Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
Welcome to Pike County Times.com

This online news website is owned and operated by Becky Watts. If you enjoy reading Pike County Times, consider buying an advertisement for your business or sending a donation to support the only free online newspaper in Pike County. Donations can be sent to: The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Thanks for supporting Pike County's only free online newspaper!

Atlanta Chinese Community Honors 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford on Memorial Day
By Editor Becky Watts

CONCORD - On Saturday, May 26, 2018, a group from the Atlanta Chinese Community came to Concord to show their respects to 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford with a spray of flowers and two ribbons illustrated by Qinghe, a famous artist in Atlanta.

The two banners are a long-standing tradition in the Chinese Community. The ribbons were translated to say: "Remembering the WWII Hero Who Came to Chinese to Support Us. Flying Tiger Who Flew Over the Himalayas. Long Live His Spirit. From Atlanta Chinese Community With Respect."

History Being Made Even Today

It's been 74 years since 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford and the entire crew of the B-24J Liberator named "Hot as Hell" flew their final flight on The Hump on January 25, 1944. The entire crew was declared Killed in Action (KIA). Click here to read articles that go back to 2007. The crash site was found in 2006 by Clayton Kuhles of MIA Recoveries, Inc. and the family found out about the discovery in 2007. Click here to read about Clayton Kuhles and MIA Recoveries, Inc.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conducted a recovery mission to India’s Himalayan Mountains in the Arunachal Pradesh region in an attempt to bring home the remains of these eight Army Air Corps members who went down with their plane in 2015. Click here to read about the repatriation process. [Note from the Editor: There are links to more in depth articles at the bottom of the page.]

A memorial service for Eugene and his crew mates was held on Sunday June 11, 2017 in Zebulon, and he was finally laid to rest in his beloved Concord at Magnolia Cemetery. The Oxford Family celebrated his life and mourned a man that they only knew from a picture or stories from others. However, the Oxford Family and the Pike County community did not celebrate alone.

Pike County businessman Frankie Flanders spoke to a close Chinese friend named Suping Feng at a real estate closing last April. He mentioned that Pike County had a hometown hero who was finally coming home to Concord after 70 years after dying during a mission that carried supplies to China by flying the Hump across Burma. He then shared the articles “Bringing 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford Home – Part I and Part II” and other updates about this homecoming with her as the articles were posted on Pike County Times.

Ms. Suping asked Frankie for permission for her and a few others from the Chinese community to attend the funeral. Frankie called me on that Thursday during the Honor Ride from the airport to Moody-Daniel Funeral Home in Zebulon to ask permission from the family, and I asked the family when we gathered at Moody-Daniel and they gave their permission for them to attend to show their respects.

Then permission was asked and given to have my articles translated and reprinted on the Atlanta Chinese Life website, a Chinese news outlet in Atlanta. Qing Ye, writer on the Atlanta Chinese Life Network, wrote a series of articles that urged members of the Chinese Community to attend this funeral. One translated by my computer to say, "Eugene's story | the old funeral, the Chinese people should go!" Another said: "His name is American soldier Robert Eugene, Georgia. For the Chinese anti-Japanese, he gave his precious life. In 1944 he left Kunming, disappeared in the "hump route" ... today (June 9, 2017) he finally went home. For this moment, he waited for 73 years ... this old beautiful funeral, the Chinese people should go!"

By the time that the funeral began just a few days later, there were over 250 Chinese in attendance from the greater Atlanta area, and some flew into Atlanta from Philadelphia and New York to attend the funeral. Not one of these visitors to our community knew Eugene personally, but they came to show their respect and honor to a man who had given his life not only for our freedom, but for theirs. Click here to read "BREAKING NEWS: Bringing 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford Home; A Celebration of A Hero from Two Cultures" written in June of 2017. Frankie and Suping are pictured at the top of this article.

The story of an airman from Concord, Georgia who had waited 73 years to come home became a unique opportunity to honor this soldier who fought for both countries, and this funeral brought together people from two cultures that day. “Thank you for coming” was a common greeting between strangers at the funeral and at the graveside. And there have been meetings between various members of these two communities since that time as well. A friendship has been established and history continues to be made at each meeting. Thank you for coming was heard on this Memorial Day weekend as well.

[Note from the Editor: More of the story is below these pictures.]


Nancy Du

Tim Brown

John Strickland

Suping Feng and Frankie Flanders

Briar Johnson

Friends from two communities

Photo courtesy of Kim Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Kim Johnson.
Honor and Respect For an Airman They Never Knew - Memorial Day 2018

On Saturday, May 26, 2018, a delegation from the Atlanta Chinese Community came down to Magnolia Cemetery in Concord, Georgia to place a spray of flowers with two ribbons to show their respect to 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford for his sacrifice for China in WWII. Nancy Du traveled from Suwanee and was a spokesperson for the group.

She facilitated a time under the shade of the trees at this small cemetery where people from both communities could speak and recount this historical journey that brought everyone together. Nancy told everyone, "Gratitude and humanity bought us together... to pay tribute." She also said, "What a great way to spend Memorial Day, to honor a hero."

Jay Lin, a City Council Member from Johns Creeks, told the group, "Some gave all. Lt. Oxford was one who gave all. We are honored to be here to show support on Memorial Day weekend. We are supposed to remember those who died to protect our freedom. This has a special meaning for 1st generation of immigrants." He spoke warmly of "our friendship between two communities."

County Commission Chairman Briar Johnson praised new relationships and new friends. "Thank you for coming," he said. Briar also asked Frankie Flanders and Suping Feng to recount the story for the group of how this amazing story came to be.

Concord City Council Member Tim Brown told the group, "We are thankful that you remember Lt. Oxford and his sacrifice today."

And Concord Mayor John Strickland told the group, "To have you here to celebrate with us in Concord is a great honor... From the people of Concord, thank you for coming."

Nancy even asked me to say something, and I did though I really don't like to be part of the articles that I write. I am honored to play a small part in this story, and it is truly an honor to be able to write about this friendship between these two communities. And I will continue to cover a part of history that began more than 70 years ago to show that we are making history even today!

[Note from the Editor: There is more information and links to past articles below these pictures. Thank you for reading Pike County Times!]


Photo courtesy of Kim Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Kim Johnson.
More on This Amazing Story

To read more about this story of new friendships and a celebration of a hero from two cultures, click on the following links:
BREAKING NEWS: Bringing 1st Lt. Robert Eugene Oxford Home: A Celebration of A Hero from Two Cultures
Chinese Community Pays Its Respects to a Long-Lost Hero, By Guest Columnist Al Zhang, Courtesy of Atlantachineselife.com
BREAKING NEWS: Bringing 1st Lt. Robert "Eugene" Oxford Home - Part I
BREAKING NEWS: Bringing 1st Lt. Robert "Eugene" Oxford Home - Part II
Atlanta Chinese Welcome Pike County Visitors to Johns Creek

We remember and honor the entire crew of “Hot As Hell” and mourn their loss for their families:

Pilot 1st Lt. William A. Swanson, O-728935 (MIA / KIA) Proctor, VT
Co-Pilot F/O Sheldon L. Chambers, T-000291 (MIA / KIA) Altoona, PA
Navigator 1st Lt. Irwin G. "Zipper" Zaetz, O-791661 (MIA / KIA) Burlington, VT
Bombardier 1st Lt. Robert E. Oxford, O-663308 (MIA / KIA, BR) Concord, GA
Engineer SSgt Charles D. Ginn, 15084114 (MIA / KIA) Crete, IL
Radio SSgt Harry B. Queen, 11021096 (MIA / KIA) Onset, MA
Gunner Sgt James A. Hinson, 14188472 (MIA / KIA) Greensboro, NC
and Gunner Sgt Alfred H. Gerrans, Jr., 34315848 (MIA / KIA) Kinston, NC.

Click here to read about Clayton Kuhles and MIA Recoveries, Inc. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help bring home the other members of the "Hot as Hell" crew whose remains are still on a mountainside in northeastern India, donations can be made to MIA Recoveries at http://miarecoveries.org/funding.html. If you would like to send a donation via personal or business check, please mail it to: MIA Recoveries, Inc.
P.O. Box 12871
Prescott, AZ 86304-2871

[Note from the Editor: It has been an honor to follow this story from beginning to where we are now. I have the unique opportunity to write about long ago history and show a direct link to people today. This is the story of a beautiful friendship between two communities, and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here!]