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  • Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:11 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors marked its 10th anniversary on Nov. 11, 2017.

    Over the last 10 years, PPALM grew from only several members in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area to several hundred members in seven chapters around the world, including Germany, Colorado, Hawaii, and Afghanistan. In addition to growing membership, PPALM has also begun focusing on health and wellness as a priority topic for members. In June, PPALM launched its interactive series on Leadership & Organizational Health & Wellness, sponsored by AARP. The first session focused specifically on physical and financial wellness, and PPALM will expand on this series in the coming months.

    PPALM celebrated this 10-year milestone at its 10th Annual General Membership Meeting here on Oct. 8. Judge Evan Wallach delivered keynote remarks and PPALM recognized many individuals and organizations for their efforts and support of public service and mentoring.

    Award Recipients

    Mazie Hirono, U.S. Senator, State of Hawaii
    Chairman’s Award for Distinguished Public Service

    Gordon Sullivan, General, U.S. Army (Ret.)

    Distinguished Citizenship and Patriotism Award

    High Bridge Foundation, Inc.

    Robert Nakamoto Family & Foundation Excellence in Mentoring Award

    PPALM will holds its next annual membership meeting in the fall of 2018.

  • Monday, July 03, 2017 6:48 AM | Anonymous



    DEADLINE: JULY 31, 2017


    Each year, the Pan-Pacific American Leader s and Mentors (PPALM) honors an individual who has established an exemplary track record as a leader and mentor.  This year, the nomination is open to the public.  We invite you to nominate an outstanding individual whom you believe embodies the best qualities of an accomplished leader who has mentored others to success and thus deserves to receive PPALM’s “Excellence in Mentorship Award” (the “Mentorship Award”).


    The following nomination procedure applies:

    1.          You may nominate yourself or a person other than yourself; you may not nominate an entity or a group.

    2.          To submit a nomination, you must:

                  (a) Provide the full name, occupation and contact information (email address and telephone number) of the nominee.

                  (b) Submit a letter of support demonstrating, in a clear and concise manner, why the nominee is worthy of the Mentorship Award (“Letter of Support”).  The Letter of Support must not exceed five (5) pages, single-sided, including exhibits and attachments; there is no minimum page requirement, but you are encouraged to provide as much credible and verifiable information as possible to help us evaluate the nominee in the best possible light.  Do not include URL links and links to other online sources, unless they are links to videos of no more than five (5) minutes each in duration (maximum of three (3) videos); rather, print copies of the online materials that you would like the PPALM Mentorship Award Nominations Committee (the “Nominations Committee”) to consider.  Your text or narrative may be single-spaced, single-sided, and you may use any font as long as it is at least 12 points in font size.

                  (c) Submit a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae (“CV”) with the Letter of Support.  The nominee’s CV does not count towards the page limitation set forth above.

    3.          All nomination submissions must be received by the Nominations Committee by 5 PM EST on or before July 31, 2017, and addressed to:

                  Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors

                  Attention:  Mentorship Award Nominations Committee

                  P.O. Box 2771

                  Arlington, VA  22202

    4.          All nomination submissions, including any attachments or exhibits, must be in the English language. We will assume that you own, or have the requisite authority to use, the documentation and materials (including images and videos) that you submit as part of your nomination submission.  PPALM will not be responsible for intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark, etc.) violations that the nominee or the proponent of the nominee incurs as a result of his/her nomination submission.

    5.          The selection and deliberation process is strictly confidential. However, PPALM and its designees or representatives have no obligation to treat the nomination submission or any part thereof as “confidential material.”

    6.          If you’re nominating a person other than yourself, you attest that you have that person’s consent to be nominated by you, and that you have his/her full authorization to submit information and documentation about him/her.

    7.          By nominating yourself or an individual other than yourself, you authorize us to use the documentation and materials you submit, including but not limited to, your name or the name of your nominee, in connection with the Mentorship Award.

    8.          Nomination submissions that do not comply with the requirements listed above will be automatically rejected and disqualified from further consideration.


    Subject to the requirements outlined above, the following eligibility requirements apply:

    1.          The nominee must be an individual; groups or entities are not eligible.

    2.          The nominee must be a living person.

    3.          The nominee need not be a past or current member of PPALM.

    4.          The nomination is open to all without regard to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual identity or sexual preference, creed/religious belief, veteran or military status, physical or mental disability, national origin, citizenship, and political affiliation.

    5.          The nominee, if chosen as the Mentorship Awardee, must be able to attend the award ceremony, which will be held on October 8, 2017 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the PPALM Annual Membership Meeting and Reception (the “PPALM Annual Event”).  The Mentorship Awardee may designate a representative to receive the award on his/her behalf if he/she is unable to attend the ceremony for legitimate reasons.  The Mentorship Awardee or his/her designee must finance his/her trip.


    Complete nominations (see “Nomination Procedure” above) must be received by the Nominations Committee by 5 PM EST on or before JULY 31, 2017.


    Nominations will be reviewed initially by the Nominations Committee. The eventual Mentorship Awardee will be selected jointly by the PPALM Board of Directors (the “Board”) and the Nakamoto Foundation, a PPALM sustaining corporate sponsor. If necessary, the Board and the Nakamoto Foundation may interview the finalists. The decision of the PPALM BoD and the Nakamoto Foundation is final and nonappealable. The deliberation process is strictly confidential and will not be shared with the public.


    The Excellence in Mentorship Awardee will be publicly recognized at the PPALM Annual Event.  He/she will receive a fully inscribed trophy and a fully paid one-year membership in PPALM.


    PPALM intends to announce the Mentorship Awardee reasonably in advance of the PPALM Annual Event to enable the Mentorship Awardee to make the appropriate travel arrangements, if necessary.


    We have attempted to provide you with all the information that you will need to participate in the nominations process. If you need additional information or have any questions, please send an email to the Nominations Committee at NominationsCommittee@ppalm.org. Because PPALM is staffed by volunteers, please carefully review this document before contacting the Nominations Committee for additional information. We thank you for your interest and participation.


    The Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization comprised of U.S. military and civilian leaders committed to serving the nation by providing leadership, mentoring, education, and fellowship opportunities to professionals in the United States and beyond. PPALM is headed by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (U.S. Army, Retired). PPALM is a non-stock, non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is classified as a public charity under applicable IRS regulations.

  • Thursday, December 15, 2016 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Shared from The Pentagram article

    By Arthur Mondale Pentagram Staff Writer

    Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial group in the Unites States, expected to double to a population of 47 million over the next four decades according to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). But there are growing concerns with regard to recruitment and retention among AAPIs in the U.S. military.

    “When I was a young lieutenant, I don’t think I ever saw an Asian American or Pacific Islander general officer — except for General Eric Ken Shinseki — who I had only seen in newspapers and on television,” said Major Renee Lee, D.C. Air National Guard public affairs officer. “It’s been very inspiring for me to maintain my career, recruit others and help with the retention of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — and all minorities. I value these opportunities. And as a leader it’s my responsibility to build a stronger team.”

    Lee’s view isn’t contained in a vacuum. Her perspective and the challenges facing AAPI veterans and those currently serving has been discussed within the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Dec. 5, leaders from the DoD, the VA and their allies met during the National Forum for Asian American and Pacific Islander Military Members and Veterans at the Women’s Memorial Theater at Arlington National Cemetery. Topics included inclusion, diversity, equal opportunity, veteran support and partnership strategies.

    Speakers and panelists included high ranking officials from the Department of Defense and Congress, including Eric Fanning, Secretary of the Army; Maj. Gen. Garrett S. Yee, Headquarters Department of the U.S. Army Chief Information Officer/G-6 and Congressman Mark Takano, representative for California’s 41st congressional district amongst other influencers.

    “Less than one percent of [the U.S] population serves in the military, but think about the subset of that — the AAPI community — it’s a smaller subset, that’s something to think about,” said Yee, who served as a moderator during a panel discussion at the forum.

    “Our greatest asset to protecting our homeland and advancing our interest abroad is the talented diversity our national security workforce,” said Hansen Mak, foreign affairs specialist within the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force.

    Also represented at the forum were cadets from the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy (West Point); invited by retired Lt. Col. Ravi Chaudhary, member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the executive director for Regions and Center Operations at the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “As an academy graduate, I’ve been where the cadets have been and I want to be a pathfinder for them in turn,” Chaudhary said in reference to mentoring the next generation of senior military leaders.

    “It’s a matter of military readiness and also service to our country,” added retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba.

    The cadets were seated alongside a diversified number of attendees like Maj. Countess Cooper, a D.C. Air National Guard chaplain.

    “I’m not of Asian Pacific Islander heritage, but coming to a forum of this kind shows all attendees we share a common ground and must develop common strategies on overcoming injustices and spaces where we need development in our military organizations,” Cooper said. “We can do more together as a group than we can do individually or in our social silos. There is a need for collective bargaining, if you will, in aspects of equality and justice.”

    “Often what proceeds great progress for our country happens first in our military,” Takano said.

    The forum also included the landmark signing of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 (S.1555) in recognition of Filipino and Filipino American contributions to World War II, which passed in U.S. House of Representatives Nov. 30; it passed in the Senate over the summer.

    “Congress and the great nation have fully recognized the veterans of World War II for their selfless service to our nation,” Taguba said. “[The Filipino Veterans of World War II] have now joined The Tuskegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the Navajo Code Talkers, the Nisei Soldiers of World War II and the Puerto Rican Soldiers of the 65th Infantry Regiment.”

    Taguba’s words particularly resonated with World War II veteran, Celestino Almeda. Almeda who is 99-years-old is one of approximately 260,000 Filipino and Filipino Americans who served in World War II. It’s estimated that approximately 18,000 are still alive today, Taguba said.

    “It is heartwarming to receive a gold medal — but there is another [weight] on my shoulder — I hope the stipulation of the law will also grant posthumous awards to the [Filipino and Filipino American] veterans [of World War II],” Almeda said.

    Pentagram Staff Writer Arthur Mondale can be reached at awright@dcmilitary.com

  • Friday, December 02, 2016 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    Reposted press release by the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project

    November 30, 2016

    Contact: Jon Melegrito
    Tel. 202-361-0296

    Washington, D.C. -- Today, the U.S. Congress finally granted national recognition to the 260,000 Filipino and American soldiers who served under the United States Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE). They have waited for more than 72 years.

    The House of Representatives approved S.1555, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, passed by the Senate via unanimous consent in July. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

    “Today is truly a great day, a significant seminal period in American history – second only to the liberation of the Philippines and surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces on August 15, 1945,” says Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). “Now we can tell our veterans with pride in our hearts that this grateful nation has, at last, granted them recognition for the selfless sacrifice they endured in war, and restored their dignity and honor in service to their nation.”

    Seventy years ago this past February, the Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946, a bill that stripped Filipino soldiers the benefits promised them by President Roosevelt.

    In hailing the bill’s passage, Taguba recalls the many conversations he’s had with veterans who endured “a lifetime of injustice and indignation” inflicted by the Rescission Act. “Yet, they remained steadfast and resolute, hoping our country they willingly defended would right the wrong brought upon them. Their courage and strength were their salvation. They placed their trust and expectations on their sons and daughters, on members of Congress, and the American people who believe in them.”

    Long overdue

    “I’m very happy because this recognition is long overdue,” says 99-year old Filipino World War II veteran Celestino Almeda of Gaithersburg, MD, one of the less than 7,000 surviving veterans residing in the U.S. today. “We responded to President Roosevelt’s call to serve and risked our lives fighting under the American flag. But after the war was over, we were treated unjustly, which was painful and humiliating.” 

    Rudy Panaglima, 86, of Arlington, VA. has also harbored the same disappointment and frustration over the years, but is nonetheless “thrilled that the U.S. has now recognized us. It’s better late than never.” Panaglima was only 13 when he served with guerilla forces near his home in Cagayan, as a courier and scout. In 1995, he availed of the naturalization benefits granted to Filipino World War II veterans and immigrated with his wife Pura to the U.S.

    “If Alberto Bacani were here today, you would see him beaming with joy,” says Marla Miranda Mooney of Stafford, Va. “On behalf of my grandfather and all our family, we are grateful for this timely recognition bestowed on World War II Filipino veterans and for all who worked diligently on their behalf for this day to become a reality.  For my grandfather and all the veterans we honor with this award, the price to ensure democracy and restoration of peace worldwide meant risking personal safety. Though some were not professional soldiers, all of these extraordinary individuals answered President Roosevelt's call to service.  To them, we were not two separate people -- we were One; united against anyone and anything which threatened our lives, liberty, and our pursuit of happiness.” Bacani, who fought in Corregidor as a Major in the Philippine Commonwealth Army, died in November 2013.

    Paving the way

    The Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 garnered bipartisan support from 312 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 71 in the Senate, paving the way for Congress to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal, which – along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - are the highest civilian awards in the United States.

    The CGM bill was introduced in June last year in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) as lead co-sponsor, and in the House by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2), with U.S. Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV-3) as lead co-sponsor.

     “We did our due diligence by securing more than the two-thirds majority required in both chambers, to ensure its passage,” says Marie Blanco, FilVetREP’s legislative director. “We know how much it means to our veterans and their families.”

    She adds: “We are extremely grateful to Sen. Hirono and Sen. Heller, and to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Heck for their leadership in pushing this bill through to the finish line. We are appreciative as well of the senior leadership in both the House and Senate, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and, of course, to all the cosponsors and their staffers for championing this very important legislation.” 

    Historic step

    In a statement released earlier, Sen. Mazie Hirono paid tribute to Filipino World War II veteran Domingo Los Banos of Kaua’i, who joined the Senator last week aboard the USS Missouri “to recount how these veterans were instrumental to our victory in the Pacific, but had to fight for decades to receive the benefits they earned. The unanimous support this bill earned in the Senate and the overwhelming backing it has in the House honors the sacrifice so many of these veterans made for our country.”

    “For months, we have said that time is running out to recognize Filipino World War II veterans for their brave service,” adds Hirono. “Today’s House passage is the culmination of decades of work by these veterans and their families to recognize their key role in the Allied victory, and their decades-long fight for benefits.”

    “Today, the United States Congress took an historic step forward in honoring the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers that served our country during World War II. With unanimous support from the United State Congress, our bill now heads to the President’s desk,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Our Filipino WWII veterans have waited decades for this recognition alongside units like the Tuskegee Airmen and Hawaii’s own 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion with the Congressional Gold Medal—our nation’s highest civilian honor. With just 18,000 of these Filipino World War II veterans still alive today, we cannot afford to wait any longer. I urge the President to sign this bill into law before the year’s end, and honor our veterans with this long-overdue recognition.”

    U.S. Rep. Coleen Hanabusa (D-HI-lst), in her remarks during the House proceedings, acknowledged former Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, for championing the cause of Filipino World War II veterans during their many years of service in the Senate. “They fought to repeal the Rescission Act,” Hanabusa said, “and they did everything they can to restore their rightful benefits. They would be proud to know that Congress finally did the right thing.” 

    Grassroots support

    Ben de Guzman, FilVetREP’s Outreach Director, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support for the national effort to raise awareness about the critical role Filipino World War II veterans played in the Pacific Theatre. “A coalition of national advocacy groups serving Filipino Americans, Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders, veterans service organizations, and countless local organizations and advocates at the local level took part in this national campaign. Their engagement with their senators and representatives in the last 17 months was instrumental in moving the CGM legislation forward,” de Guzman said. “Without grassroots support, it would have been difficult to mount the kind of campaign needed to bring us to this historic moment, which we celebrate with pride today.”

    Among the advocacy groups that assisted in the nationwide effort is the San Francisco Veterans Equity Center (SVEC), which has helped hundreds of Filipino World War II veterans over the years. “They are so delighted to finally receive the recognition they have been waiting for a long time,” says SVEC Exec. Director Luisa Antonio, who is also a FilVetREP Board Member. “Leo Ansis, an 89-year-old New Philippine Scout, felt that his service has been forgotten, but very excited to hear of the bill’s passage. Mrs. Lourdes Poblete, a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and a recognized guerrilla who served from 1942 to 1944 is also overjoyed to receive the honor while she is still alive. She is 92 years old."

    Preserving an American story

    The stories of veterans Almeda, Ansis, Los Banos, Panaglima and Poblete have inspired the work of the Bataan Legacy History Society (BLHS), which has been educating the American public since 2012 about the role of Filipinos in World War II. In 2014, it started working with the California Department of Education to have their stories taught in public classrooms, a program that was finally approved in July.  

    "The recognition of their sacrifices and valor comes at an auspicious time when we are about to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines,” points out BLHS Exec. Director Cecilia Gaerlan. “The Filipinos formed the majority of the USAFFE and they forged an unbreakable bond with their American brothers in the trenches of Bataan and Corregidor. Their forces were able to delay the timetable of the Imperial Japanese Army despite suffering from massive disease and starvation and fighting without any air support.  These facts are now included in the U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11 in California.”  

     “Indeed, our heroes accomplished their mission and we are deeply and eternally grateful to them for defending our country, for preserving our freedom, and granting us to live free for generations to come,” Taguba said. “Now, we have to accomplish ours by ensuring that this American story is preserved for posterity.”

                                                            #         #         #

    The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP), is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, community-based, all-volunteer national initiative whose mission is to obtain national recognition of Filipino and American WW11 soldiers across the United States and the Philippines for their wartime service to the U.S. and the Philippines from July 26, 1941 to December 31, 1946. 
    For more information about Filipino WWII veterans and how to get involved, visit our website at www.filvetrep.org.

  • Monday, October 31, 2016 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    Join PPALM at the National Association of Asian American Professionals' 2016 Northeast Leadership Conference in Washington on Sat., Nov. 5. PPALM Chairman Tony Taguba will deliver keynote remarks in the morning, and PPALM will host an afternoon panel on "Decisive Leadership Now and Strategic Leadership for the Future." Use the coupon code "PPALM" for 50 percent off your registration.

    See the full day's program here: NAAAP NLC 2016 One Pager.pdf.

  • Friday, October 28, 2016 7:50 PM | Anonymous

    Read our latest newsletter! Download our 2016 Summer Fall final.pdf.

  • Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM) mourns the loss of former U.S. Congressman Mark Takai who represented the 1st District of Hawaii. Congressman Mark Takai passed away on July 20 after battling pancreatic cancer. 

    Congressman Takai was a champion of veterans and their families. On his watch, he sponsored the H.R. 483, Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2015, which amends the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1990 to expedite the immigration process for the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans to rejoin them in the United States. This legislation was followed by President Obama’s executive order to implement the pardon program allowing Filipino veterans to expedite their applications. This singular act by Congressman Takai impacted between 5.000-15,000 veterans and their families. 

    Congressman Takai was also a great friend of PPALM. He strongly believed in mentoring as a key element in growing leaders. As a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard and member of Hawaii’s legislature, he mentored several aspiring leaders to success. He believed in having Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in our country through public service and providing for the greater good of this country.

    “I know of no one else more noble than Congressman Takai in serving our nation,” said PPALM Chairman Tony Taguba. “He answered the call to duty on many occasions – in the military, in Hawaii’s legislature and in Congress. His successful life is replete with serving his country first and foremost, and in helping others succeed – all before self. We will not forget him and we will miss him greatly."

  • Thursday, November 19, 2015 8:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – The Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors held its annual membership meeting and reception Oct. 11.

    In its eighth consecutive year, the membership meeting was an opportunity for the PPALM Chairman Tony Taguba, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (Ret.), and fellow PPALM board members to provide an update to its members, as well as recognize individuals for their contributions to leadership and mentoring. In addition to the Chairman’s update to members, PPALM Board members provided updates on PPALM’s efforts in communications, IT and membership.

    In his keynote remarks, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague shared words of advice for both mentors and mentees. McKeague noted caring, challenge, competence, confidence, character, and recognizing one’s comfort zone as areas of importance for mentors as they develop the next generation of leaders.

    As in years past, the annual membership meeting was also an opportunity to recognize the many individuals and organizations for their efforts and support of public service and mentoring.

    Award Recipients

    Ed Chow, Jr., Former Secretary of Veterans, State of Maryland
    Chairman’s Award for Distinguished Public Service

    Wade Ishimoto
    Distinguished Citizenship and Patriotism Award

    Robert Nakamoto Family & Foundation
    Excellence in Mentoring Award

    PPALM will holds its next annual membership meeting in the fall of 2016.

  • Thursday, June 18, 2015 8:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    AAGEN Holds its 11th Annual Leadership Development Training

    Crystal City Double Tree Hotel

    300 Army Navy Drive, Fairfax, VA

    11 June 2015

    Day Time Training Workshop 730am-515pm

    “Stand Up and Make a Difference” offers career advancement skills and networking tools to help navigate the paths to senior leadership in government. There will be one-on-one coaching sessions available for workshop attendees with our 38 volunteer senior executive coaches.

    Distinguished Speakers:

    The Hon Mark Takai, US House of Representatives, (D-HI)

    ADM Michelle Howard, Vice CNO, USN

    Gary Wang, USA

    Clarence Johnson, DOD

    Fritz Friedman, The Fritz Friedman Co

    MG Antonio Taguba, USA,( ret)

    BG James C. Wong, USA


    AAGEN 16th Annual Leadership Gala Award Banquet

    Crystal City Double Tree Hotel

    300 Army Navy Drive, Fairfax, VA

    11 June 2015

    Evening Program 600pm-900pm, Reception 6:00PM, Dinner 6:30PM

    Several distinguished leaders will be recognized for their exceptional public service and personal achievements as Asian Americans and/or Pacific Islanders in government.

    Awardees: The Honorable Mazie Hirono, US Senate (D-HI), Carol Bonosaro, President, Senior Executive Association, and Huong Pham, DON, NSWC DD

    VIP Guests and Award presenters: The Honorable Norman Mineta (Ret) (Former Secretary of Transportation and Commerce), MGen Sharon Dunbar (Ret), USAF, Dr. James C. Meng (Ret) DON.
  • Sunday, May 31, 2015 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Posted on April 30, 2015 by Lida Peterson

    The U.S. Naval Academy hosted an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month banquet April 28 at the Naval Academy Club.

    Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave the keynote address.

    Harris, a 1978 academy graduate, was born in Japan and raised in Tennessee and Florida. He spoke to the guests about his point of view on diversity in the Navy, how important it is and how it has changed over the years.

    “The condition of being different – that’s the dictionary meaning of diversity,” said Harris. “It’s an irony, I suppose, that the military, known for establishing a culture of uniformity, is the same military that embraces our differences and leads in the struggle for diversity.”

    Harris said the U.S. is a melting pot of different religions, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and beliefs, and the military reflects that.

    “I believe that embracing diversity is vital to both our present and future,” said Harris. “We cannot achieve healthy growth without it. One former CNO rightly said that as leaders, we must not be locked in time – we must anticipate and embrace the demographic changes of tomorrow to build a Navy that always reflects our country’s make up.”

    In the Navy, minorities represent almost 50 percent of the enlisted workforce and 22 percent of the officer corps. Approximately 13 percent are flag officers. Within the flag ranks, 91 percent are male and only 9 percent female. Eighty-seven percent are white, with only 6 percent African American, 5 percent Asian Pacific American, and less than 2 percent Latino, but these numbers show how far the Navy has come since Harris was commissioned in 1978, he said.

    “We want to welcome every Sailor and Marine into a family they will proudly call their own for the rest of their lives, a family that exists like no other on land, at sea or in the air,” said Harris.

    Asians and Pacific Islanders have been serving in our Navy since the 19th century, and they have continued to be at the forefront as leaders in every aspect of American life and in the military.

    “I’m proud to be the Navy’s first 4-star admiral of Asian Pacific heritage,” said Harris. “But more than that, I’m proud to be an American on the Navy-Marine Corps team, amongst the outstanding men and women, from diverse backgrounds, who are critical-thinking Sailors and Marines who serve with honor, courage and commitment.”

    Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was first established in 1979. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded the observance to encompass the month of May, and in 1992, Congress passed a law permanently designating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

    The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

    PPALM Chairman, MG Anthony Taguba (Ret), and Rear Adm. Raquel Bono, Chief of Medical Corps, US Navy, were also invited to this celebration as honor guests.   PPALM members, CPTs Alyson Kil and Sean Lin also participated this event.

    USN Heritage Month Celebration 1


    CPT/Dr Alyson Kil, MC, U.S. Army and CPT/Dr Sean Lin, MSC,  U.S. Army With Admiral Harry Harris, USN, Commander US Pacific Fleet at US Naval Academy’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration on April 28, 2015


    USN Heritage Month Celebration 2

    CPT/Dr Alyson Kil, MC, U.S. Army and Rear Adm. Raquel Bono, Chief of Medical Corps, USN, at the US Naval Academy’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration on April 28, 2015

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