Danny Hong


382nd 3rd B Co K

Rifle Platoon

A Proud “Deadeye” and Disabled American Veterans Life Member
Click any image for a larger view
  Early Life

Danny Hong was born in Taishan, China in 1923, and grew up in a small village. He was the first born son with 4 younger brothers and 2 sisters. He was full of energy and curious about everything. His early life included several years of informal school and tutoring, since there was no public school. He also enjoyed fishing in canals for family meals and working the land with water buffalos.


His father died early so he and his siblings were raised by their mother. When he was around 13 years old, he immigrated to the USA as Hong Wah Thlun to help his mother support his siblings. He didn’t know any English but managed to make his way to an Uncle in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at his uncle’s laundry.

The neighborhood he lived in included a German family (the Millers) who took an interest in him and taught him English. He remained life long friends with this family. He adopted the name “Danny” while living in pre-war Chicago.

  Service to His Country

Inducted into the Army on January 23, 1943, Danny was called “Junior” by his squad mates due to his small stature (5’ 4 ½” and 115 pounds).

He proudly served overseas in the Pacific Theater from September 5, 1944 to July 8, 1945 as a Private First Class, Combat Infantryman and cook in the 96th Infantry Division (Deadeyes), 382nd Regiment, Company K in the Southern Philippines (Leyte) and Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa).

Junior was wounded in action on April 10, 1945 in Okinawa, Japan. He was Honorably Discharged on September 21, 1945 from Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, California.


Danny served with the 382nd, Co K, 3rd Battalion Rifle Platoon from 1943 to 1945. He was honorably discharged as a PFC. 

He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for Chinese American WWII Veterans.

He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in active ground combat against the enemy and a Purple Heart for WIA on April 10, 1945 in Okinawa. He also fought in the battle of Leyte.


Although he learned English as a second language after arriving in the USA, the Army not only trained him how to soldier, they also taught him his favorite cuss words. He used these descriptive words in his daily life and they became a part of his unique charm and personality. His use of these words was inventive and colorful but never vulgar.


Danny once shared a favorite memory of being assigned to KP Duty. One of the soldiers told him to get the “cabbage.” Since English was his second language, he misunderstood and brought the “garbage” instead. He roared with laughter at the memory and said that the soldier “Cussed me out real good!”

  After the War
After the war and his Honorable Discharge from the hospital in Van Nuys, he moved to San Francisco, California. He began working in restaurants and worked his way up the ranks to become a chef. He also worked as a chef in restaurants in Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding areas.

He eventually settled in Idaho to start his own business, where he opened The Ho Joy Café in downtown Idaho Falls.

In the course of this venture, he met and was “adopted” by a German business man and his family (the Wolffs) as a close member of their large family. Our family still remains life long friends with this family, whose members now mostly reside in Washington.



Danny opened The Lantern Café in partnership with Boyd Beckett of Utah Power and Light Company. During this time, Danny was able to bring some of his immediate family to the United States while raising his own family and running his businesses. These family members eventually resettled on the East Coast. After their departure, he opened The Lotus Garden in Pocatello, Idaho.


Danny was a very social person who enjoyed meeting people and he had a large circle of friends. He possessed a wonderful sense of humor and loved to tease.


Fishing was his passion…he usually ate what he caught

 At Jenny Lake

During his working years, Sundays were his only day off and he could usually be found fishing on the banks of the Snake River or in his small boat at one of the local reservoirs.

After retirement, he was able to pursue his passion almost daily during the summer months.

He loved to go down to the riverbank in downtown Idaho Falls and fish with his wife, Rose…they even had their picture in the local newspaper.

“Danny Hong and his wife, Rose, spend a relaxing evening fishing from a bench on the banks of the Snake River at Freeman Park.”

Mark Lettingwell/ PostRegister


Many employees and co-workers remained friends with him after he retired. He made friends easily, due to his outgoing personality, willingness to share what he had, his love of life and the ability to see the good in everyone.


His favorite song to sing was “You Are My Sunshine”, so this song also holds a very special place in our family. He continues to be deeply loved and missed by all who knew him.


Memorial Day, May 2013

Danny Hong  1945
Danny Hong  2013
The Congressional Gold Medal

Awarded posthumously

  Chinese American WWII Project

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance (C.A.C.A.) dedicated several years and countless hours to bring the Chinese American WWII Project to fruition. They also organized and hosted all of the Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies and events across the U.S.A.

"We Served with Pride - Road to the Congressional Gold Medal"
  Overdue Recognition
November 19, 2021 Simi Valley Acorn

Public Law 115-337




Public Law

115-337 pdf

Click to download





This prestigious award honors all Chinese American WWII Veterans for their service and sacrifice. Because the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was still in effect during WWII, that law had to be repealed to recognize the efforts of Chinese Americans during WWII.  It was repealed in 1943, when China was a member of the Allied Nations during WWII.

It was not until Public Law 115-337 was enacted by the 115th Congress on December 20th, 2018, that these Chinese American vets would receive recognition for their dedicated service toward the WWII effort.  This law was passed to finally award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Chinese American Veterans of World War II.  For most, however, the award was given posthumously.

The Ceremonies

November 14, 2021  Southern California Regional Ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Museum


The in-person Congressional Gold Medal Ceremonies across the country were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.  Congress held a virtual Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on December 9, 2020.

Finally, the in-person Regional Congressional Gold Medal Ceremonies cautiously began on July 3, 2021 in San Francisco, California and concluded on February 6, 2022 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Danny was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for Chinese American World War II Veterans on November 14, 2021 during the Southern California Regional Ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Museum in Simi Valley, California.


The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremonies for Southern California began over Veterans Day weekend of 2021 with four regional ceremonies that encompassed multiple counties.

There were multiple Regional Ceremonies across the country including Portland, OR, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Simi Valley, CA, Seattle, WA, Phoenix, AZ, Houston, TX, Philadelphia, PA, Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI, and Washington, D.C.

We attended the Sunday morning ceremony at the VFW Museum. There were 23 Recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal during the morning ceremony, including 1 living WWII Veteran. There were 30 Recipients for the afternoon ceremony, with a few additional WWII Veterans in attendance.


It was a very intimate, respectful, heartfelt and personal ceremony honoring Chinese American WWII Veterans.

These men and women served in every theater and branch of the military - Army, Army Air Forces, Coast Guard, Marines, Merchant Marines, and Navy, as well as the Army Nurse Corps, WASP and WAVES.

There were 3 retired Major Generals in attendance to present the medals. Major Generals Robert G.F. Lee and Suzanne Vares-Lum flew in from Hawaii. Major General M. Ted Wong drove from Torrance. Melanie Chan, National President of C.A.C.A., and Montgomery Hom, author of “Fighting On All Fronts,” were also present.

We enjoyed the poignant ceremony very much!   The VFW Museum provided the perfect location and ambiance for the regional Congressional Gold Medal Ceremonies.

Thank you for taking the time to remember and honor all Veterans for their service. 

  The Awards
The medals were struck by the US Mint in bronze.

The front of the Congressional Gold Medal depicts six servicemen and one nurse in their respective WWII uniforms.

In the Mint Box
Large coin on display

The back of the Congressional Gold Medal depicts the machinery that they fought in – the battleship USS Missouri, a Flying Tigers P40 Warhawk, and a Sherman tank.

In the Mint Box
Large coin on display
  Certificate of Appreciation

Danny's Army name was Hong W Thlun, so the medals, awards and citations were issued with his Chinese name.

  Recipients Book
  Thank You

Our family thanks all Americans who served in WWII, as well as the “Greatest Generation” assisting on the home front. Our sincerest gratitude to every veteran, past, present and future, for serving our great nation. Thank You for your service.

Additional Information Contributions of Chinese Americans in WWII

Honor and Duty: The Chinese American WWII Veterans Paperback – November 11, 2020

by E Samantha Cheng, Fang Wong


Fighting On All Fronts, Profiles of WWII Chinese Americans From the Golden State

by Military Historian Montgomery Hom.

••Features Deadeye Danny Hong••



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