August 2010 | By Yong Lu and Jane Leung Larson
Former Committee of 100 Chairman Major General John L. Fugh was buried with full military honors on August 24. Gen. Fugh died on May 11 at age 75. He was the first Chinese American to be a General Officer in the United States Army and the first and only minority person to serve as The Judge Advocate General, the Army’s top uniformed legal post. Following his retirement from the military, he led the Committee of 100 as Chairman from 2006 to 2009.
More than 200 people who represented all aspects of Gen. Fugh’s multi-faceted life attended the burial service at the Memorial Chapel in Fort Myer, Virginia. The Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, Lieutenant General Dana Chipman, delivered remarks, and Gen Fugh’s longtime friend and former U.S. Ambassador to China, the Honorable J. Stapleton Roy, gave the eulogy. Ambassador Roy described him as “a man of great integrity, congeniality and leadership.” The recessional song was performed by C-100 member and Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone Hao Jiang Tian. It was adapted from a well-known Chinese song, “How Can I Not Think of Him.”
Following the service, a horse-drawn caisson bearing Gen. Fugh’s casket proceeded to the burial site in Arlington National Cemetery. A rider bearing a two-star flag and a riderless horse with its saddle facing backwards and empty boots in the stirrups followed the caisson to commemorate the fallen leader. Gen. Fugh’s burial featured a 13-gun volley as befitting his rank.
After the burial, Gen Fugh’s family invited all attendees to join them at a reception at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club, where Gen Fugh’s wife, June, personally greeted each guest. During the reception, Gen Fugh’s son, Jarrett, introduced a few close friends to present remarks. They spoke of his high school years as an immigrant, and of his distinguished military service and commitment to integrity and fairness. The presenters included Alice Mong, former Committee of 100 Executive Director, and Gen Fugh’s daughter, Justina Fugh Frenzel. One speaker said, “The most significant characteristic of John’s is that he never forgot his country of origin (China) and also gave back to his adopted country (U.S.). He respected everyone who was honest, diligent and intelligent and especially those working for him.”
The printed funeral program quoted one colleague who said, “John loved the country of his birth, China, and he loved America. But he was no apologist for either country. He was a bilateral patriot who spoke truth to both sides and expected both countries to be honorable, ethical, fair and friendly toward each other – just as he was to everyone he met.”
Committee of 100 members attending the service were Nelson Dong, Bob Gee, Sue Gin, Cheng Li, Herman Li, Edmond Pi, Henry Tang, K. L. Wang, Lulu Wang, Jeremy Wu, and also Ming Hsu’s daughter Victoria Hsu. Staff members in attendance were Executive Director Angie Tang, Research Director Yong Lu, Development Director Michael Lee and Program Associate Alice Lin. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, former CNN and ABC anchor (and sister-in-law) Connie Chung, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and representatives from both the Chinese embassy and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office were also present. Among those who sent messages of condolence to the family were Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and former Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
Many thanks to June Fugh and Justina Fugh Frenzel for their indispensable contributions to this article.
See "Committee Philanthropy" in this issue for an article on the Major General John L. Fugh Annual Symposium on Law and Military Operations and the April-June issue of Committee Bridges for an obituary.