TITLE: Unsung Heroes: A Symposium on the Heroism of Asian Pacific Americans During World War II (Morning Session)
SPEAKER: Tony Taguba, L. Tammy Duckworth, Vince Gotera, Valentin Ildefonso, David Wu, Madame Anna C. Chennault, Ted Stevens, John Gong, Fred Chaio, H.E. Ambassador Jason C. Yuan
EVENT DATE: 10/26/2009
RUNNING TIME: 154 minutes
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society will co-host a special commemorative program honoring Asian Pacific American heroism during World War II. This session of the symposium includes Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba's overview of the war in the Pacific Theater, Anna Chennault's recollection of her life with the Flying Tigers and Poet Vince Gotera performing a dramatic reading from his book "Ghost Wars."
Speaker Biography: Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, Ret. is the second Filipino American officer to attain the rank of U.S. Army General. Born in Manila, Philippines, he is the son of a Bataan death march survivor. His family moved to Hawaii when he was 11 years old, where he later graduated from high school. Upon receiving his bachelor's degree in history from Idaho State University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, and served in the 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor, 2nd Infantry Division, 8th U.S. Army in Korea. He came to national attention in 2004 when he wrote the investigative report about abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The University of Maryland recently named a scholarship in his honor titled the Major General Antonio Taguba Profiles in Courage and Leadership Scholarship.
Speaker Biography: Honorable L. Tammy Duckworth was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Dept. of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. A Major in the Illinois Army National Guard, she served Iraq as an Assistant Operations Officer and also flew combat missions as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. During a mission north of Baghdad in 2004, her aircraft was ambushed. As a result of the attack, she lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. She received many decorations for her actions, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
Speaker Biography: Vince Gotera is an American poet and writer, and comes from three generations of U.S. Army veterans. He completed his military tour of service during the Vietnam War. Gotera serves as editor of the North American Review and Professor of English specializing in creative writing and multicultural American literature at the University of Northern Iowa. He won the 2004 Global Filipino Literary Award for his chapbook, "Ghost Wars."His previous books include a collection of poems, "Dragonfly," a literary study, "Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans," and his most recent, "Fighting Kites."
Speaker Biography: Valentin Ildefonso, M.D. & U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel (ret.) is a Felipino World War II guerrilla and veteran of the Philippine Scouts (1945-1946). Dr. Ildefonso received his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. While a resident at the St. Luke's Hospital in Manila, he volunteered for humanitarian work with war refugees in Vietnam called "Operation Brotherhood International." He spent two years in field clinics in Quinhon, South Vietnam where he met his wife, a Filipina nurse.
Speaker Biography: Congressman David Wu (D-OR) was sworn into a sixth term as a member of the 111th Congress on Jan. 6, 2009. He represents Oregon's 1st Congressional District. His priorities include improving our nation's public education system and making college more affordable; growing Oregon's economy by encouraging new business investment and supporting high tech research; improving our nation's healthcare system and the Medicare prescription drug benefit; and meeting our obligation to future generations by preserving Social Security and protecting our natural environment. He was the first Chinese-American to serve in the House of Representatives.
Speaker Biography: Madame Anna C. Chennault is the Founder and Chair of the Council for International Cooperation. A graduate of Lingnan University, she has a journalism background, and she lectures at schools and universities on international affairs. As an author, she has over fifty books published in English and Chinese. Her late husband was Lieutenant General Claire L. Chennault, commander of the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers," the China Air Task Force, and the U.S. 14th Air Force in China in World War II. Chennault has been actively involved in American national affairs and international commerce for over 45 years.
Speaker Biography: Former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) served from Dec. 24, 1968, until Jan. 3, 2009. He was President pro tempore in the 108th and 109th Congresses from Jan. 3, 2003 to Jan 3, 2007. The senator served for six decades in the American public sector, beginning with his service in World War II. In the 1950s, he held senior positions in the Eisenhower Interior Department. He served continuously in the Senate since Dec. 1968. He served in the China-Burma-India theater with the 14th Air Force Transport Section, which supported the "Flying Tigers" from 1944 to 1946.
Speaker Biography: John Gong is the grandson of Flying Tiger Ace Aviator, Major Arthur Chin. He currently resides in California and works for Congressman Devin Nunes as the Director of Constituent Services. He graduated from George Washington University and is a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Chinese American Republican Association and the California Chinese American Republican Association.
Speaker Biography: Major General Fred Chaio served with the 14th Air Force Flying Tigers during World War II. He was a member of the 29th Fighter Squadron, 5th Fighter Group of the Chinese American Composite Wing. He received his P-40 training and was deployed back to the China Theater and assigned to the 5th Fighter Group. Chaio had his Air Crew Training under then Col. Claire Lee Chennault who formed the Flying Tigers.
Speaker Biography: Ambassador Yuan is currently the Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office and former ambassador of the Republic of China to Panama.