Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Randall Ching who fought with the 5th Ranger Battalion during World War II.
In 1924, Randall Ching was born in San Francisco, California. He grew up in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood until the 1930s when Ching’s family returned to China to escape the Great Depression. Ching joined the Chinese army after war broke out with Japan.
At his parents’ urging to return to America, Ching left China amidst the Second Sino-Japanese War. The U.S. Army drafted him into service. At basic training, his expert marksmanship skills impressed a recruiting sergeant after he hit a bullseye seven out of eight times.
As a member of the 5th Ranger Battalion, Ching served on the front lines during World War II. He was part of the Allied invasion force that landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day in 1944.
He earned a Bronze Star Medal during the war for his heroic actions on Sept. 2, 1944, when he used his knife fighting skills to defeat a German patrol in hand-to-hand combat. He also received a nomination for a French Legion of Honor.
After World War II, Ching worked as a stock clerk manager in a general store in Chinatown and attended night school to become a certified electronics technician. He then became a maintenance manager until his retirement in 1990.
In December 2020, 76 years after the D-Day invasion, Ching received the Congressional Gold Medal in conjunction with his fellow Chinese American World War II Veterans. He is believed to be the only Ranger of Chinese descent to fight in World War II.
Today, Ching is 95 years old and continues to live in Chinatown. His son, a Navy captain, fought in the Vietnam War, and his grandson served with the Marines in Iraq. Ching was also interviewed and featured on the PBS film, “We Served With Pride: The Chinese American Experience in World War II,” which first aired in 2000.
According to the Marin Independent Journal, “Ching’s advice to others is to remember, today and in the future, those who lost their lives on those battlegrounds ‘to preserve the freedom they have now. Don’t take it for granted.’”
Thank you for your service!
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Writer: Katherine Berman
Editor: Julia Pack, Brooke Wolfenbarger
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues
Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley