Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in the U.S. Navy, World War II - 1940s



Needing personnel to serve during World War II, the U.S. Navy pursued Asian and Pacific Islander Americans for service. Some honorable examples of service are with the Chinese-American crewmembers from USS Houston (CA-30) who were serving on board when the Japanese enemy sank the ship on 1 March 1942. Captured, they were held as Prisoners of War until the end of the war. Korean-American Susan Ahn became the first female gunnery officer and later worked with intelligence. In November 1943, the War Department reclassified American Citizens of Japanese ancestry for military service. Their prior American citizen rights to serve were previously barred after the Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December 1941. The Samoan Fita-Fita Guard also served with distinction during World War II.

Additional information - Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in the U.S. Navy, 1950s - 1970s.

Click on photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: LC-USZ62-103075

"Chinese Join U.S. Navy"

Chinese youths inspecting posters in English and Chinese, displayed by Oriental and American Naval personnel at Los Angeles, California. Pictured outside the Navy Recruiting Station, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association's Headquarters, April 1942.

Collections of the Library of Congress.

Online Image: 140KB; 725 x 925

 
Photo #: NH 106866

Chinese American ex-Prisoners of War

These Navy servicemen served on board USS Houston (CA-30), which was sunk by the Japanese on 1 March 1942. From left to right:
Chief Steward Marco Su, USN,
(died in Hong Kong, 1 September 1971);
Steward Second Class Shun Ching Kei, USN,
(died in Martinez, California, 27 May 1991);
Steward First Class Yu Kun, USN,
(died in Hong Kong);
Steward First Class Ah Chie, USN,
(died in Hong Kong, 1980);
and Steward First Class Chu Lin Tsao, USN,
(died in San Diego, 23 May 2005).

Donation of Mr. Jim Huen, 2009.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 52KB; 900 x 700

 
Photo #: NH 106881

Lieutenant Junior Grade Susan Ahn Cuddy, USN

In 1942, like many Korean Americans, the three Ahn siblings, Ralph, Philip, and Susan, children from California's first Korean immigrant family, enlisted in the U.S. military. The Ahn sister, Susan Ahn Cuddy, was the first Korean American woman in the U.S. military and the first female Navy gunnery officer. For her service in the WAVES, she reached the rank of Lieutenant.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 46KB; 740 x 570

 
Photo #: LC-DIG-ppprs-00267

U.S. Naval Cadet Nurse Kay Fukuda, USNR

Cadet Nurse Fukuda was a Japanese-American. The War Department in November 1943 reclassified American Citizens of Japanese ancestry for military service. Their prior American citizen rights to serve were previously barred after the Pearl Harbor Attack on 7 December 1941.
Photograph by Mr. Ansel Adams, 1943.

Collections of the Library of Congress.

Online Image: 109KB; 660 x 925

 
Photo #: USMC 310623

Samoan Fita-Fita Guard

The "Barefoot Band"of the Naval Native Samoan Guard Force. Copied from inside back cover of "All Hands" magazine by USMC Photo Lab, 8 April 1949.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 143KB; 730 x 925

 



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To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.





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