Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

  • Published
  • 355th Wing Equal Opportunity Office
The Department of Defense (DoD) celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month every May. May was chosen as the dedicated month to celebrate the anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to America in 1843. This article will discuss the dynamic monthly celebration as it recognizes the various obstacles faced by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians and honors their countless contributions in American history.

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month serves as an annual reminder of the many individuals that put their life on the line to protect this great nation, dating all the way back to the Civil War. One of the most highly decorated units in military history is an all-Japanese American unit from WWII that earned 9,485 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, and 21 Medals of Honor.

In 2017, Congress awarded Filipino WWII veterans with Congressional Gold Medals for their service and to honor the 260,000 Filipinos that fought alongside of them. Our military history is rich in diversity and has had an abundance of like-minded people fighting for a greater cause. Equal Opportunity (EO) specialists are ensuring each American installation is teaching its populace about the rich culture and contributions of Asian American & Pacific Islanders.

The rich AAPI heritage spans across the world and through the depths of America’s history. Generation after generation, AAPI members have forged a proud legacy that reflects the spirit of our nation—a country that values the contributions of everyone who calls America home. America is known as a melting pot of different ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds. It has taken many years and many brave citizens to propel this nation in becoming a worldwide influencer. The DoD would be remiss to not celebrate the Asian American & Pacific Islanders that have gotten us here today.

For more information on these and other information about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, please contact the 355th Wing Equal Opportunity office at 228-5509, or visit: