Congressional gold medal winner Fred Cheong Lee, who drew battlefield maps for Patton, dies at 96


Fred Cheong Lee is featured at his 95th birthday party in 2019, where he received his Congressional Gold Medal certificate. (Oregon Military Department Facebook)

BEAVERTON, Ore. (Tribune News Service) Fred Cheong Lee, of Beaverton, who received the 2019 Congressional Gold Medal for his service in World War II during a time of severe discrimination against Chinese Americans, is died at 96, according to a obituary published by The Oregonian / OregonLive.

Lee, wearing the same army uniform he wore 70 years earlier, learned of the award when he arrived for a surprise party for his 95th birthday in 2019, according to a report from KPTV.

A special design for the Congressional Gold Medal, “the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievement and contribution” was made to honor Chinese American veterans of World War II. The plan to honor veterans was created by an act of Congress.

In a Facebook post Marking the event, the Oregon Military Department said, “Lee volunteered for service on his 18th birthday, leaving his college education at OSU behind. He was attached to the 680th Technical Services Typographic Company, a group of 120 soldiers tasked with creating and distributing daily updated battlefield maps for General George S. Patton in the European Theater.

Lee was born in Portland’s Chinatown and is named after the doctor who gave birth to him, according to the obituary.

After returning from the war, Lee returned to Oregon State University and earned a master’s degree in engineering, the military department said. A service with military honors will be held Thursday at Willamette National Cemetery. The seats are limited.

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