Rho, Baik-lin

Rho, Baik-lin: Principal of Aviation School in Willows.


Born in 1875, Gen. Rho initially went to Japan and graduated from Japanese military academy with honors in 1899 returning to Korea the following year until the Korean army was disbanded. In 1914, he arrived in Honolulu. During the post March First Independence Movement, many activists came to Shanghai and Gen. Rho was among them. He assumed the position of military chief of the Provisional Government there. In 1920, Gen. Rho and Kim, Chong-lim, the rice king in California, set up an aviation school in Willows, California. They purchased two airplanes, and had one technician and six pilot instructors. The school produced 19 pilot graduates in July of the same year. Their formative idea was to train the youth and eventually bomb out the emperor’s palace in Tokyo. However, due to heavy rain that wrecked the rice field, the entire project folded in six months. In the same year, Gen. Rho headed for Hawaii and from there he joined Syngman Rhee who was recently chosen as President of the Provisional Government. He assumed the post of military chief after they both arrived in Shanghai. In 1922, Syngman Rhee appointed Gen. Rho as an acting premier and finally he became a premier in 1923 to serve that post until 1924. In 1925, Syngman Rhee was impeached and ousted, while Gen. Rho was reappointed for his current position. Gen. Rho, Baik-lin passed away in 1926 at the age of 52. He was buried in a foreigners’ cemetery in Shanghai. A church member and two pastors of LA”s Oriental Mission Church found the burial site of the General in the cemetery. In 1993, the South Ko- rean government repatriated his remains back to Dong Jak-dong National Cemetery, in Seoul. The Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans affairs classified Gen. Rho, Baik-lin in the Provisional Government in Shanghai. However, upon careful review, General Rho, Baik-lin was included in Korean American patriots as he resided for 6 years here in his independence fight including his establishment of the flight school in Northern California. In 1962, the South Korean government posthumously recognized him with the Order of Merit of National Foundation / Presidential Award for his unsparing sacrifice and munificent dedication for the cause of Korean national in- dependence both in China and in the United States.


General Rho, Baik-lin’s tomb at the Dong Jak-dong National Cemetery, Seoul (1993)