October 23, 1913|
|Died||September 3, 1997(aged 83)|
|Allegiance||Canton Provincial Air Force, National Revolutionary Army|
|Battles/wars||Second Sino-Japanese War|
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross|
Major Arthur Chin (Chinese: 陳瑞鈿; pinyin: Chén Ruìtián; Cantonese: Chan Sui-Tin; October 23, 1913 - September 3, 1997) was a pilot from the United States who participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Ethnically a Chinese American, Chin was compelled to defend his father's homeland when Japan invaded China. He was part of the first group of U.S. volunteer combat aviators. Chin is recognized as the United States' first ace in World War II.
Chin was born in Portland, Oregon to a Chinese father of Cantonese origin and a mother of Peruvian background. Motivated by the Japanese invasion of China, Chin enrolled in flight school in 1932. Along with 15 other Chinese Americans, he left for China and joined the Guangdong Provincial Air Force as the first and original group of American volunteer combat aviators, and ultimately integrated into the central government's air force under the KMT. After completion of additional aerial-gunnery training in Munich Germany, he returned to China for combat duty in which he was credited with destroying nine enemy aircraft between 1937-1939. In 1939, while flying a Gloster Gladiator, the fighter in which he scored 6.5 of his 8.5 aerial victories, he was hit by enemy fire and forced to bail out of his burning aircraft, and although he parachuted to safety, he suffered serious burn injuries. Nevertheless, after several years of surgery and recovery, and an escape from the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, he returned to China in 1944 to fly supplies over the Himalayas, a route known as the "Hump".
Chin is recognized as America's first ace in World War II. A half-century after the war ended, the U.S. government recognized Chin as an American veteran by awarding him the Distinguished Flying Cross. About a month after Chin died, on October 4, 1997, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, Texas as the first American ace of World War II.
After his aviation career, Chin became a postal worker in his hometown of Portland. On January 29, 2008, Congressman Representative David Wu (D-Oregon) introduced House Resolution 5220 to name a United States Post Office in Aloha, Oregon after Major Arthur Chin as the "Major Arthur Chin Post Office Building". It was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. President Bush signed it into law on May 7, 2008.
- Biplane Fighter Aces: China: Major 'Arthur' 'Art' Chin Shui-Tin a more detailed history of his military career.
- Blog entry in Chinese detailing his life and service