Chinese-American Veterans Can Receive Gold Medal

Chinese-American Veterans Can Receive Gold Medal

Do you know of any Chinese Americans who served during World War II? Dec. 20 marked the first anniversary of The Chinese American World War II (WWII) Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act that recognizes the military service of Chinese Americans during World War II while the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was in effect. 

They or their descendants need to register at www.caww2.org as soon as possible to be eligible to receive a replica Congressional Gold Medal at a Washington, D.C., ceremony scheduled for spring 2020 or a later regional ceremony. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first major federal law to ban immigration and naturalization of an entire racial group based on national origin. 

Chinese immigrants have served in the U.S. Civil War, World War I and WWII. Chinese American veterans encountered personal and institutional discrimination during WWII and have not been recognized for their loyalty, valor and sacrifice. Some 20,000 Chinese Americans served in the branches of the U.S. military here and abroad during WWII. An estimated 40 percent were not U.S. citizens. 

Chinese-American WWII veterans, members of the Greatest Generation, were the last generation subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and few survive today. 

Congress had already recognized marginalized groups with Congressional Gold Medals for WWII, including: the Tuskegee Airmen, Native American Code Talkers, Women Airforce Service Pilots, Japanese American Nisei, Montford Point Marines, 65th Infantry Regiment and Filipino Veterans. 

The City of Alameda, a former Navy town, home of the Alameda Naval Air Station (NAS), where Chinese-American WWII veterans either served or were employed, also home port of the USS Hornet, should be proud to honor their patriotic service to our country. 

As a son of a non-citizen Chinese-American WWII U.S. Army Air Force veteran who worked at Alameda NAS after WWII, I encourage all eligible Chinese-American WWII veterans to register since only around 1,000 have signed up so far. Bravo Zulu to all WWII Congressional Gold Medal recipients.

The Impact of the Doolittle Raid on U.S.-Allied China

History recognizes the bravery of the Doolittle Raiders who took off from the USS Hornet, bombed Tokyo and crash landed in coastal China shortly after Imperial Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. The Doolittle Raid of 1942 left from Alameda NAS. 

History has largely forgotten the Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign (Operation Sei-go), when Imperial Japan upon discovering that Free China civilians and soldiers had rescued the Doolittle Raiders, embarked on a three-month campaign massacring up to 250,000 men, women and children in retaliation. 

An Alameda Agitator

Anti-Chinese agitator Denis Kearney, of the socialist offshoot Workingmen’s Party of California whose “The Chinese must go” rhetoric was a major force in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The act, which originally discriminated against Chinese-American railroad workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 that opened the American West, and had its terminus in Alameda for a time. Kearney was a resident of Alameda in his later years. 

 

Robert Pon is an Alameda resident.

Editor’s note: Many Americans do not know Chinese-American veterans served in the Union and Confederate armies and gave their lives on the battlefields like Antietam and Gettysburg.