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The Life of Benjamin Ralph Kimlau – with Lt. Col. Love

May 16 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Benjamin Ralph Kimlau (金勞少尉) (April 11, 1918 – March 5, 1944) was a Chinese American aviator and United States Air Force bomber pilot and native son of Concord. Kimlau was born in Concord on April 10, 1918, and lived in the area until he was 14. His father was a chemist, and his mother was an interpreter who had moved to the area from San Francisco.

The family later moved to New York City, and after a visit to China, he studied at Pennsylvania Military College in Chester, Pennsylvania, from 1938 to 1942. Upon graduation, he was promoted to Field Artillery 2nd Lieutenant. With America at war, Kimlau joined the US Army Field Artillery but later transferred to the United States Army Air Forces 380th Bombardment Group of the Fifth Air Force. After training as a pilot, he was stationed at Fenton Airfield in Australia. In Australia, Kimlau flew a B-24 Liberator bomber in missions during the New Guinea campaign. Lt. Benjamin Ralph Kimlau and his entire crew perished during their final mission at Los Negros Island in March 1944. The 380th Bombardment Group was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations for their outstanding performance and gallantry in battle.

Kimlau was honored by the New York City American Legion 1291, which named the post after him in 1962. The Benjamin Ralph Kimlau Memorial Gate (金勞紀念牌坊) was erected at Kimlau Square within Chatham Square in his memory. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Kimlau War Memorial as a landmark in June 2021.

Lt. Col. Love of the Massachusetts National Guard has done extensive research to reconstruct what we know of Kimlau’s family and the well-documented details of his final mission.

Join us for a discussion that will touch on what we can learn about Kimlau’s life, his time in the area, and the role of Asian American and Pacific Islander residents in the fabric of our nation and community.

About the Speaker:  Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Love is the Director of Historical Services for the Massachusetts National Guard and curator of the Massachusetts National Guard Museum in Concord. He has served as a soldier, NCO, and officer in the Army and the Army National Guard for 37 years in the field artillery and logistics branches. His education and interest in historical research and archival practice led to his current assignment, where he has the rewarding task of living up to the motto of the Massachusetts National Guard Museum, “Preserve, Educate, Inspire.”

This event is co-sponsored by Concord250, The Massachusetts National Guard Museum and Archives, and The Concord Free Public Library’s William Munroe Special Collections.