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  • Writer's pictureAlaka`ina Foundation

Alaka’ina Foundation Donates to Hawai’i Chapter of Chinese American World War II Recognition Project

The mission of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project was to recognize, honor and celebrate the military service of Chinese Americans who fought in the Second World War through advocacy, education, and preservation. Their work is to ensure that the achievements and contributions of the ‘greatest generation’ will never be forgotten.

The Alaka’ina Foundation was a Bronze Level Sponsor ($5,000) of this project and helped to raise over $3,000 in separate fund-raising activities.

Our foundation was at the Hawaii Chapter Ceremony held on February 6, 2022, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom and was happy to bear witness to our President Michael “Kimo” Wong receiving, on behalf of his father and ‘ohana a Chinese American Congressional Gold Medal (CACGM) for Lewellyn Wong Kamehameha Schools Class of 1942 who served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. In addition, the family of his grand Uncle Hung Wai Ching received their CACGM.

The foundation took on this project because a huge percentage of Hawaii Chinese Americans in World War II were also part-Hawaiian. Notably among them were:

Read Admiral Upper Half (RADM) Gordon Pai’ea Chun Hoon

Admiral (Retired) Gordon Pai’ea Chun Hoon was Captain of the USS Sigsbee who was awarded the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his actions during WWII in a battle against the Japanese Navy. A US Naval Academy graduate he was also a starting offensive lineman for the Naval Academy’s football team after graduating from Punahou.

US Senator Daniel Akaka

Senator Akaka, while a cadet at Kamehameha Schools was activated with other Kamehameha cadets to protect infrastructure in Hawaii after December 7, 1941, and went on to serve in the Army during WWII.

Captain Francis Brown Wai

A Punahou graduate who was killed in action in the Philippines during WWII. Initially a member of the Hawaii Territorial Guard he received the Medal of Honor for “…his demeanor and example that inspired the other men in his army platoon to follow him. With deliberate disregard of his own personal safety, he advanced without cover to draw Japanese machine gun and rifle fire, thus exposing the locations of the entrenched Japanese forces. Systematically, the Japanese positions were assaulted and overcome. Wai was killed leading an assault against the last Japanese pillbox in the area.”

Brigadier General Albert Kualii Brickwood Lyman, US Army .

Col. Albert K.B. Lyman, a native Hawaiian Chinese English officer who later attained the rank of general officer, was the Army's Hawaiian Department Engineer with offices at Fort Shafter. He commanded the 34th Engineer Combat Regiment, the 804th Engineer Aviation Battalion, plus the 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor all of Lyman's engineers were at Schofield Barracks. These military engineers were enlarging and modernizing facilities at Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks, building anti-aircraft gun sites, and bomb-proofing coastal fortifications. Part of the 804th Engineers were building U-shaped dirt bunkers for aircraft dispersal at Wheeler Field.

The Hawaiian Department engineer units served in the war. The 34th Engineers served in the Central Pacific and landed on Kwajalein. The 804th Engineers, also in the Central Pacific, saw action at Saipan. The 3rd and 64th Engineers went to the Southwest Pacific and fought and built their way through the Solomons, New Guinea, and the Philippines.

General Lyman, was born in Paauhau, Hamakua Coast, Hawaii, and was the first ethnic Hawaiian to attain the rank of general or admiral in the U.S. Armed Forces. He attended schools in Hilo and the Kamehameha and Punahou schools in Honolulu and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. From a family of 15 siblings, Brig. Gen. Lyman was the grandson of David Belden Lyman, a Christian missionary from New England who settled in the Hilo, Hawaii area. He is also the descendent of Kualii, high chief of Oahu. His nephew, Richard Lyman, Jr. was a trustee of Bishop Estate in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Brigadier General Charles Reed Bishop Lyman US Army Retired

Brig. Gen. Charles R.B. Lyman (August 20, 1888 -- April 15, 1981) graduated from West Point on June 12, 1913. During his 36 years in the Army, Charles had assignments in 9 states and three overseas posts, the latter of which were Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. He was the second AHPIA to be accorded the rank of general or admiral.

While he loved horses and participated in the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team, his duty was almost wholly with the infantry.

In July 1941, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Charles, a full colonel, was appointed military governor of Maui, Lanai and Molokai. After 11 months in that position, he was deployed to Australia as assistant division commander of the 32nd Infantry Division. He was in the first group of troops which attacked Tanah Merah Bay, Dutch New Guinea. He personally directed front line units, which seized Hollandia.

Charles Lyman was promoted to brigadier general in 1944 and served as commanding general of the 32nd Army Division which, in June 1945, was deployed in Luzon and subsequently in the Leyte campaigns, Philippines. The war ended at this point, and Charles participated in the signing of the peace treaty in Baguio, Philippines. Charles' decorations included the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star for gallantry in leading his troops in the Dutch New Guinea invasion, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, and 4 campaign ribbons.

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