FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Each May since 1977, we honor the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to our nation’s history. Asian-Pacific Americans have served in every conflict since the Civil War — including in some of the most decorated military units in U.S. history — and 31 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have received the Medal of Honor in service to our great nation.
We are reminded of the bravery and dedication of Asian American and Pacific Islander service members through the example of Cpl. Terry “Teruo” Kawamura. On March 20, 1969, Kawamura made the ultimate sacrifice when he threw himself on an explosive charge while reacting to an enemy assault on his unit quarters in Camp Radcliff, Vietnam. His selfless actions saved several members of his unit from serious injury or death. Kawamura was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.
Asian-Pacific Americans continue to proudly serve today. They represent more than six percent of our military and 15 percent of our civilian workforce, 56 ethnic groups and more than 100 spoken languages. The history of these warriors enriches the esprit de corps of our military and our community.
Our strength as a military is found in developing cohesive teams, which are built through understanding our people and appreciating their diversity. We encourage everyone to take time to learn about the stories of our Asian-Pacific brothers and sisters.
We are honored to serve with our Asian American and Pacific Islander Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, civilians and their families.
Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!