Robert McCawley Short


Portrait of Robert McCawley Short

Robert McCawley Short (October 4, 1904 in Steilacoom, Washington - February 22, 1932, in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China) was an American aviator, United States Army Air Forces pilot, and Republic of China Air Force Academy instructor. Born in Steilacoom, Washington, his family soon moved to Tacoma, Washington. On February 22, 1932, when flying a Boeing 218 from Shanghai to Nanjing, Short was boxed by six Japanese fighters. He first shot down a Japanese fighter and killed a Japanese commander, but later was shot down by the Japanese and crashed into a small lake (zh:镬底潭) of Wusong River, in Wu County, Jiangsu, China.[1][2][3] He was the first foreign pilot killed in the Second Sino-Japanese War,[4] and the first American casualty in operations against Japan, nine years before the attack on Pearl Harbor.[5]

In May 1932, Wu County erected an obelisk at the crash site in memory of his sacrifice. The obelisk was eroded by water due to its proximity to the river, and was later reconstructed in 1985. Short Memorial (肖特纪念馆) was also built in that year. In 1999, a statue of Robert Short was established in the same place. In October 2009, the Memorial moved to Jiangbin Park (江滨公园, River Shore Park) in Xietang Subdistrict of Suzhou Industrial Park.[6] On September 1, 2014, Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China listed Short as a Famous Anti-Japanese Hero (zh:著名抗日英烈和英雄群体名录).[7]

In 2018, Short was also honored at Stadium High School's annual Memorial Day Recognition, where he graduated from in 1925.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Article 7 -- No Title". The New York Times. February 24, 1932. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Sailor, Craig (November 12, 2017). "Tacoma pilot is revered as a hero in China but nearly forgotten at home". The News Tribune. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "罗伯特·肖特" [Robert Short]. Suzhou Industrial Park Archive Management Center (in Chinese). Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  4. ^ "中国的美国英雄 肖特在苏州上空独战6架日本战机" [China's American Hero, Short fought with six Japanese fighters alone in Suzhou]. 凤凰网. August 25, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Harding, Stephen (May 14, 2016). "The Chinese Built a Shrine for This American Pilot". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "肖特纪念馆" [Short Memorial]. Suzhou Industrial Park Archive Management Center (in Chinese). Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "民政部公布第一批300名著名抗日英烈和英雄群体名录". Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese). September 2, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Sailor, Craig (May 25, 2018). "China's American hero pilot honored at Stadium High Memorial Day ceremony". The News Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2019.