AUSTIN, Texas — Our nation’s achievements are driven and sustained by Americans of every background, including those belonging to the Asian American Pacific Islander community – a fact the Army, U.S. military and American public recognize every May during AAPI Heritage Month.
On May 24, former Veterans Affairs Secretary and Army Chief of Staff retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki visited Army Futures Command headquarters in Austin to discuss Army transformation with senior leaders and to speak to Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians about the important contributions members of the AAPI community have made to the U.S. military.
“Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have a long, intricate military history with this country,” Shinseki said. “They go back to the War of 1812."
Shinseki’s speech, which highlighted critical missions led and supported by outstanding U.S. service members from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and other AAPI backgrounds, was delivered as part of a broader Army Futures Command educational program on AAPI Heritage Month.
The 2023 theme for AAPI Heritage Month is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.” The observance provides an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the history of the nation, to recognize and honor their service, and to foster inclusive environments where people of all backgrounds can reach their full potential and be all they can be.
Army Futures Command’s recognition of AAPI Heritage Month included historical insights provided by Shinseki, remarks by Army Futures Command personnel, participation of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce and a traditional Polynesian dance performance.
An array of culinary offerings, from chicken adobo to pork egg rolls to vegetable pancit, followed the program and helped to mark the command’s special celebration of AAPI heritage in the Army.
The event simultaneously served as a reminder of how the diversity of the U.S. Army — and the enduring achievements of its Soldiers — has served over the years to increase broader cultural awareness, understanding and appreciation.
The Army, which is known for instilling leadership, teamwork, discipline and skill, is also “the biggest vehicle for social change and social improvement,” said Gen. James E. Rainey, commanding general of Army Futures Command.