(Senate - June 14, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 99 (Thursday, June 14, 2018)]
[Page S3949]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         REMEMBERING EDDIE FUNG

 Ms. HARRIS. Mr. President, California and the nation lost a 
trailblazer and a war hero. Mr. Eddie Fung served our country bravely 
throughout his tour with the Army National Guard as part of the 2nd 
Battalion, 131st Field Artillery of the 36th Infantry Division, 
including 3\1/2\ years in a Japanese prisoners of war camp. Mr. Fung 
will be buried with full military honors at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park 
in Colma, CA, on June 20, 2018.
  Born in San Francisco in 1922, Eddie left home at 16 to become a 
cowboy in Texas. He joined the National Guard at 17, and his unit was 
activated in November 1941 as part of the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field 
Artillery of the 36th Infantry Division that was sent to Java, now part 
of Indonesia, to fight the invading Japanese in the early months of 
  Eddie became the only Chinese-American soldier captured by Imperial 
Japan during World War II. His battalion was known as the Lost 
Battalion, as it was not until near the end of the war that there was 
any news of what happened to the men.
  Of the 558 men and officers who landed on Java on January 11, 1942, 
534 became prisoners of war, POWs. Ninety-nine were sent to Japan to be 
slave laborers at Japanese factories and mines, and 435, including 
Eddie, were sent to work on the Thai-Burma ``Death'' Railway that was 
made famous by the film ``The Bridge on the River Kwai.'' Eddie endured 
nearly 4 years of grueling work, near-starvation, beatings, and 
tropical diseases as he worked on the infamous railroad project that 
resulted in the loss of over 12,000 Allied POW and 70,000 Asian lives. 
Eighty-nine of the men from the battalion died in captivity.
  Although Eddie said his capture was a defining moment in his life, 
the horrific experience is just one aspect of his long and rich life. 
It includes his Chinese-American upbringing and his life after the war, 
when he studied chemistry at Stanford University on the GI bill. He 
also worked as a metallurgist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and 
became a Tai Chi master after retirement.
  As he concluded in his autobiography, ``The Adventures of Eddie Fung: 
Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War,'' University of 
Washington Press: ``Taking my life as a whole, I've had many more good 
days than I've had bad ones. But even the bad days serve a purpose. 
They remind me of how good I have it now, in the sense that if you have 
never known hunger, you will not appreciate food; if you have never 
been enslaved, you will not appreciate what it means to be free.''
  Eddie Fung is a hero and a role model, and we will miss his vibrant 
spirit. The thoughts of San Franciscans and Californians are with his 
wife, Judy Yung of Santa Cruz.