Asian/Pacific American Military Timeline
[Sent to CHCP for Memorial Day, 1999
by Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.]
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Information Service
WASHINGTON -- Asian Pacific Americans were the last group of
immigrants to flood the shores of America, the melting pot of
Until World War II, there had been little effort to document
their contributions to United States history and culture.
The following is an extract of significant dates in Asian
Pacific American contributions to DoD and the nation that were
compiled by Robert L. Worden of the Library of Congress for a
calendar produced by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management
1-1969: Japanese American Army Staff Sgt. Rodney James Tadashi
Yano earns posthumous Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam.
4-1913: Yonosuke Enouye dies; was an early Japanese American
graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1891.
6-1916: Korean American Army Lt. Col. Herbert Choy born;
becomes first Asian American named to federal court (U.S. Ninth
Circuit Court, 1971).
16-1942: Army Sgt. Jose Calugas, a Filipino, earns Medal of
Honor for heroism in the Philippines during World War II.
21-1915: Navy Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo de la Crux Trinidad,
a Filipino, earned Medal of Honor during boiler explosion
incident aboard the USS San Diego.
28-1986: Astronaut Air Force Lt. Col. Ellison Shoji Onizuka
dies in space shuttle Challenger explosion. Onizuka, a Japanese
American, served on the first DoD space shuttle mission.
29-1961: Air Force Academy distinguished graduate (1982)
Joginder Singh Dhillon, an Indian American, born. Dhillon is
thought to be the first Asian American to attain this honor.
2-1848: Ship Eagle arrives in San Francisco with two Chinese
men, one Chinese woman.
19-1942: U.S. War Department authorizes first Filipino infantry
battalion from among Filipino Americans.
19-1942: President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066
providing for internment of Japanese Americans.
20-1943: 1,200 Filipinos serving in U.S. armed forces granted
23-1942: Japanese Americans join noncombat engineers auxiliary
24-1943: Filipino American Maj. Gen. John R. DAraujo Jr.,
director of the Army National Guard Bureau, born. Hes thought
to be the first Filipino American to hold the rank of major
general and the first to hold that position.
20-1969: Japanese American Army Cpl. Terry Teruo Kawamura earns
posthumous Medal of Honor for saving friends lives in Vietnam.
21-1940: Japan American Citizens League pledges loyalty to
5-1945: Japanese American Pfc. Sadao S. Munemori earns
posthumous Medal of Honor for saving the lives of others in
Italy during World War II.
9-1972: Retired Army Lt. Col. Gero Iwai dies; was earliest and
most senior Japanese American to serve in military intelligence
during World War II.
17-1900: U.S. flag raised over Samoa for the first time.
25-1951: Japanese American Cpl. Hiroshi H. Miyamura earns Medal
of Honor in Korean War action.
1-1898: Japanese Americans serve on U.S. warships in Battle of
22-1882 U.S.-Korean treaty allows Koreans to immigrate to the
31-1987: Hoang Nhu Tran, a former boat person, valedictorian of
U.S. Air Force Academy in class of 960 students. He was also a
Rhodes Scholar and Time magazines recipient of the 1986 College
1-1942: U.S. Military Intelligence Service Language School
adds more Japanese American instructors.
7-1904: Kiro Kunitomo dies; the Japanese American was an early
Asian graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1877.
21-1861: Chinese American John Tomney joins New York Infantry,
later dies of wounds at Battle of Gettysburg (1863).
29-1863: Chinese American Hong Neok Woo joins Pennsylvania
Volunteer Militia, serves in Civil War.
29-1946: Congress passes GI Fiancees Act, enabling women or men
engaged to U.S. service members to immigrate to United States.
3-1943: First Filipino infantry battalion sent to Pacific
4-1946: Philippines gains independence.
15-1946: The 442nd Go for Broke Regimental Combat Team
receives the Presidential Distinguished Unit citation from
President Truman in Washington. The unit was the most decorated
for its size and length of service in U.S. military history.
From 1943 to 1945, members received seven presidential unit
citations and more than 18,000 individual awards, including one
Medal of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver
Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars and 9,486 Purple Hearts.
19-1993: Japanese American World War II hero Sgt. Roy H.
Matsumoto inducted into U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame. Matsumoto
was honored for extraordinary courage and service with the
5307th Composite Unit, Merrills Marauders.
23-1863: Chinese American William Ah Hang becomes one of the
first Asian Americans to enlist in U.S. Navy during Civil War.
28-1959: World War II hero Army Capt. Daniel K. Inouye, holder
of the Distinguished Service Cross, becomes first Japanese
American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1959-63);
later becomes U.S. senator.
11-1943: All-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team
departs for Europe.
14-1952: Filipino American Sgt. LeRoy A. Mendonca posthumously
presented Medal of Honor for gallantry in repulsing the enemy on
July 4, 1951, in Chichon, Korea.
21-1959: Hawaii becomes 50th state.
4-1943: All-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team,
lands at Salerno, Italy.
12-1934: Maj. Gen. John Liu Fugh born; first Chinese American
to obtain general officer rank in U.S. Army.
14-1950: Vietnamese American space shuttle astronaut Eugene
Huu-Chau Trinh born.
16-1927: Chinese American Abe Lee born; becomes Golden Glove
and National AAU champion boxer and, later, U.S. Navy veteran.
18-1997: Design concept unveiled for National Japanese American
Memorial in Washington. Initially intended to commemorate
Japanese American war veterans, the purpose has been extended to
honor the patriotism of all Japanese Americans during World War
24-1911: Filipino Army Pvt. Jose B. Nisperos earns Medal of
Honor for heroism in Philippines.
27-1922: Benjamin Menor born; becomes first Filipino to serve
in U.S. legislature (Hawaiian State Senate, 1962-66).
5-1959: Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Chinese American
Maya Ying Lin born.
10-1928: Samoan American Medal of Honor recipient Army Pfc.
Herbert K. Pililaau born. He made gallant self-sacrifice in
1951 during the Korean War.
11-1994: Chinese American Frederick Pang sworn in as assistant
secretary of defense for force management policy.
1-1941: Japanese Americans start teaching at Army intelligence
8-1944: The 442nd Regimental Combat Team rescues 211 survivors
of the 36th Infantry (Texas) Divisions Lost Battalion in
France at a cost of 200 killed and 600 wounded.
11-1939: William Shao Chang Chen born; becomes first Chinese
American to be appointed major general in U.S. Army.
4-1943: Military Order No. 45 exempts Korean Americans from
enemy alien status.
8-1969: Jiunzo Matsumuna, first Japanese midshipman at U.S.
Naval Academy (Class of 1873), admitted.
9-1943: U.S. Senate passes resolution granting Philippines
independence as soon as conditions return to normal after World
15-1943: First Chinese American officer in U.S. Marine Corps,
Wilbur Carl Sze, commissioned as second lieutenant.
17-1943: President Roosevelt signs repeal for Chinese Exclusion
Act; soon thereafter 14,000 Chinese Americans drafted into armed
20-1941: U.S. Congress resolutions allows almost unlimited
enlistment and employment of Filipino Americans in war effort.
22-1987: President Reagan signs American Homecoming Act
allowing immigration to U.S. of Vietnamese children with
27-1944: U.S. War Department ends internment of Japanese
29-1941: As of this date, 50 Korean Americans had registered
for California National Guard duty.
31-1933: Lt. Gen. Allen K. Ono born, the Armys first three-star Japanese American.