JBLE celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Joint Base Langley-Eustis will celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander heritage throughout the month of May with a variety of virtual events and discussions.

Asian American Pacific Islander is a broad term which encompasses those who have a heritage from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. While these communities have roots spanning the globe, their success stories are uniquely American. Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped develop and defend the United States, often in the face of tremendous racial and cultural prejudice.

To honor their sacrifices, JBLE’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Committee will focus on highlighting the community’s contributions to the nation as well as individual perspectives of serving in the military.

This year there will be seven events, including virtual panel discussions with Chinese American veterans of World War II, members of the Air Force Thunderbirds, and the first Sikhs to serve in the Department of Defense with authorization to follow their religious dress code.

“Our community has come so far throughout decades of service,” said 1st Lt. Wesley Chiu, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Committee lead. “I’m looking forward to celebrating and discussing these issues. It is important to remind people what Asian/Pacific American community has contributed to the nation as we see the recent hate crime attacks on Asian/Pacific American community in New York City and Los Angeles. We hope to remind people that one person cannot accomplish the mission alone, we need each other and we need everyone.”

“Despite the diversity, we all wear the same uniform.” Chiu said. “We are all different and unique in our own capacity and that is what makes our military strong.”

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Committee members pose for a group picture at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 26, 2021.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Committee members pose for a group picture at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 26, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jun Hee Kang)

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