FORT MEADE, Md., -- For the month of May, the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade will celebrate the important contributions of individuals of Asian/Pacific Islander descent to the nation, both historically and in today's society.

Pfc. Truman E. Viemeister, a 19-year-old, whose family is from Laos, is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, as the unit Armor.

"I'm the first generation born Asian American in my family and growing up, going through 12 years of school, they never taught much about Asian culture or history. Being in the military is my first time seeing our culture celebrated and I'm excited to be included."

The Army firmly values the principles of diversity and inclusion and continues to lead American society in maximizing the potential of future leaders from all backgrounds.

Viemeister's mother, a Laotian refugee, fled the Vietnam War in June of 1976 with her parents and sought asylum within United States. A total of three million people from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam fled the war over the span of two decades, according to the UNHCR.

Viemeister, joined the Army in July 2017, 41 years after his family's immigration, and said, "I've been inspired to join the military by my grandfather, who served during the Vietnam War as an ally to the United States and also by my father who is currently still serving as a U.S. Army officer."

Individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have historically served in the Army with great valor and distinction and continue to be critical members of the Army team. Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month stands as a reminder of the strength the Army has gained, and will gain, through a high-quality diverse All-Volunteer Force.

Before embarking on his military journey to follow in his father and grandfather's footsteps, Viemeister's mother, who is very strong in the Buddhist belief he said, offered him a little life advice from their home country to help guide him along the way.

"She told me to just go with the flow of life, don't let your emotions get the best of you, and be sure to focus on yourself and your goals. She said those who want to stay will stay and the people who want to leave your life will leave," he said.

The Army firmly values the principles of diversity and inclusion and continues to lead American society in maximizing the potential of future leaders from all backgrounds. Diversity makes the Army better and more equipped to meet the challenges and threats of the future.