August 25, 1945: Captain John Birch Murdered

John Birch

Sometimes regarded as the first casualty of the Cold War, Captain John Birch died seventy years ago.  Born in 1918 in India to American Baptist missionaries, he followed in his parents’ footsteps by becoming a missionary in China in 1940.  After the Doolittle Raid he helped rescue some of the raiders who landed in China.  He was commissioned a First Lieutenant, later promoted to Captain, in the Fourteenth Air Force.  General Chennault, legendary founder of the Flying Tigers, got him to accept the commission by telling him that he could still function as a missionary in his off hours.   He performed intelligence missions behind enemy lines for the Army Air Corps and the OSS.  While on these missions he would conduct services for Chinese Christians.  He was utterly fearless, despising both the Japanese and the Chinese Communists.  He built up an extensive network of Chinese who passed along information to him about Japanese troop movements and shipping that he passed on to Chennault for bombing attacks.

On August 25, 1945, as he was leading a group of Americans, National Chinese and Koreans to liberate Allied personnel in a Japanese POW camp, he was ordered by a party of Chinese Communists, who had intercepted his group, to surrender his revolver.   Birch refused and was murdered by the Communists.  He was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Medal.  Dead at age 27, he had led a short but eventful life. (more…)

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Published in: on August 25, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on August 25, 1945: Captain John Birch Murdered  
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