MacDill recognizes Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jacob Redito, 50th Air Refueling Squadron

Every year in May, MacDill Air Force Base joins the nation in observance of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month as an opportunity to recognize the diversity that exists on our base.

May was selected as the observance month to memorialize the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the United States on May 07, 1843 and to commemorate the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The newly built transcontinental railway help unite the country from coast to coast; a majority of its workers were Chinese immigrants.

The passage of Public Law 95-419 in 1978 marked the first official recognition of contributions from Americans with heritage to the Asia and Pacific region. From the far reaches of India to the Hawaiian Islands, Americans from these regions have contributed to the defense of this nation in every major war and conflict.

A notable example is the Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW), better known as the “Flying Tigers”. The famed World War II flying unit claimed the destruction of 190 Japanese aircraft in air-to-air combat and 301 on the ground. Additionally, no CACW bomber was lost due to enemy aircraft fire, a telling tribute to ferocity of the unit’s Airmen. The celebrated unit was jointly commanded by American and Chinese air force officers with many of the American personnel in the unit having ancestral ties to the region.

The service of Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians before and during World War II, paved the way for future generations of men and women to join what would become in 1948, a desegregated U.S. military.

The United States remains forever indebted to the World War II veterans, who demonstrated selfless service and sacrifice in defense of global peace and security. We remember the legacy of the “Greatest Generation” by Honoring the Past, Securing the Future.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. The Department of Defense Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month posters produced by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute are part of a series. Each set highlights the significant contributions of special observance groups towards achieving total victory in this watershed event. Each poster is reminiscent of the colors and styles found in the 1940’s Recruitment and Victory posters from the World War II era.