Chinese WWII Pilot Faced Unbearable Choice – He’ll Never Forget

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Chinese WWII Pilot Faced Unbearable Choice – He’ll Never Forget | World War Wings Videos

WWII: China's Forgotten War / YouTube

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A Young Pilot

Pilots of the Chinese Air Force receive instructions from officers before taking off for a mission at an Air Force base. | Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Liao Junyi had admired the pilots of the Chinese Air Force from a young age from reading about their heroic deeds and exploits. So when Liao Junyi turned 18 years old, he left school to join the Chinese Air Force and fight against Japan.

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But the heroism he admired gave way to the shocking realities of war for the young pilot. 70 years later, the experience still reduces him to tears.

The Battle of Changsha

Changsha saw four battles in total. In the third, 2,000 Japanese soldiers were captured by the Chinese troops. | National Museum of the U.S. Navy / Public Domain

Liao Junyi flew a bomber in the third Battle of Changsha (there were four in total) on March 4th, 1942. Though it was considered a major victory for the Allied Forces, for Liao Junyi, it was an unforgettably dreadful day.

Flying about 500 meters above the ground, he could see the Japanese below forcing Chinese civilians into the street. If he bombed, he would be killing his own people. But he was not given the choice. The bombers were ordered to bomb, and so they did. 

Liao Junyi has remembered that day ever since. Even as he recalls the event, his eyes begin to well up and his voice shake with emotion. They had flown over the site once more and he had seen all of the destruction; his own people, scattered dead across the road.

China’s Suffering

Depiction of the bombers over Changsha. | WWII: China’s Forgotten War | YouTube

The second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937 and merged into World War II. There were devastating losses. Between ten and twenty-five million Chinese citizens and over four million Chinese and Japanese military personnel perished in the conflict. Liao Junyi carries those losses with him, knowing that he himself directly had a hand in the death toll, when all he ever wanted was to protect his people.

See his devastating interview below.

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