served in the American Air Force
Harold T. Chinn, Captain, U.S Army Air Force, Air Transport Command, China National Aviation Corporation
Third Generation Canadian-Born, Naturalized U.S. Citizen, 1943
Chinn, a Canadian Chinese from Vancouver, is perhaps the only Chinese pilot in WWII to have accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time. He began as a transport pilot in 1937 flying for the China National Aviation Corporation because he could not find work in the states. During the Sino-Japanese War, Chinn had many narrow escapes from Japanese fighters. Once, the steel frame and cushion of his seat saved his life by stopping a number of bullets. He was also involved with many evacuation missions in addition to flying dignitaries, ammunition, food and medical supplies all over China. In 1942, Chinn and his team of five Chinese American pilots were quickly absorbed into the U.S. Army Air Force’s Air Transport Command under the 14th Air Force. It was here that Chinn flew countless missions over the Himalayas, bringing much needed supplies and materials from Calcutta to Northern China. In 1995, Chinn and his five fellow pilots, Art T. Chin, Moon Fun Chin, Quock Ming Chin, Donald S. Wong, and Thomas Sew Wong, were finally recognized, decorated and discharged from the U.S. Air Force. “I guess I flew quite a bit in those days. I was lucky I got the opportunity to do so,” says Chinn.