hard to get
      anywhere; in America, perhaps because of the color line; in China
      because jobs are scarce. The color line, however, does not entirely
      prevent the American-born Chinese from getting jobs." The students
      very pointedly countered:

      Our observation has shown us that such belief is fantastically
      erroneous. Given two college students of equal ability and training,
      one a Chinese and the other an American, can you unblushingly lead
      us to believe that the Chinese has an equal chance against American
      competition? What fanciful illusions of equality were you dreaming
      about when you tell us that "the color line, however, does not
      entirely prevent the American-born Chinese from getting jobs." If not
      the "color line"—the racial prejudice—what is keeping Chinese out of
      American industries and governmental offices?

      Surely not the lack of ability.

      The belief that racism was preventing Chinese Americans from
      advancing in society would find expression time and again, especially
      among those of the second generation.

      The two essays by Dunn and Hong and the responses capture some of
      the cultural tension faced by the second generation. Unable to find
      meaningful employment outside Chinatowns, some looked to China for
      economic opportunity plus a chance to serve China. Others were more
      optimistic about their chances in America and acknowledged a
      distance from Chinese culture.

      In truth, most Chinese Americans in the 1930s chose to cast their
      lot with America. Born and educated in the United States, they
      were swept up in a Chinese American existence and tried their
      best to find good jobs and lead productive, if restricted, lives.

      As the political situation in China became increasingly unstable,
      traveling to China and finding work there became less feasible.

      In fact, Robert Dunn, whose essay indicated that he would stay in
      America, went to China before the war and worked there for a number
      of years, in the Chinese civil service and later for the Chinese
      delegation to the United Nations. After returning to the United
      States he worked in the Asian division of the Library of Congress
      until his retirement.

      While in China he began using his full name: Robert DunnWu. Kaye
      Hong, in contrast, despite his criticisms, remained in the United
      States and did not go to China until it opened to tourism in the
      1980s.

      While working in China, Wu began writing a column for the Chinese
      News, a paper founded by Thomas Chinn after his Chinese Digest
      folded. Wu's first article was entitled "Robert Dunn WuWrites from
      Chungking." The editorial note introduced him as the first-prize
      winner of the essay contest, explained that he had gone to Hong Kong
      and was now living in Chungking (Chongqing) working for the Chinese
      ministry of affairs.

      Wu wrote: "The urge to set foot on Free China soil had kidnapped
      chinese america before the war me. I could not resist." This article
      focused mainly on the hardships of living in war-torn Chongqing and
      the difficulties of making ends meet in a declining economy.

      In later issues, Wu appeared regularly, writing a column
      called "Chungking Chatter."

      In these columns the editorial note claimed that "his writings
      besides being informative are indicative of the philosophy of
      China's millions." By this point Wu had come to identify with
      the Chinese among whom he lived.

      In spite of frequent bombings by the Japanese, he declared: "With
      food in our stomachs, we can carry on this war indefinitely." Life
      in China during the war brought Wu's Chinese patriotism to the fore,
      and he conveyed it to Chinese Americans through his columns, arousing
      their sympathies and awareness of China's plight.

      Another young man who went to China during this period was John Jan.
      Described as "a former Sacramento boy who received his B.S. degree
      in mining engineering at the University of California in 1933," Jan
      arrived in China in the autumn of 1940 and found work with the
      Chinese Industrial Cooperative as a mining engineer.

      He wrote: Boy, am I glad I came back! . . . The people I work with
      and have met are all tops. Here, at least, the attitude toward Wah
      kius [American-born Chinese] is not as have been described. This is
      a new generation! Fellows from 16 to 30 years old. All honest and
      willing and able to do the right thing. Among them are graduates of
      Sun Yat-sen University, wounded ex-soldiers, and just young fellows
      who see eye to eye with us. I've been welcomed sincerely by them.

      It has helped their morale to see that there are Wah kius who also
      love China enough to go back and work for it— who can bring them the
      news that the other Wah kius are all for China . . . My salary to
      start with is low but I can live on it. And by my work I'm helping
      lick the Japs.

      Acknowledgments
      In 1991 I attended a reunion of Chinese American veterans of the
      Fourteenth Air Service Group. Having grown up on air force bases in
      the United States and abroad, and having played with my father's
      Flying Tigers patches, medals, and other war memorabilia as a child,
      I was curious about whether other Chinese Americans had a similar
      background. It had always seemed that we were the only Chinese
      American family on base, so the idea of a reunion of Chinese
      American veterans intrigued me.

      I spoke to Retired Colonel Thomas Lew, who assured me that I would
      be welcome. I quickly put together an information sheet and a brief
      questionnaire. When I arrived at the reunion I met Edwin Len of New
      Jersey, who quickly introduced me to other veterans, and thanks to
      their warm hospitality and eagerness to talk, I lined up a number of
      interviews. Cecil Young of Honolulu was especially receptive, and
      when he returned to Hawai'i he encouraged other veterans there to
      get in touch with me.

      In the next several years I traveled to other reunions and to
      interview sessions in San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, and points
      between, conducting more than fifty interviews and corresponding
      with another fifty men and women.

      Many commented that no one, not even their own children, had ever
      asked about their wartime experiences. These men and women form the
      core of my oral history base.

      Working on this book has deepened my conviction that history is
      fundamentally about individuals—people with desires, dreams,
      disappointments, and memories—and the social conditions that shape
      their circumstances. While the veterans and their families have been
      willing and generous "informants," they have also shown me great
      kindness and affection.

      I have spent time in their homes, been treated to wonderful lunches
      and dinners, received gifts for my new daughter, and been saddened to
      read their obituaries. I owe them all a great deal. The Chinese once
      had a saying: "Do not use good iron to make nails; do not use good
      men to make soldiers." Nothing could be further from a description
      of the men and women who contributed to this book.

      I have tried to present their stories with the same candor with
      which they were told to me, and in the same spirit of respect and
      reflection.

      Among those who agreed to be interviewed or who corresponded with
      me, I would especially like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Hon Chung Chee,
      William Ching, Thomas Chinn, Dorothy Eng, Lui Eng, Marietta Chong
      Eng, Maggie Gee, Richard Gee, Ah Leong Ho, Alfred Jay, James Jay,
      Ralph Jung, Mr. and Mrs. Wing Fook Jung, Wesley Ko, Daniel Lau,
      Stanley Lau, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Len, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lew,
      Christina Lim, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lim, Dai Hing Loo, Samuel Lum,
      William Lum, Woody Moy, Mack Pong, Arthur Shak, Harvey Wong, Leonard
      Wong, Mun Charn Wong, William Seam Wong, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Young,
      Clifford Young, Joseph Yuu, and Warren Zane.

      Over the years of conducting research and presenting portions of
      this work at conferences, I have had the good fortune to receive
      advice, criticism, suggestions, and materials from a number of
      colleagues. Among them are Roger Daniels, Chris Friday, Patricia
      Hill, Madeline Hsu, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Lili Kim, Him Mark Lai,
      Bob Lee, Erika Lee, Karen Leong, Roger Lotchin, Gary Mormino,
      Franklin Odo, Gary Okihiro, Claire Potter, David Reimers, Lucy
      Salyer, Jack Tchen, Geoffrey White, Judy Wu, David Yoo, Henry Yu,
      Judy Yung, and Su Zheng.

      In addition to their scholarly insights, I value their friendship,
      companionship, and mentorship. I am also indebted to William
      Strobridge, Ralph Waara, and Henry Wong for answering questions
      about military institutions and regulations.

      I am very fortunate to have found a home at Williams College, where
      teaching and scholarship are valued equally. I could not ask for
      better friends and colleagues than those I have here. Working with
      Robert Dalzell, Charles Dew, Cathy Johnson, Tom Kohut, Regina
      Kunzel, Karen Merrill, Kenda Mutongi, Bill Wagner, Chris Waters, Jim
      Wood, and my other colleagues in the history department has brought
      me much joy and the appreciation of professional friendship and
      collegiality.

      Williams College is also a place where undergraduates can be
      involved in our work in ways that benefit us both. Jessica Coffin,
      Cordelia Dickenson, Rebecca Krause, Osterman Perez, Geraldine Shen,
      and Alison Swain helped track down sources and provided insights
      while we discussed and practiced the craft of history.

      I am especially thankful to Rebecca Brassard, Margaret Bryant,
      Shirley Bushika, Donna Chenail, Cynthia Davis, and Lori Tolle, who
      spent many weeks transcribing hours of tapes of oral histories.
      I am grateful for research grants from Williams College and
      the National Endowment for the Humanities, which enabled me
      to travel to archives and interview sessions during teaching
      sabbaticals.

      I am indebted to librarians and archivists, especially Wei Chi Poon
      of the Asian American Studies Library at the University of
      California, Berkeley, the staff of the Air Force Historical
      Research Library at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, James F.
      Cartwright and Michaelyn Chou of the University of Hawai'i
      Library, and the staff at theWilliams College Libraries.

      I also appreciate permission from the University of Illinois Press
      to use material that appeared in my article "War Comes to Chinatown:
      Social Transformation and the Chinese of California," in Roger
      Lotchin, ed., The Way We Really Were: The Golden State in the Second
      Great War (2000).

      At Harvard University Press, I am eternally grateful to Joyce
      Seltzer and Camille Smith for their incisive editing, patience, and
      encouragement. Together, they helped me think beyond the classroom
      and write a book our folks would read. I am also indebted to
      Annamarie Why for designing a cover that has brought my parents
      great joy, giving their images a place in the American public that
      their generation never thought possible.

      And I wish to thank Rachel Weinstein for her assistance in
      shepherding the manuscript through the publication process.
      It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to thank in print those
      who shaped my development as a scholar and teacher.

      Peter Li of Rutgers University was the first to show me "one corner
      of the argument," while Chun-shu Chang, James Crump, and Ernie Young
      of the University of Michigan and Sucheng Chan of the University of
      California, Santa Barbara, taught me how to bring back the "other
      three." Their friendship and academic standards have been the models
      by which I have measured my own career.

      I can only repay them by extending myself to my colleagues and
      students as they did to me.

      No one has sustained me more than my family. My parents, Henry and
      Mary Wong, have consistently encouraged and supported my personal
      and professional efforts, as have my brothers Keith and Christopher.
      I only wish our brother Kenny had lived to read this book. My
      deepest love and gratitude are reserved for my wife, Carrie, and our
      daughter, Sarah. The joy of their companionship reminds me daily of
      what is truly important in life.


      =======


      Wong's New Book Recounts Struggles, Successes of Early Chinese
      Americans
      http://www.williams.edu/admin/news/releases.php?id=1001


      WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., July 19, 2005 - K. Scott Wong's new
      book, "Americans First: Chinese Americans and the Second World War,"
      focuses on Chinese Americans during the 1930s and through the Second
      World War and the different journeys second-generation Chinese
      Americans took in response to the conflicting pressures of American
      racism, American values, and America's developing relationship with
      China during the War.

      The book combines the personal accounts of more than 100 people as
      well as meticulous research of the Chinese American press during the
      second generation's growth.

      Beginning with the arrival of Chinese in the 1800s, Wong details the
      struggles they faced in developing a cultural and national identity
      in America. Strict immigration laws, calls for deportation, and
      exclusionary acts against the Chinese slowed the influx of Chinese
      Americans, preventing a full second generation from developing until
      the 1930s.

      This cohort, though mostly American-born, still faced social and
      economic boundaries associated with their grandparents. Most were
      denied jobs and forced to seek refuge from racial and language
      barriers in scattered Chinatowns, then the cultural and economic
      centers for Chinese Americans.

      Some considered returning to China, where economic prosperity might
      have been easier to come by for someone of Chinese descent. Yet, as
      Wong writes, Chinese Americans felt "the desire to claim a place in
      America," meaning "the choice between remaining in America and
      trying their luck in China was fraught with conflict and
      ambivalence." Inevitably, while some returned, the remaining Chinese
      American community strove to establish a place for themselves in the
      States.

      Although "many exhibited a strong identification with mainstream
      American youth culture" and "immigrants and their offspring had come
      to the point of strong identification with American society and
      culture," Wong writes that Chinese Americans ultimately made their
      ascension into American society during the War while riding the wave
      of anti-Japanese sentiment. The Chinese American press even
      encouraged people to make clear their Chinese descent to avoid being
      confused as Japanese. The result was the beginnings of Chinese
      Americans sculpting the image of the "good Asian" that remains in
      the American cultural mindset to this day.

      The book also details the efforts of prominent Chinese American
      military personnel in the American armed forces during World War II.
      Wong focuses particularly on the achievements of the Fourteenth Air
      Service Group, which eventually had the largest concentration of
      Chinese American personnel in the Armed Forces. In addition, he
      documents the contributions made by Chinese Americans, especially
      women, in the various defense industries on the homefront. Wong also
      charts the differences between how Chinese American communities
      developed during the War in both American Mainland and Hawaii.

      The war bred camaraderie and community among Chinese Americans that
      wrought kinship in postwar decades and instilled in many a greater
      confidence and self respect as they gained larger roles in American
      society. Though the Chinese still faced obstacles to complete
      acceptance in America, they were tied to the land through their
      contributions in the war, and in the end, this connection
      established them as true Americans.

      Wong is professor of history at Williams College. In addition to
      this book, Wong is co-editor of "Privileging Positions: The Sites of
      Asian American Studies" and "Claiming America: Constructing Chinese
      American Identities during the Exclusion Era." He is the author of
      more than a dozen articles on Chinese American history.

      His honors include the 2001 History and Social Sciences Book Award
      from the Association for Asian American Studies, support by the
      National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Immigration History
      Society's Carlton Qualey Award for the "most outstanding article
      published in the Journal of American Ethnic History during a two
      year period."

      In addition to Williams, he has taught at Wesleyan University,
      Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan, and was a research fellow at the
      East-West Center in Honolulu.

      He received his B.A. in Asian studies from Rutgers University in
      1976 and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in
      1992.

      -


      Williams College is consistently ranked one of the nation's top
      liberal arts colleges. The college's 2,000 students are taught by a
      faculty noted for the quality of their undergraduate teaching. The
      achievement of academic goals includes active participation of
      students with faculty in research. Admission decisions are made
      regardless of a student's financial ability, and the college
      provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs
      of all who are admitted. Founded in 1793, it is the second oldest
      institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college is
      located in Williamstown, Mass. To visit the college on the Internet:
      www.williams.edu



      ==========


      Wong's New Book Recounts Struggles, Successes of Early Chinese
      Americans
      http://iberkshires.com/story.php?story_id=17788


      Williamstown - K. Scott Wong's new book, "Americans First: Chinese
      Americans and the Second World War," focuses on Chinese Americans
      during the 1930s and through the Second World War and the different
      journeys second-generation Chinese Americans took in response to the
      conflicting pressures of American racism, American values, and
      America's developing relationship with China during the War.

      The book combines the personal accounts of more than 100 people as
      well as meticulous research of the Chinese American press during the
      second generation's growth.

      Beginning with the arrival of Chinese in the 1800s, Wong details the
      struggles they faced in developing a cultural and national identity
      in America. Strict immigration laws, calls for deportation, and
      exclusionary acts against the Chinese slowed the influx of Chinese
      Americans, preventing a full second generation from developing until
      the 1930s.

      This cohort, though mostly American-born, still faced social and
      economic boundaries associated with their grandparents. Most were
      denied jobs and forced to seek refuge from racial and language
      barriers in scattered Chinatowns, then the cultural and economic
      centers for Chinese Americans.

      Some considered returning to China, where economic prosperity might
      have been easier to come by for someone of Chinese descent. Yet, as
      Wong writes, Chinese Americans felt "the desire to claim a place in
      America," meaning "the choice between remaining in America and
      trying their luck in China was fraught with conflict and
      ambivalence." Inevitably, while some returned, the remaining Chinese
      American community strove to establish a place for themselves in the
      States.

      Although "many exhibited a strong identification with mainstream
      American youth culture" and "immigrants and their offspring had come
      to the point of strong identification with American society and
      culture," Wong writes that Chinese Americans ultimately made their
      ascension into American society during the War while riding the wave
      of anti-Japanese sentiment. The Chinese American press even
      encouraged people to make clear their Chinese descent to avoid being
      confused as Japanese. The result was the beginnings of Chinese
      Americans sculpting the image of the "good Asian" that remains in
      the American cultural mindset to this day.

      The book also details the efforts of prominent Chinese American
      military personnel in the American armed forces during World War II.
      Wong focuses particularly on the achievements of the Fourteenth Air
      Service Group, which eventually had the largest concentration of
      Chinese American personnel in the Armed Forces. In addition, he
      documents the contributions made by Chinese Americans, especially
      women, in the various defense industries on the homefront. Wong also
      charts the differences between how Chinese American communities
      developed during the War in both American Mainland and Hawaii.

      The war bred camaraderie and community among Chinese Americans that
      wrought kinship in postwar decades and instilled in many a greater
      confidence and self respect as they gained larger roles in American
      society. Though the Chinese still faced obstacles to complete
      acceptance in America, they were tied to the land through their
      contributions in the war, and in the end, this connection
      established them as true Americans.

      Wong is professor of history at Williams College. In addition to
      this book, Wong is co-editor of "Privileging Positions: The Sites of
      Asian American Studies" and "Claiming America: Constructing Chinese
      American Identities during the Exclusion Era." He is the author of
      more than a dozen articles on Chinese American history.

      His honors include the 2001 History and Social Sciences Book Award
      from the Association for Asian American Studies, support by the
      National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Immigration History
      Society's Carlton Qualey Award for the "most outstanding article
      published in the Journal of American Ethnic History during a two
      year period."

      In addition to Williams, he has taught at Wesleyan University,
      Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan, and was a research fellow at the
      East-West Center in Honolulu.

      He received his B.A. in Asian studies from Rutgers University in
      1976 and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in
      1992.
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