KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Dating back to the late 1970s, Asian American and Pacific Islander recognition began as a week-long observance to honor the history of the community. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450, formally expanding the week-long observance to the month of May.
The Wolf Pack’s AAPIHM celebration kicked off May 1st with a cake cutting ceremony led by an outgoing member of the Filipino American Association.
“As a small private organization that falls under of the umbrella of the AAPIHM, we try to share the culture, foods and traditions of Filipino Americans while remaining inclusive and good stewards to the local community surrounding the base,” said Staff Sgt. Lawrence Solmiano, 8th Medical Group medical technician. “We also partner with neighboring Asian American and Filipino American organizations at nearby bases to host events such as basketball tournaments within the peninsula.”
As a one-year remote tour, many Airmen may come and go but the annual celebration of AAPIHM remains.
“We’ve realized that a short tour translates to a lot of new faces and a bunch of ebbs and flows,” said Capt. Noelito Amigable, 8th Fighter Wing plans and programs chief. “We combined with the Asian American and Pacific Islander organization to celebrate the AAPIHM with a slew of events throughout the month of May.”
In addition to celebrating the heritage month, some of the events the KAFA puts on throughout the year include volunteer opportunities and joint networking events with other private organizations.
“One of my fondest memories is when we did the Thanksgiving potluck because a lot of people came out and we got to try each other’s versions of traditional dishes,” said Senior Airman Issey Jeorgina Silva, 8 FW Judge Advocate military justice section paralegal .
Several AAPIHM events are slated throughout the rest of the month and will culminate with an end of month bash, survival Korean language class and home cooked meal event.
These events showcase one of the ways the 8 FW recognizes Asian Americans and Pacific Islander members, their culture and their contributions to the wing mission and throughout history.
Additional information about Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the military, past and present, can be found at the Department of Defense website.