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Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Uniting Our Voices by Speaking Together

Profiles


Memo

"AAPIs have served honorably in the United States Military in every war since the War of 1812 and continue to serve our Nation admirably today. ... DoD recognizes the tremendous contributions of AAPIs to both the Nation and the DoD mission and is grateful for their unselfish service in securing and protecting our great Nation."

Medal of Honor Recipients

Timeline

The earliest record for Asian Americans serving in the U.S. armed forces dates back to the War of 1812 when Gen. Andrew Jackson noted that Filipinos fought in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

Source

In 1863, the Chinese American William Ah Hang becomes one of the first Asian Americans to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

Source

The precise number of Chinese who worked on the railroad from 1864 to 1869 is not clear; records are incomplete and inexact. The railroad did not list most individual Chinese workers by name in their payroll records, and instead listed headmen of work crews or labor contractors who distributed pay to the individuals on the crew. In January 1864, the Central Pacific hired a crew of 21 Chinese workers and hired more during that year.

Source

America acquired the Philippines from Spain in 1898 for $20 million following the American victory in the Spanish-American War, though fighting did not end on the islands until 1902.

Source

Between 1886 and 1911, more than 400,000 men and women left Japan for the United States and U.S.-controlled lands, and significant emigration continued for at least a decade beyond that.

Source

The first Medal of Honor recipient was U.S. Army Pvt. Jose Nisperos, from the Philippine Scouts Unit for this action on Sept. 24, 1911. The one and only Medal of Honor awarded during peacetime on Jan. 21, 1915, was to Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Telesforo of Trinidad. Twenty-one of the 24 Medal of Honor recipients during World War II were Japanese Americans serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team or the 100th Infantry Battalion. In the Korean War, the first native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, Pfc. Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano and Pfc. Herbert K. Pililaau were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions on Sept. 1, 1951, and September 17, 1951, respectively. Three Asian Americans were awarded Medals of Honor during the Vietnam War: Cpl. Terry Kawamura, Staff Sgt. Elmelindo Smith, and Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Yano. A total of 33 Asian American and Pacific Islanders have received this prestigious honor for their actions during war and in peacetime.

Source

The United States lacked Korean translators, and because Japanese was the language mandated during Japan's colonial domination of Korea (1910–45), Nisei (a person born in the U.S. or Canada whose parents were immigrants from Japan) soldiers were able to provide valuable linguistic support.

Source

Chew-Een Lee, the son of Chinese immigrants, first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1944 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1946. Before hostilities broke out in Korea, 1st Lt. Lee served with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. As a platoon commander in that unit, Lee received America's second-highest combat award, the Navy Cross. On Nov. 2–3, 1950, Lee's platoon came under heavy attack. Despite being outnumbered, Lee exposed himself to fire as he personally reconnoitered the area to better redeploy his machine gun posts within the defensive perimeter. He reorganized his unit and moved up the enemy-held slope. Despite serious wounds, he pressed forward ultimately driving the hostile forces from the area. Lee's brothers also served.

Source

Hiroshi H. Miyamura received his Medal of Honor on Oct. 27, 1953, from President Dwight D. Eisenhower during a White House ceremony, becoming the second Japanese American to earn the award.

Source

In 1999, Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki became the highest-ranking Asian American in U.S. military history, when he is appointed Army chief of staff. Shinseki served as Army Chief of Staff from 1999 to 2003.

Source

Navy Capt. Eleanor Mariano, Medical Corps, became the first military woman appointed as White House physician. In 1994, she was named director of the White House Medical Unit and served as President William Clinton’s person physician. In 2000, she became the first female Filipino American Navy admiral.

Source

Twenty-two Asian American soldiers were finally recognized for their heroism when they received the nation's highest military award “the Medal of Honor”; during a White House ceremony, June 21, 2000. Army Secretary Louis Caldera inducted the soldiers into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on June 22, 2000. The men indelibly imprinted their names in the annals of military history nearly six decades ago. But their heroic actions on the World War II battlefields of Italy, France and Germany had previously gone unrecognized.

Source

Navy Capt. Suni Williams was an American astronaut with Southern Indian descent. She had two spaceflights, Dec. 9, 2006, and April 2007. Williams holds several records including the longest spaceflight of 195 days by a woman, total space walks, and most spacewalk time for a woman.

Source

On Nov. 3, 2011, members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442d Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service also known as the "Go for Broke" regiment received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by U.S. Congress. The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Adam Schiff and signed Oct. 5, 2010, by President Barack Obama.

Source

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council proudly announces the 2017 theme for Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.” The theme this year provides a single focus for all AAPI’s to unite by speaking together. This theme encourages the various AAPI communities to join together to overcome misconceptions and stereotypes about the vibrant and diverse AAPI community. The AAPI experience varies greatly and all groups must join together to communicate our individual experiences. Diversity is a Journey and we cannot travel there alone. By uniting our voices, we can raise issues and tell stories that elevate the AAPI community. With this theme, we hope to improve representation in the workplace by communicating the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Timeline

  • The earliest record for Asian Americans serving in the US Armed Forces dates back to the War of 1812 when General Andrew Jackson noted that Filipinos fought in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
  • 1863 The Chinese American William Ah Hang becomes one of the first Asian Americans to enlist in the U.S. Navy.
  • The precise number of Chinese who worked on the railroad from 1864 to 1869 is not clear; records are incomplete and inexact. The railroad did not list most individual Chinese workers by name in their payroll records, and instead listed headmen of work crews or labor contractors who distributed pay to the individuals on the crew. In January 1864, the Central Pacific hired a crew of 21 Chinese workers and hired more during that year.
  • America acquired the Philippines from Spain in 1898 for $20 million following the American victory in the Spanish-American War, though fighting did not end on the islands until 1902.
  • Between 1886 and 1911, more than 400,000 men and women left Japan for the U.S. and U.S.-controlled lands, and significant emigration continued for at least a decade beyond that.
  • The first Medal of Honor recipient was to US Army Private Jose Nisperos, from the Philippine Scouts Unit for this action on September 24, 1911. The one and only Medal of Honor awarded during peacetime on January 21, 1915 was to Second Class Telesforo Trinidad. Twenty-one of the twentyfour Medal of Honor recipients during WWII were Japanese-Americans serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team or the 100th Infantry Battalion. In the Korean War, the first Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, Private First Class Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano and Private First Class Herbert K. Pililaau were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions on Sept. 1, 1951 and September 17, 1951 respectively. Three Asian Americans were awarded in Vietnam War Corporal Terry Kawamura, Staff Sergeant Elmelindo Smith, and Sergeant First Class Rodney Yano. A total of 33 Asian American and Pacific Islanders have received this prestigious honor for their actions during war and in peacetime.
  • The United States lacked Korean translators, and because Japanese was the language mandated during Japan's colonial domination of Korea (1910–45), Nisei (a person born in the US or Canada whose parents were immigrants from Japan) soldiers were able to provide valuable linguistic support.
  • Chew-Een Lee, the son of Chinese immigrants, first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1944 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1946. Before hostilities broke out in Korea, First Lieutenant Lee served with the 1st battalion, 7th Marines. As a platoon commander in that unit, Lee received America's second highest combat award, the Navy Cross. On Nov. 2–3, 1950, Lee's platoon came under heavy attack. Despite being outnumbered, Lee exposed himself to fire as he personally reconnoitered the area to better re-deploy his machine gun posts within the defensive perimeter. He reorganized his unit and moved up the enemy-held slope. Despite serious wounds, he pressed forward ultimately driving the hostile forces from the area. Lee's brothers also served.
  • Hiroshi H. Miyamura received his Medal of Honor Oct. 27, 1953, from President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a White House ceremony, becoming the second Japanese American to earn the award up to that time.
  • 1999 General Eric Shinseki becomes the highest ranking Asian American in U.S. military history when he is appointed Army Chief of Staff. Former U.S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki served as Army Chief of Staff from 1999 to 2003, the highest ranking Asian American Pacific Islander in US military history.
  • Rear Admiral Eleanor Mariano, MC, USN became the first military woman in appointed White House Physician. In 1994, was named Director of the White House Medical Unit and served as President William Clinton’s person physician. In 2000 she became the first female Filipino American Navy Admiral.
  • Captain Suni Williams was an American astronaut and a US Navy officer with Southern Indian descent. She had two spaceflights, December 9 2006 and April 2007. Captain Suni Williams holds several records, the longest spaceflight of 195 days by a woman, total space walks, and most spacewalk time for a woman.
  • Twenty-two Asian-American soldiers were finally recognized for their heroism when they received the nation's highest military award -- the Medal of Honor -- during a White House ceremony June 21.... Army Secretary Louis Caldera inducted the soldiers into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on June 22, 2000. The men indelibly imprinted their names in the annals of military history nearly six decades ago. But their heroic actions on the World War II battlefields of Italy, France and Germany went unrecognized.
  • On November 3, 2011, members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442d Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service also known as the "Go for Broke" regiment received the Congressional Gold Medal. The highest civilian award bestowed by United States Congress. The bill was co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Adam Schiff and signed October 5, 2010 by President Obama.
  • 2017, The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) proudly announces the 2017 Theme for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.” The theme this year provides a single focus for all AAPI’s to unite by speaking together. This theme encourages the various AAPI communities to join together to overcome misconceptions and stereotypes about the vibrant and diverse AAPI community. The AAPI experience varies greatly and all groups must join together to communicate our individual experiences. Diversity is a Journey and we can not travel there alone. By uniting our voices, we can raise issues and tell stories that elevate the AAPI community. With this theme, we hope to improve representation in the workplace by communicating the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Video

Screen grab of Steven Calvery being interviewed.

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

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Presentation

2017 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Presentation

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