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Robert Young Wong

“I got my induction notice in November 1943 and signed up for Air Force cadet training. I reported for active duty in January 1944 and trained at gunner school in Laredo, Texas. We practiced shooting at a pup truck to start, then trained by shooting at a B26 plane from a Bomber. I joined up with my flight crew in Lincoln, Nebraska and was the only Chinese man in crew.

In Boise, Idaho, we practiced flying in tight formation. We were also looking for Japanese bombs carried by the jet stream attached to paper balloons. The balloons would drop ballast during the trip to the USA as hydrogen was lost. We would break out of formation if any balloons were spotted and destroy them before they hit the ground. We never saw one, but I got air sick in the tight formation.

We landed in Manila Bay then joined the 442nd Bomb Group and the 72nd Bomb Squadron. After the war was over, we returned home on a B-24.

After an honorable discharge, I returned to Minneapolis and received my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Aerospace Engineering from University of Minnesota. After a long career at NASA in Cleveland, I retired to San Diego with my wife Ellen to golf, and enjoy my grown children Paul and Roberta, and my granddaughter Samantha.”


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