U.S. and China Honor American WWII Hero in Yunnan Province

Consul General Raymond Greene paid respect to the World War II hero Lt. Robert Mooney.
Consul General Raymond Greene paid respect to the World War II hero Lt. Robert Mooney.

In honor of China’s Tomb Sweeping holiday on April 6, U.S. Consul General in Chengdu Raymond Greene joined Dali Prefecture Foreign Affairs Office Director Ma Wei, Xiangyun County Deputy Magistrate Jiang Ji Fu, Vice Chairman of the People’s Consultative Congress of Xiangyun County Ruan Zhao Rui, and Xiangyun County Foreign Affairs Office Director Ruan Faqing to pay respect to the World War II hero Lt. Robert Mooney, laying flowers at the Mooney Memorial in Xiangyun, Yunnan Province. This event recognized the bravery of Lt. Mooney as well as the shared sacrifices of all the Chinese and Americans who fought side-by-side during the Second World War.

As one of the world-famous Flying Tigers, Lt. Mooney was responsible for defending the Burma Road and the city of Kunming from outside attacks.  In December of 1942, Mooney engaged enemy bombers over the town of Xiangyun. During an air battle, Mooney’s aircraft was hit, and he had to escape his plane if he wanted to survive. He could have chosen to jump out over Xiangyun, but his plane would have landed in the village, killing many people. Mooney stayed in his plane and steered it outside of the city, giving his life to save others. After the incident, the people of Xiangyun erected a monument to memorialize Mooney’s sacrifice.

“It is important that we continue to tell the story of Lt. Mooney and the many other Chinese and Americans who came together for a common cause during World War Two,” Consul General Greene told the group of local officials and residents in Xiangyun, which included descendants of the people who tried to save Lt. Mooney. “These stories remind us that we have a responsibility to unlock our potential to make the world a better place for future generations.”

“Seventy years ago, our two countries faced the common challenge of fascism,” Greene added. “Today, China and the United States face a diverse range of challenges—issues such as North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear programs; pandemic diseases like Ebola; food security; violent extremism; environmental protection; and climate change. Cooperation between our two countries, and with other regional and global partners, is essential to meeting these 21st century challenges.”

For more information contact: BeijingPressOffice@state.gov

Hi-resolution versions of these photos and others from the event are available for download at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassybeijing.