This week Mayor Gary Christenson, City Council President Neal Anderson and Veterans Services Director Kevin Jarvis welcomed some true New England heroes to City Hall to commend their recent receipt of the Chinese American Congressional Gold Medal. The Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018, a few days after the 75th anniversary of the Magnuson Act of December 17, 1943 which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Tony Tun Down Moy and Edward Mon Ye Gee are the only New England Chinese American World War II veterans out of the 500 who served that are still alive today. Tony served as a Seaman 1st Class in the United States Navy during World War II. His service as a gunner in the Pacific Theater onboard the USS Pittsburgh in its bombardment of Okinawa and Iwo Jima was crucial to repelling enemy attacks while keeping the crew safe. Tony was accompanied to City Hall by his son Marty Moy.
Edward Gee, also a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal for his service during World War II served as a U.S. Army Technician, 5th Grade for Company B, 304th Signal Battalion in the Pacific Theatre. His service as a high-speed radio operator was crucial in providing vital communications to U.S. forces in other countries as they worked to defeat the enemy. Edward is currently residing in a nursing home in Milton and was unable to attend the celebration. His citation was received on his behalf by Ai Cheng Goh, President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Boston.
William S. “Bill” Chen was the very first Chinese American Two-Star General in the U.S. Army where his impressive 32 years of service included combat tours in Vietnam and Laos and assignments in Korea and Thailand. Additionally, he served as a Major General in charge of U.S. Army Missile Command during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and as the Army’s first Program Executive Officer of Missile Defense. Additionally, he worked tirelessly and was instrumental in making sure that his fellow service members received well-deserved Congressional Gold Medals. He is a descendent of a Chinese railroad worker as well as a descendent of a World War II veteran.
The Chinese American Heritage Foundation presented a gift the book “Unsung Heroes – Recognizing and Honoring Chinese American World War II Veterans” autographed by Editor-in-Chief Major General William Chen for the Malden Public Library. The event was coordinated by Wilson Lee of the Chinese American Heritage Foundation and Vice Chairman of the World Lee Association. His wife Esther Lee, Re-chartered President of Chinese American Citizens Alliance Boston was also in attendance.
“City Councillor Anderson, Director Jarvis and I are humbled to have welcomed these distinguished veterans to City Hall,” said Mayor Christenson. “We are grateful for the opportunity to express our gratitude to them for their devoted service and sacrifice to our country.”
Pictured (from left): Director of Veterans Services Kevin Jarvis; City Council President Neal Anderson; WWII Veteran Tony Tun Down Moy; Ai Cheng Goh, President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Boston; Major General William S. Chen, and Mayor Gary Christenson