ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) hosted this year’s Team Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Observance May 10 at the Myer Auditorium.
This national observance honors courageous Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates all they have given to build the great Nation. This year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service.”
Maj. Gen. James J. Gallivan, commanding general of ATEC, presided over the ceremony where he provided opening remarks for the observance.
“Today the Army celebrates our Asian American and Pacific Islander Soldiers, Army Civilians, families and leaders, and their service to our Nation,” said Gallivan. “These patriots have proudly served at all levels of the Army, from private to chief of staff of the U.S. Army, and many received our Nation’s highest medal for valor.”
Asian American and Pacific Islanders have served in conflicts from the War of 1812 to the Civil War. They served with distinction in the Spanish American War and World War l, and they distinguished themselves on the battlefield during World War II.
“There are now more Asian Pacific Islander groups than in the past – with 28 Asian and 19 Pacific Islander subgroups representing a vast array of languages and cultures that are currently serving in the U.S. Army,” said Gallivan.
Gallivan introduced the guest speakers for the observance “who have lived a life of service for their Nation and their community.” The speakers were Alison Cheung, international armaments cooperation staff officer at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), and Milton Eng, with the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical and currently detailed to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment COVID-19 Joint Task Force.
Cheung began her presentation by explaining what the AAPI theme meant to her. “It means treating people the way you want to be treated which is respectfully, honestly, and fairly, despite your differences, all while inspiring leadership through loyalty, duty and responsibility.”
Cheung mentioned a study conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper that stated, employees who have a strong connection to the purpose and mission of an organization are five times more likely to stay and remain loyal. “This shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone. Everyone should know here that your work in the U.S. Army is absolutely commendable and respectable. Your work contributes to the Army’s mission in defending the constitution of the U.S. and the people’s freedom. No matter how small you think your work is, note that it has an impact in ensuring our Soldiers are equipped with the best of the best and supported by the greatest team of all time. They are here to protect our rights and privileges of freedoms, and without the team here at APG, it could not happen. It certainly would not have allowed me, an Asian American woman, to stand up here today to speak to all of you at this event.”
“It takes great courage and strength to continue carrying out our duties in these challenging times,” said Cheung. “It takes even greater strength to be selfless and reach out to others to show that you care.”
During Eng’s remarks, he shared his thoughts on leadership based on the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, and provided examples of Asian American leaders in the U.S. Army over the decades of dedication of service to the defense of the Nation.
“Asia has contributed to public service, as well as corporate businesses, all in light to make the U.S. a better, diverse population, which accounts for about five percent of the U.S. population,” said Eng, after naming a few leaders. “There is only one race… the human race. We should all treat one another with dignity and respect.”
Eng shared his personal leadership philosophy. “To live - to live life in the fullest and with no regret. To love - to love what you do, and to love one another. To learn - be a lifelong learner; learn to earn. To listen - the good lord blessed us with two ears and one mouth; let us pay attention. To laugh - have a sense of humor and brighten up someone’s day. To lead - lead others who want to follow you. Leave a legacy of making a difference.”
“What is your legacy and are you making a difference in someone’s life?” said Eng, as he proposed the question to the audience during his closing comments.
Followed by the guest speakers were a virtual dance performance from the India International School, and a musical and dance performance by David and Jessica Li.
If you missed the observance and would like to watch the video, please check out the Facebook live posting from May 10 on ATEC’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheUSATEC.