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AAPI Heritage Month

The month of May is Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. AAPI Heritage Month is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of those of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. In honor of the occasion, we would like to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the AAPI community in the US Military.

Kamala Harris

Vice President of the United States

Kamala Harris became the first Asian American Vice President of the United States in 2021. 

Kamala Harris: The Vice President. (2021, January 20). The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/vice-president-harris/


Daniel K. Inouye

Former President pro tempore of the United States Senate

Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye served in the US Army during WW11 and as a United States Congressman for 53 years. He became the first Japanese American to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Medal of Honor Recipient Daniel Inouye Led a Life of Service to His Country. (2020, July 19). The National WWII Museum | New Orleans. https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/medal-of-honor-recipient-daniel-inouye

Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard successfully ran for the Hawaii State Legislature in 2002, becoming its youngest person ever elected.

Gabbard joined the Hawaii National Guard and voluntarily deployed to Iraq in 2004, serving two combat zone tours in the Middle East. In 2013 she made history as the first female combat veteran, first Hindu, and first female of Samoan ancestry to become a member of Congress.

Grube, N. (2019, October 10). Rep. Gabbard Plays Up Military Service But Says Little About It. Honolulu Civil Beat. https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/10/rep-gabbard-plays-up-military-service-but-says-little-about-it/

Wong Tsu

The first aeronautical engineer at Boeing

Wong Tsu was a Chinese-Born engineer who spent 10 months working as an aeronautical engineer for Boeing in 1916. He played a crucial role in designing Boeing's first ever military plane, the Boeing Model C.

Tep, R. (n.d.). The Chinese-Born Engineer Who Helped Launch US Commercial Aviation. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/news/wong-tsu-boeing-first-aeronautic-engineer-model-c

Local Community Spotlights

Koby Kim

South Korean - Active Duty Air Force

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced.

Koreans tend to have a very laid back and humor-first approach to a lot of things and I think if more people were optimistic when they first encounter a situation, people would live much happier and healthier lives.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

I always try to keep in touch with my culture when I'm away from my family because it's such a big part of how I grew up and the way I was raised. Often times I'll find myself doing the things my mom told me to do when I was younger. Things like never using the dishwasher, always having socks on instead of being barefoot on the carpet, and always saying thank you for the meal even if there's no one there to hear it.

Getfa Amburgey

Laotian American - Air Force Spouse & Nurse Case Manager at 48th Medical Group

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced.

I wish more people were aware of Lao New Year or Pi Mai which is a 3 day long celebration that occurs every April. It is similar to, and often overshadowed by the Thai Songkran that takes place at the same time. It is a time when people spread well wishes for prosperity, health, happiness & wealth for the new year. Homes & temples are cleaned to get rid of the misfortune from the old year and to make way for the good fortune to come. Water symbolizes purification so splashing water on others is considered a blessing. The celebration also includes lots of singing, dancing, traditional food, a parade and a pageant to choose Miss Pi Mai or Miss Lao New Year.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Last year I was able to share my culture with the Tri-base community during the AAPI Heritage Day at Freedom Field. We had booths representing different countries and cultures. I was able to host a booth for Laos where I provided samples of traditional Lao dishes khao neiw & sin savanh, aka sticky rice & Lao beef jerky.

Quynh Tran

Vietnamese American - USAF

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced.

It is not uncommon for three generations of a family to live together under one roof.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Every lunar new year, my family gets together on a FaceTime and we share a traditional Vietnamese dish/catch up!

Renee Nicole S.N. Finona

CHamoru - Active Duty

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced.

Our language. My last name is Finona. fino' meaning language and -ña is a possessive pronoun meaning his/her. So my last name means his or her language. CHamoru is a dying language and I am sad to say I'm not fluent. I do my best to learn more and teach my daughter.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

I am a part of the Island Pearls. We are a voluntary dance group who earn and teach traditional Polynesian dances. I will be teaching a few CHamoru dances soon. Last year, I was secretary for the AAPIH private org. In July, we put together a Liberation Day BBQ to celebrate the CHamoru people. I love introducing CHamoru food to everyone around me. They get to enjoy a part of my culture off of the island.

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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