Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a rich history and heritage that has played an integral role throughout United States history. This is one of those stories.

On 6 June 1944, a 19 year old private in B Company, 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, emerged from one of a flotilla of landing craft and with about 450 other Rangers from his battalion, and charged across a shell-torn French beach, codenamed “Omaha,” breaching Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall.” The young Ranger in question was Private First Class Randall Ching from San Francisco, California. Ching is reported to be the only American of Chinese ancestry to have served as a United States Army Ranger during World War II. Private First Class Ching fought with the 5th from Normandy to the Rhine and on to final victory in Europe.

As a result of his Ranger training, Private First Class Randall Ching became skilled with a knife, as well as an expert marksman. On 2 September 1944, just under three months after storming Omaha Beach, and while on a reconnaissance patrol during the Battle of Brest in France, Ching assaulted a fortified position, killing the German defenders with his knife. “Later that night when an enemy patrol got to his rear and was crawling towards his outpost,” Private First Class Ching “waited, and at the proper time, used his knife again to eliminate this patrol.” For his actions on 2 September, Ching was awarded The Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device for valor.

Private First Class Ching would go on to earn a second Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, two Army Presidential Unit Citations, and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star. In 2020, at the age of 96, Randall Ching, along with other World War II veterans of Chinese heritage, was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal for his service during the war. In an interview after the ceremony, Ching said “I hope the present and future generations remember the lives lost [during World War II] to preserve the freedom they have now … Don’t take it for granted.”

Randall Ching is being considered by the French government for the Legion of Honor, as a result of his role in liberating France from Nazi oppression.

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