Monday, October 8, 2012

Congresswoman Judy Chu honors WWII Chinese-American B-17 veteran

Congresswoman Judy Chu of the 32nd District, hosted a special ceremony on Friday, October 5, at her El Monte district office to honor the late World War II Veteran, First Lieutenant Victor Bill Schoon in recognition of his military service to his country as a B-17 combat pilot.
1st Lt. Schoon passed away on Tuesday, September 25, in San Diego at the age of 93.
His eldest daughter Andra Lew, a San Diego resident accepted the honor on his behalf as Congresswoman Chu presented the American flag and the Congressional Record honoring the World War II Veteran, Aviator and Patriot.
Immediate family members and military service members were in attendance to witness the ceremony, including 83 year old Richard Schoon, the youngest of the six brothers and the last surviving brother.
First Lieutenant Victor B. Schoon
Born on April 6, 1919, the fifth child in a family of nine children and third generation Chinese-American, Schoon enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943, during a time when Chinese-Americans could not vote, could not immigrate to the United States and become citizens.
Despite the prejudice and discrimination, within two years of his enlistment Schoon became First Lieutenant, piloting his own B-17 over Europe during World War II, showing true patriotism to his country.
Stationed with the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th bomb Group based in Foggia, Italy from 1944 to 1945—1st Lt. Schoon flew 50 successful combat missions.
15 more missions than the 35 missions many pilots flew at that time, bringing all nine of his crew members home safely, contributing to the Allies' defeat of the Axis powers and the end of the war.
"He enlisted not knowing that his B-17 bomber would be struck in those turbulent skies", says Congresswoman Chu.
"That he would pilot that crippled plane all the way back to England, that he would successfully land it, not on some smooth runway, but on a rugged field, and that he would keep every member of his crew alive throughout the ordeal. In fact, there weren't even injuries.
"But that's not all he couldn't have known at the time. He didn't know that a fire would rip through the Army's archives, destroying their records of his service and denying him the 'Distinguished Flying Cross Medal' he so clearly deserved."
For his efforts, Lt. Schoon was rewarded with the European, African and Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal, an Air Medal with 2-Oak Leaf Clusters, and a Distinguished Unit Badge.
It has been noted that two Chinese-American B-17 navigators received their 'Distinguished Flying Crosses'. So why not Victor?
Andra Lew with the help of Commander Fong , Peter Chen - President of the Monterey Park Democratic Club, and Congresswoman Judy Chu have been trying to secure Lt. Schoon's final and most prestigious medal when he died last month at the age of 93.
The effort to rightly deliver the 'Distinguished Flying Cross' is on-going and will be pursued with Congresswoman Chu returning to Washington D. C. once it is back in session.
She will submit the Congressional Record to Congress and it will be entered into the record, forever in the archives of Washington D. C. at the U. S. Capitol.
Special Thanks to: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Becky Cheng, Andra Lew, Commander Fong, Peter Chen and the entire Schoon family.
Visit the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California - to see photo of Lt. Schoon in his B-17 plane -

, LA Photojournalist Examiner

Ella Batalon is a Southern California freelance photojournalist in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas. She is a regular attendee at various charity, cultural and red carpet events with a vast interest in pop-culture, ethnic diversities and community affairs. Ella enjoys reporting events and the impact it has on local communities in the L.A. basin and surrounding areas as her contribution to inspire, enlighten, educate and entertain.

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