HomeNewsSpecial ReportsAsian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2016
The following special report is under construction.

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the DoD

Presentation

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Presentation Cover.

Click to View

Video

Screen grab of Steven Calvery being interviewed.

Steven Calvery: An Asian American Reflects on his Career, Family and Culture

More Videos

Proclamation

Portrait of President Barack Obama

"Today, AAPIs lend their rich heritage to enhancing our communities and our culture. As artists and activists, educators and elected officials, service men and women and business owners, AAPIs help drive our country forward."

President Barack Obama Proclamation

Medal of Honor Recipients

Facts of the Day

May 2016

  • May 1, 2016

    For the 2016 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) has chosen the theme "Walk Together, Embrace Differences, Build Legacies."

    Source
  • May 2, 2016

    The month of May was chosen for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage observance because of two important dates in the middle of the month. On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant traveled to the United States. On May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

    Source
  • May 3, 2016

    A rather broad term, "Asian/Pacific" encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia), and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island).

    Source
  • May 4, 2016

    There are more than 39 different Pacific Island languages spoken as a second language in American households.

    Source
  • May 5, 2016

    Asian-American women first entered military service during World War II. The Women's Army Corps recruited 50 Japanese-American and Chinese-American women and sent them to the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for training as military translators. Of these women, 21 were assigned to the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. There they worked with captured Japanese documents, extracting information pertaining to military plans as well as political and economic information that impacted Japan's ability to conduct the war.

    Source
  • May 6, 2016

    In 2013, Brigadier General Miyako Schanely made history as the first female engineer in the Army Reserve and second in the Army to make general officer following her promotion ceremony at the 412th Theater Engineer Command headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It also made her the second Japanese-American woman to reach the flag rank.

    Source
  • May 7, 2016

    Kalpana Chawla was an Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman in space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

    Source
  • May 8, 2016

    Dr. Eleanor Concepcion "Connie" Mariano is a physician, the first Filipino-American to reach the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, the first graduate of the Uniformed Services University of Medicine to reach flag officer status, and the first woman to be the director of the White House Medical Unit.

    Source
  • May 9, 2016

    Filipino-American women worked with the underground resistance movement to help American forces in the Philippines throughout the three-year period of Japanese occupation during World War II. These courageous individuals smuggled food and medicine to American prisoners of war and carried information on Japanese deployments to Filipino and American forces working to sabotage the Japanese Army.

    Source
  • May 10, 2016

    The Battle of Bataan ended April 9, 1942, when Army Gen. Edward P. King surrendered to Japanese army Gen. Masaharu Homma. Seventy-five thousand soldiers became prisoners of war: 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos. What followed was one of the worst atrocities in modern wartime history—the Bataan Death March. The Japanese rounded up the soldiers and began marching them north toward Camp O'Donnell, 65 miles away. The men were given little food or water for the entire length of the Bataan Death March. The Japanese guards killed between 7,000 - 10,000 men during the death march.

    Source
  • May 11, 2016

    Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 8th congressional district since 2013. She is the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

    Source
  • May 12, 2016

    33 Asian-American and Pacific Islander veterans have received the Medal of Honor.

    Source
  • May 13, 2016

    Born in Hawaii, Ellison Onizuka entered active duty with the U.S. Air Force in January 1970. He was an aerospace flight test engineer before becoming a mission specialist on the Discovery and Challenger space shuttles. Aboard the Discovery, Onizuka and the crew completed 48 orbits of the Earth. Onizuka died January 28, 1986, when the Challenger exploded. Sunnyvale Air Force Station was renamed to Onizuka Air Force Station on Jan. 26, 1994. The base was active from 1960-2010.

    Source
  • May 14, 2016

    Viet Xuan Luong achieved the rank of brigadier general, Aug. 8, 2014, at Fort Hood, Texas. Luong emigrated from Vietnam with his family to the United States in 1975 as a political refugee. The path to Luong's 27-year military career began with his experience on the deck of the USS Hancock when he was a young boy leaving Vietnam. Almost 40 years after his rescue, family and friends watched as Luong became the first Vietnamese-born general officer in the U.S. military.

    Source
  • May 15, 2016

    In 2010, Representative Tulsi Gabbard became the first female American Samoan and Hindu to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress. She is also one of the first two female combat veterans. Gabbard was the first female distinguished honor graduate at Fort McClellan's Officer Candidate School and the first woman to receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military.

    Source
  • May 16, 2016

    Army Pvt. Jose B. Nisperos became the first Pacific Islander to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Sept. 24, 1911, while engaged in combat in the Philippine Islands during the Philippine-American War. Serving in the 34th Company, Philippine Scouts, Nisperos was badly wounded (his left arm was broken and lacerated and with several spear wounds in the body so that he could not stand), but continued to fire his rifle with one hand until the enemy was repulsed, thereby aiding materially in preventing the annihilation of his party.

    Source
  • May 17, 2016

    Elaine L. Chao is the first Asian-American woman appointed to a president’s cabinet in U.S. history. She served as the U.S. secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009.

    Source
  • May 18, 2016

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Carolyn Hisako Tanaka -- at the age of six -- was placed in an internment camp with her family. Nicknamed "Road Runner" for her energy and enthusiasm, Tanaka enlisted in the Army in 1966 as an emergency room nurse, telling skeptical friends, "I have a skill that is needed in Vietnam, and I’m going there to do my duty for my country."

    Source
  • May 19, 2016

    After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were perceived as a threat to national security based solely on their ethnic ancestry. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the War Relocation Authority. Thousands of Japanese-Americans were involuntarily moved to internment camps. Despite being subjected to prejudice and discrimination, a large number of Nisei (first-generation Japanese-Americans born in the United States) volunteered for service in the U.S. Army. Other Asian-American groups also answered the call to duty and served with great distinction.

    Source
  • May 20, 2016

    The history of Vietnamese-Americans is very different from that of most other Asian-Americans. Immigration to the United States from Vietnam was virtually nonexistent before the 1970s. The fall of Saigon in 1975 started an exodus from Vietnam that would eventually see the resettlement of 900,000 Vietnamese refugees in the United States.

    Source
  • May 21, 2016

    In 2001, Coral W. Pietsch became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. In her military career, Judge Pietsch participated in numerous exercises and deployments throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. In 2012, she was nominated by President Barack Obama and subsequently appointed a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

    Source
  • May 22, 2016

    The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was an infantry regiment in the U.S. Army composed of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The 442nd fought in Italy and France during World War II against the German Army of Hitler's Third Reich. The 442nd earned a reputation for being a crack infantry unit and the regiment and its men received considerable battle honors and individual medals of valor.

    Source
  • May 23, 2016

    The 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the U.S. Army Air Corps, Navy, and Marine Corps. From Dec. 20, 1941, just 12 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, until July 4 of the following year, the Flying Tigers consisted of three squadrons of around 30 aircraft each. The nose of each aircraft was emblazoned with the face of a shark and quickly became one of the most easily recognized images of an aircraft or combat unit in World War II.

    Source
  • May 24, 2016

    Sunita Lyn "Suni" Williams is an American astronaut and U.S. Navy officer of Indian-Slovenian descent. She holds the records for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes). Williams was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and Expedition 15. In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33. She also became the first person to run the Boston Marathon from the space station on April 16, 2007.

    Source
  • May 25, 2016

    In 1956, Dalip Singh from California became the first Asian-American elected to Congress. In 1962, Daniel K. Inouye from Hawaii was elected to the Senate, and Spark Matsunaga from Hawaii was elected to the House. Two years later, Patsy Takemoto Mink from Hawaii was also elected to the House, becoming the first Asian-American woman in Congress. In 1965, immigration law finally abolished national origins as the basis for allocating immigration quotas, giving Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders full legal equality with other groups.

    Source
  • May 26, 2016

    From 1943–1945, U.S. Army recruiters entered the Japanese internment camps seeking volunteers for an entirely Japanese-American combat unit in Europe -- the 442nd Regimental Combat Team -- and for military intelligence linguists who could interrogate prisoners, translate, and decode Japanese language documents in the jungles of the Asia-Pacific theater.

    Source
  • May 27, 2016

    The first Native Hawaiian to be awarded the Medal of Honor came during the Korean War. Pfc. Herbert K. Pilila'au of Waianae, Oahu, received this award posthumously for valor shown on September 17, 1951 while serving with the 2nd Infantry Division. In January 2000, the United States Navy named a strategic sealift ship -- USNS Piliaau (T-AKR 304) -- after him.

    Source
  • May 28, 2016

    In 1996, Congress directed the secretary of the Army to conduct a review of all Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in World War II "to determine whether any such award should be upgraded to the Medal of Honor." The task of identifying soldiers who qualified for the review and locating the required official documentation was given to the Command History Office at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. The research was completed in September 1998, and officials turned the findings over to the U.S. Army's Military Awards Branch. In June 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to 22 Asian/Pacific-Americans.

    Source
  • May 29, 2016

    Soldiers of Hawaiian ancestry served throughout the Army during World War II. At least 22 soldiers of mixed Hawaiian and Japanese ancestry served in Europe with the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Several Hawaiian soldiers in other units were decorated for valor. The most decorated Native Hawaiian was Captain Alexander Kahopea, who was awarded the Silver Star for action with the 83d Infantry Division in Normandy in 1944.

    Source
  • May 30, 2016

    Senate Resolution 185 stated, "For the past century, Korean immigrants and their descendants have helped build America's prosperity, strengthened America's communities, and defended America's freedoms. Through their service in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and other wars, Korean Americans have served our Nation with honor and courage, upholding the values that make our country strong."

    Source
  • May 31, 2016

    "The rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders spans the world and the depths of America's history. Generation after generation, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have forged a proud legacy that reflects the spirit of our Nation -- a country that values the contributions of everyone who calls America home. During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we honor the perseverance of those who courageously reached for their hopes and dreams in a new land, and we celebrate the important impact the AAPI community has made on our Nation's progress." —President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation -- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2016

    Source

Presentation

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Presentation Cover.

Click to View

Videos

Screen grab of .

Oral History: Daniel Inouye