HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

May is Asian American, Pacific Islander Heritage Month

STS-51L crew members pose during a break in countdown training in the White Room at Launch Pad 39B in November of 1985. From the left are Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, Francis "Dick" Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith and Ellison Onizuka. (Courtesy photo/NASA)

STS-51L crew members pose during a break in countdown training in the White Room at Launch Pad 39B in November of 1985. From the left are Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, Francis "Dick" Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith and Ellison Onizuka. (Courtesy photo/NASA)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- In 1978, Congress established Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to U.S. history and culture. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration to the entire month.

On Oct. 23, 1992, Congress officially designated May of each year as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Americans of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry to the rich heritage and cultural fabric of the U.S.

The theme for 2015 is "Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion."

Congress selected May for this celebration because it includes the anniversaries of the arrival in the U.S. of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, partially by the labor of thousands of Chinese immigrants

The term "Asia-Pacific Islands" includes the continent of Asia; the Pacific island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia; the island groups of the Western and Central Pacific, such as the Philippines and the Marianas; and Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S. About 5 percent of the population of the U.S. is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

Perhaps the most well-known Air Force member of Asian-Pacific Islander ancestry is Ellison Onizuka. Born in 1946 in Hawaii, he entered the Air Force in January 1970 and flew a variety of aircraft, eventually logging more than 1,700 flying hours. In January 1978, he became an astronaut candidate for NASA.

Onizuka flew his first space shuttle mission aboard the Discovery in January 1985. He was a mission specialist aboard the orbiter Challenger when it exploded a little over one minute after launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on Jan. 28, 1986. Congress posthumously promoted him to colonel, and the Air Force renamed Sunnyvale Air Force Station, California, after Onizuka on Jan. 26, 1994. The Air Force officially closed the installation in September 2011.

Another part of the Asian-Pacific American heritage is the Army's 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was made up of Japanese-Americans from Hawaii and others that were held in detention camps. The detention camps were established by the U.S. government in February 1942 in result of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy on Dec. 7, 1941, and housed 120,000 Japanese-Americans who had been living in Pacific Coast states.

They, like the Tuskegee Airmen, fought prejudice at home, as well as tyranny overseas, during World War II.

By May 1945, the 442nd RCT and the 100th IB, fighting in Italy and southern France, had become the most highly decorated U.S. military units of their size. They had accumulated more than 18,000 individual decorations for bravery, including 18 Medals of Honor; 52 Distinguished Service Crosses; and 9,500 Purple Hearts, with many Soldiers earning multiple awards. In addition, the two units collectively received seven Presidential Unit Citations.

One of the most well-known members of the 442nd RCT was Daniel K. Inouye, the first U.S. congressman of Japanese ancestry and the second longest-serving senator. During World War II, he received a battlefield commission and promotion to second lieutenant. He also received many decorations to include the Distinguished Service Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. He is among 30 Asian-Americans who have received America's highest military award. He served as U.S. senator from Hawaii from to 1963 until his death on Dec. 17, 2012.

Engage

Twitter
Herculian birds in the sky 🦅 🦅 🦅 The 120th Airlift Wing tested their readiness w/a 6-ship formation of C-130 Her… https://t.co/UNqpKf1UkC
Twitter
“The #COVID19 crisis has dynamically changed our entire world." Dover AFB is the first @AirMobilityCmd base to con… https://t.co/Q2idnUCxoo
Twitter
Join Dr. Will Roper for an Ask Me Anything on Oct. 26 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. It will focus on Deep Tech & Moonshots: H… https://t.co/zXtgKlx455
Twitter
Dominate the EMS The Electromagnetic Spectrum exists in Air, Space, & Cyberspace. Whether you’re at home or in com… https://t.co/N9dhhB3D9n
Twitter
Supporting the Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy. From development to ops in less than a year! These inn… https://t.co/kDXsw1hJ8P
Twitter
Taking care of people The Women’s Health Transition Training, which is offered virtually, provides information on… https://t.co/yL9UQ0V9rf
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I believe that success takes a team, but failure you can do alone. Grateful for the chance to sit down and connect with a…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: A new $33 million contract is increasing #COVID19 testing capabilities at 42 #military treatment facilities across the @usairf
Twitter
Accelerate change or lose. @GenCQBrownJr expressed his vision for fulfilling the Air Force's mission and protectin… https://t.co/t2iHEW5yAM
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: Every operation and campaign is only as strong as its supply chain. Tune into #AMO2020 today to watch teams compete in a w…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you to @MilFamiliesMag for talking with Sharene and me today. The wellbeing of our families is essential to the suc…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: While many people are sleeping, Maintainers are still hard at work... Our teammates Ellsworth AFB, shared a picture of…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: It’s the Airmen who aren’t in this photo that I want to talk about. They are out there right now turning wrenches, gene…
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: 13 teams are competing to help the @USAirForce with better performing, more cost-effective & reliable technology that prod…
Twitter
Keeping combat agile 💪 @USAF_ACC is testing agile combat employment & a new lead wing deployment concept intended… https://t.co/0F3nAwIZnx
Twitter
Strengthening international partnerships. #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/m5YeqA8i5G
Twitter
Modernizing our fighting force! #AimHigh #InnovativeAF https://t.co/pEQUJdqYFE
Twitter
#DYK The 563rd Rescue Group directs flying operations for the #USAF's only active duty rescue wing dedicated to Com… https://t.co/QYDiSZ50qe
Twitter
Another day at the office. Can't comPLANE. 😉 ⚡ #LoveThisJob #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/7Vjemy7gP7
Twitter
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Blinded by the light 😎🔆 @TeamFairchild is taking #innovation to another level by setting the standard for Project Tesse…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,296,352
Follow Us