Chinese American was WWII bomber pilot

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Hondo, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

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    Adventure thats what I love about pilots, and some Latinos complain about deserved more recognition in WWII, perhaps so but..."I don't think he cared about politics," his son said. "He said it was good pay, and he got to keep flying." this guy wasn't selfish, its a credit to his career, an honor a Vet. God bless Mr. Chew and R.I.P. :(

    Chinese American was WWII bomber pilot

    Growing up in sleepy Courtland, Deming Lum Chew was a restless lad who stowed away aboard buses to watch Westerns at San Francisco movie palaces.

    His escapades continued as a young man in the Army Air Corps during World War II, flying B-17 bombers over Germany. After the war, he flew supply planes for Chinese Nationalists fighting the communists. He traveled the world by freighter before returning to Sacramento for a career as an architect.

    Mr. Chew died Sunday of congestive heart failure, said his son, Terrence Chew. He was 83.


    "He always wanted to fly," his son said. "He tried to get on with one of the big airlines back then, but they told him, 'We don't hire Chinese pilots.' "

    Mr. Chew sought adventure early. He was born in 1924 in Courtland, where his father owned a general store and ran a bus service between the Sacramento River Delta town and San Francisco. He was 8 years old when he began sneaking aboard buses and traveling alone to San Francisco, his son said.

    He played sports and attended Courtland High School until a falling out with a coach led him to transfer. He moved in with relatives in Nevada County and graduated from Grass Valley High School, where he played football and basketball.

    After graduation, he joined the Army Air Corps, served as a first lieutenant and became a bomber pilot -- a rare assignment for Chinese Americans at that time, his son said. He flew many missions over Germany, including the bombing of Dresden.

    After the war, he spent four years as a pilot for the Central Air Transport Co., a cargo operation of the Chinese government. Stationed in Shanghai, he flew supplies over the "Burma hump" of the Himalayas to Nationalist troops fighting communist forces in civil war.

    "I don't think he cared about politics," his son said. "He said it was good pay, and he got to keep flying."

    Unable to land a pilot job with a major U.S. airline, Mr. Chew earned a bachelor's degree in architecture at UC Berkeley in 1955. He spent summers flying for Hawaiian Airlines and hopped cargo ships with a buddy after graduation to see the world. He married Elaine Ho in 1959, and they raised two children.

    He worked as an architect in Denver before returning to Sacramento by 1966. He opened his own firm downtown, designing mostly single-family homes and medical offices, his son said.

    Except for occasionally flying a friend's small plane, Mr. Chew gave up piloting to focus on his family and career, his son said. He remained a lifelong athlete who enjoyed golf, snow skiing, football and basketball. He was a warm and friendly man who loved watching San Francisco 49er games with friends.

    "He was very outgoing and personable and accepted you for what you were," his son said. "Everybody loved him."
     
  2. TailendCharlie

    TailendCharlie One of the Regulars

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  3. DiabolicalAngel

    DiabolicalAngel One of the Regulars

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    Thanks for putting this up Hondo. I have always wondered what active roles the Chinese American played in WWII. I was at the American Air Museum at Duxford, UK and spent time reading the names honoured and was surprised at the Chinese names that were listed. I have previously searched the net to find out more about the Chinese Americans in WWII but there's hardly anything information.
     
  4. Stony

    Stony New in Town

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    There were two Chinese-American fighter aces during WWII. The went to China in the 30s to fight the Japanese. They are both listed in the American Fighter Aces album because they were both American citizens.
    One was Shui-Tin (Arthur) Chen who flew for the Chinese Air Force and had 5.5 victories. He was a native of Portland, Oregon.
    The other was Pan-Yang (John) Wong of Seattle, Washington. He also flew for the Chinese Air Force and had 5 victories.
     
  5. That's because, unlike others, they did their job and faded back into the background after the war. They considered themselves American then and still do now. They weren't and still aren't interested in racial politics.
    My hat goes off to the many unsung heros who did their jobs and just went back to making America great when they got back--and specifically to the Mr. Chews out there. :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
     
  6. Rest in peace, Mr. Chew; you've earned it.
    *saluting*
     
  7. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

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    Former U.S. Senator Hiram Fong was a Judge Advocate General during WWII. Many Chinese American's served in the War.
     
  8. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

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    A good place to start, is to contact the American Legion's Cathay Posts in various U.S. cities with large Chinese-American populations. Obviously there's one here in San Francisco www.chineseamericanveterans.org/index.html
    where they are attempting to make a Chinese-American Veterans museum.
     
  9. Mr. Rover

    Mr. Rover One Too Many

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    Great story! I hope my life is as fulfilling!
     
  10. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

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    You impress me Mr. Rover, not many in your age bracket are so knowledgeable; you put some of us old timers to shame lol
    Judging from the young lady in your avatar, you already have great start, fulfilling ;) Best regards :eusa_clap
     
  11. the hump

    I hate to be pedantic about such an interesting story, but 'flying the hump" was not connected in any way with the Chinese conflict after WW2, it was strictly a supply operation during the war with the Japanese in that theatre. A quick look at an atlas will tell you that Shanghai is not that close to Burma.
    Sorry bout that, but as was once very wisely said : the dead are owed only the truth.
    http://www.palletmastersworkshop.com/hump.html
     
  12. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    I agree. However, my hat also goes off to those who recognized the treatment of their fellow Chinese, African Americans, Latinos etc. and decided to get involved in trying to affect change. Especially if they can use their fame or skills to do so.

    These are heroes to me.
     
  13. reetpleat

    reetpleat Call Me a Cab

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    interesting coincidence. Kurt Voneget was in Dresden as a POW and only survived the fire bombing due to being in a sealed room underground.

    While this guy flew the mision. I guessa lot of wwII vets are passing on these days.
     
  14. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

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    It's been said that that room that Vonnegut was in had "Slaughter House 5" over the doorway, thus the name for his book.
     
  15. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

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    It was because of the lobbying of the American Legion's Cathay Posts in 1946 and 1947 which used the example of Chinese American soldiers, the Japanese American's of the 442nd and the Filipino guerilla's which caused Congress to recognize their accomplishments and repeal the Alien Exclusion Act thus allowing Orientals to become U.S. Citizens beginning in 1948.
     
  16. He was imprisoned in an converted abbatoir, building five of the complex of slaughterhouses.

    bk
     
  17. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

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    What if he read it wrong and it was building 6?[huh]
     
  18. MudInYerEye

    MudInYerEye Practically Family

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    I shared a pizza with Vonnegut once. Funny guy!
     

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