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Here’s a nice piece on some family history featuring stories on Bill King, 1916-2002 … thx Mike King, Gene Chan, Bill Chen & Linda Sue for sharing the article (see it online in China Insight Article » or Download 221K PDF »

Most interesting excerpts:

Bill King, Flying TigerBill King (1916 -2002), a third generation American-born Chinese, volunteered to y for the Chinese Air Force in World War II and was assigned to the Chinese American Composite Wing (CACW) of the 14th Air Force. He was a highly decorated Flying Tiger pilot.

Jim King‘Jim King’, Bill King’s grandfather, Jow Kee or Chow Yook Kee (1840-unk) came to San Francisco from Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, in 1855 when he was 16. He found a job with gold miners who liked him, taught him English, and gave him an American name – Jim King. Knowing English, he went to work as a foreman and labor contractor for the Central Pacific Railroad building the western end of the transcontinental railroad. The payroll records of the Central Pacific Railroad in January 1866 show the listing of Jim King, Contracting Co. After completion of the transcontinental railroad, King continued as a labor contractor, hiring former railroad workers and other workers from his home village, for the Sacramento River levee construction. After clamshell dredgers displaced the workers, they became agricultural workers in the region and King became a tenant farmer. He married Hel Shee, whom he met in San Francisco. They settled in a farmhouse in the Delta and had eight children.

Grandson Bill King graduated from Sacramento City College with an aeronautics degree and learned how to y at Solano County airport in 1938. He joined the Chinese American Volunteer Group in San Francisco; the group trained pilots for China with donations from local Chinese. At the time, the U. S. was not at war with Japan yet, so it was hush–hush. After about 50 hours of ight training, a group of 17 pilots and 17 mechanics shipped o to China in 1939.

King attended the Chinese Air Force Academy, graduated in February 1941, and flew for the Chinese Air Force. He was assigned to the 5th Fighter Group of the Chinese American Composite Wing (CACW), 14th Air Force (Flying Tigers).

He flew 109 combat missions in 16 months while with the CACW. Among his medals were the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded by the United States and the Presidential Unit Citation.

In August 1944, King and his commander, Colonel Frank Rouse, left for an early morning bombing mission over Hunan Province, and were intercepted by eight Japanese Zeroes.

According to U.S. Army Air Forces Captain James R. McCutchan, in a letter to King’s mother, “Bill, seeing the enemy rst made a pass on the entire (Japanese) formation and broke it up, enabling the colonel to make good his escape.” The letter continued by stating that King shot down one Zero and ed south. After his plane was hit by enemy re, he crashed it in a rice eld, crossed a river and hiked four days back to base.

King returned to Locke, Calif., in 1947 with two samurai swords given to him by a general he escorted after the Japanese surrender in Nanjing.

He met his wife Ruby Chann, who worked at the Yuen Chong general store in Locke. “My cousin bet me $1 I wouldn’t go out with him, so I did,” she said. “He’s one of those guys you meet and right away you like him.”

King managed a girl’s basketball team and worked as an inspector for General Mills in Lodi for 28 years. According to Ruby, he was the type who didn’t like to talk about the war because he had seen so much.

BiBill King Flying Tiger Awards & Decorationsll King was highly decorated…”

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