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Chinese war hero honored by US dies at 100

Gen. Bor-Shou Chang wanted his fighter pilots to survive.

He trained them to fight with just one machine gun per plane. He ordered workers to put steel plates behind pilots' seats, shielding his Chinese fighters from Japanese gunfire in aerial battles shortly before World War II.

"One thing he always made sure of was that he put his men first," Steven Tzuen-Hsuan Chang of Export said of his father, a decorated commander in the Second Sino-Japanese War, who emigrated to the Pittsburgh area about 30 years ago.

Gen. Bor-Shou Chang of Wilkins, Pa., died Feb. 13, 2014 from stroke complications. He was 100.

He dropped his college studies in civil engineering so he could join the Republic of China Air Force in 1932 to fight during a Japanese invasion. Chang placed first in his fighter class and became a commander.

When the Second Sino-Japanese War -- a prelude to World War II -- broke out in 1937, Chang helped lead the air defense of Chinese cities Nanning, Wuhan and Hengyang, his family said. He suffered at least one gunshot wound but returned to service to teach air warfare tactics for the Chinese military.

"To me, his guiding principles are honor, duty and country. His personality and character are sticking to principle and (being) righteous," said son John Tzuen-Shi Chang of Murrysville. He said his father strategized by pouring time and attention into small details.

Chang earned a prestigious Chinese military award, the Order of the Cloud and Banner, when his troops won victories against the Japanese in the 1943 battles of Exi and Changde. He was an acting commander for the Chinese First Air Command at that time, relatives said.

Within about two years, Chang accepted the surrender of Japanese air divisions that were occupying Taiwan. He went on to receive a Medal of Freedom from President Harry S. Truman in 1946, honored for assisting the United States in World War II, his survivors said.

Chang settled and raised his family in Taiwan, then moved to the United States in the early 1980s to be closer to loved ones, Steven Chang said. "He believed the U.S. is a land of opportunities where one can make dreams come true."

In addition to his sons, Chang is survived by his wife, Woan-Shwu Chang of Wilkins Township; two daughters, Tzuen-Guang Chang and Tzuen-Noon Chang, both of Wilkins Township; four grandchildren; and two brothers and two sisters who live in mainland China.

His interment was private and attended by Chang's family.

asmeltz@tribweb.com

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