Source:  A Report on Asian Pacific Islander Veterans

The Fourteenth Air Service Group, Fourteenth Air Force (the Flying Tigers), were made up of strictly Chinese Americans, many who responded to articles describing the units and the need for Chinese men who spoke Chinese and had technical skills, to serve in China. The 407th Air Service Squadron and the 987th Signal Company were created under the Fourteenth, followed by the 555th Air Service Squadron, a quartermaster company, and two ordinance companies. Units under the Fourteenth Air Service Group were created as hundreds of Chinese Americans heeded the call. The service group was sent to the China-Burma-India theater in early 1944. It was a front line unit made up of mechanics who traveled with and provided routine services for aircraft. Supplies, support equipment and technicians also were included which made the service group invaluable and a target for the enemy.

Source:  The Brief History of the 14th Air Service Group

The 14th Air Service Group was formed in a very unique way in the summer of 1942. the famous Flying Tiger, General Claire Chennault, commander of the 14th Air force and General Stilwell, Supreme Armed Forces Commander in China, requested to have group of Chinese Americans who spoke Chinese and English fluently, to support the American Armed Forces in the China, Burma, and India Theater. Coincidentally, it was learned that such a group already existed and was employed by the 5th Air Service Command at Patterson Field, Ohio. Immediately, a high priority communication was sent to the War Department for confirmation and details. The answer confirmed that the existing group of twenty civilian workers were highly trained as radio communication technicians and was headed by Mr. Sing Yung Yee. Secretly, through the arrangement between the 5th Air Service Command and the War Department, Mr. Yee and his staff had agreed to enlist into the United States Army Air Force. Mr. Yee was then commissioned as Second Lieutenant in command.

By November 20, 1942, the 14th Air Service Group was formed with the first all Chinese American personnel assigned to the 859th Signal Corps. They received their technical training at Patterson Field, Ohio. The 1157th Signal Company was officially activated in Springfield, Illinois in April, and the 407th Air Service Squadron, in June 1943. Ninety-five percent of the 260 men in this squadron were American of Chinese ancestry. The majority of them were screened from the 859th Signal corps, while others were transferred from other units. Simultaneously, other units of the 14th Air Service Group were formed and trained in Florida. These units included the 555th Air Service Squadron, the 2121st and 2122nd Trucking Companies, Headquarters Squadron, 1077th Quartermaster Company, and the 1544th and 1545th Ordinance Companies.

On January 14, 1944, the 1157th Signal Company was the first unit to embark overseas from Newport News, Virginia, to Cape town South Africa, the on to Bombay, India. The whole company was transported by troop train to Calcutta, India, and then by air over the Himalayan Mountains to Kunming, China.

In the same year, the 407th Air Service Squadron left Patterson Field, Ohio. They embarked from Newport News, Virginia, to Oran, North Africa, and then to Bombay, India. Many of the personnel were shipped to China by air, and the rest via the Burma Road at a later date. These men, with their administrative, electrical, and mechanical skills, helped service the aircraft in combat against the enemy. The rest of the 14th Air Service Group soon joined them in the China, Burma, India Theater.

At the end of the war, in August 1945, the majority of the 14th Air Service Group returned to the United States via Shanghai to Seattle, Washington, for their final processing and discharge. The 14th Air Service Group was comprised of the following units:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron
  • 407th Air Service Squadron
  • 555th Air Service Squadron
  • 1157th Signal Company
  • 1544th Ordnance Company
  • 1545th Ordnance Company
  • 1077th Quartermaster Company
  • 2121st Quartermaster Trucking Company
  • 2122nd Quartermaster Trucking Company

Story reprinted from the 2001 Reunion Journal, Houston Edition.

Source:  14th Air Service Group & 987th Signal Company

The 14th Air Service Group was activated in November 1942, at the specific request of then Brigadier General Claire L. Chennault, Commander of the China Air Task Force and Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stillwell, Commander of U.S. forces in the China, Burma, India Theater of Operations, to support aerial operations in China with Army Air Force support personnel who were fluent in both the English and Chinese languages. As administrators, mechanics, engineers and electricians, who could easily communicate with both Chinese soldiers and civilians, these Chinese American airmen contributed mightily to Allied success by maintaining aerial operations from airfields across unoccupied China.

As bilingual administrators, engineers and technicians they coordinated and supported the functioning of 14th Air Force airfields and as mechanics and specialized technicians they recovered, an repaired battle damaged aircraft and coordinated with Chinese Air Force personnel to maintain American and Chinese aircraft operating in Chinese Theater of Operations.

As a unit of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the 987th Signal Company was raised from bilingual Chinese American soldiers and organized specifically for service in China, with the objectives of providing communication services and enhancing Liaison between American and Chinese military organizations. Once in China, the unit deployed to Kaiyuan in Yunnan Province, where it established a company headquarters and operated support services. From Kaiyuan, small two and four man field teams deployed, primarily on horseback, to various remote locations to assist American Army Infantry Liaison teams working with Chinese Army units that were deployed along China’s border with Japanese occupied French Indo-China.

Once deployed, the Company eventually assumed communications duties for all the widely scattered Allied ground units in the region. In addition to coordinating ground and ground to air communications throughout their area of operations, they also coordinated communication for long-range reconnaissance patrols that penetrated deep into Japanese held territory.

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