John Bahadurian was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1925. In high school, John took a class on Morse code. By the time that he turned 18, most of his friends were in the Air Service. When John enlisted upon graduation, he was sent to Calcutta, India. Because of a myth circulated amongst the other soldiers about Calcutta - if you stayed in India for too long, you would not be able to have children - John asked to be reassigned. He was sent to China with the Flying Tigers, a group of the American pilots attached to the Chinese Air Force. There, John was transferred to and did cryptographic work for the XX Bomber Command including, work as a finder that guided lost planes back to base with radar, and as a decoder of messages from Washington. About once a week, his base was bombed by the Japanese from Nanking. John recalls meeting Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang’s wife in Shangdu. John was sent from there to Shanghai, where he awaited the boat home. John was 21 when he left China.
Dates of Service
United States Army Air Forces/Corps; 1st American Volunteer Corps (Flying Tigers); World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - Pacific Theater; Sergeant
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Second World War - Pacific Theater