First Korean Pilot

Korea's first airplane pilot is Hee-sung Park according to a recently found pilot's license issued in America on July 7th, 1921.  He was one of many young Koreans sent by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, established in Shanghai on April 13, 1919, to be trained as soldiers in America.

According to Early Korean Immigrants to America: Their Role in the Estabilishment of the Republic of Korea (88K PDF – HTML version), some went to the Korean Young Soldiers' School in Hastings, Nebraska to receive ROTC-style military training before joining the independence armies in Manchuria and Russia.  Mr. Park and a few others went to Willows Flight Academy in Northern California to receive pilot training.

The heart throbbing part of all this that there was a plan to bomb the Japanese Emperor's Palace.  Since there wasn't enough resources for a more ambitious plan like the one General Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders pulled off, the plan probably involved suicidal missions.

While I think the bombing would have delivered a shocking blow to the Japanese and given hope to Koreans struggling to free the country from Japan, I can't help pondering where the line between acts of heroism and acts of atrocities lies.