8 Hapa Women Who Made History: War Hero Florence Finch


Florence Finch (October 11, 1915 – December 8, 2016)

An unsung hero of the Second World War, Florence Finch was a half-Filipina who has received the medal of freedom and was a highly decorated Coast Guard veteran. Very few know her name.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Florence worked for the resistance. She was the daughter of an American soldier but used her mother’s Filipino background to get her a job with the Philippine Liquid Fuel Distributing Union. By day, she wrote gas rationing waivers. By night, she diverted fuel and supplies from the Japanese and smuggled food and medicine to American POW’s. She was eventually caught, confined, and tortured by the Japanese. She served three years in a women’s hard labor camp in Manila before being freed in 1945.

When she relocated to the U.S., she joined the Coast Guard. After learning of her wartime exploits, they awarded her the Asian-Pacific Campaign Ribbon. This highly decorated hero is largely unknown, mostly due to her own humble nature. Florence Finch died at age 101 in Ithaca, New York.

Read more about Florence Finch here.



Melissa has lived in all four time zones in the contiguous United States. A former actor in Seattle, WA, Melissa now resides in NYC as a content creator. She is the producer of the We're Not All Ninjas podcast, which she also hosts with fellow Hapa Mag writer, Alex Chester. Melissa also writes for online blogs Nerdophiles and The Nerds of Color. Find her @NotAllNinjasPod.