FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- May is nationally recognized as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. The U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School will host Fort Jackson's Asian Pacific Heritage luncheon, scheduled for 11 a.m., Friday at the Solomon Center.

The luncheon is held each year to recognize the past and present military service of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Army and at Fort Jackson.

This year, organizers have decided on a luau theme. Tickets are available through Equal Employment Opportunity advisers and cost $10. The menu for the luncheon will include dishes from various native heritages.

During the luncheon, the "South Sea Dancers" of Charlotte, N.C., will demonstrate aspects of Polynesian culture, dance and language. Their performance will include a floor show that includes a fire dancer and dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Samoa.

"In the month of May we recognize the contributions of the Asian Pacific Islanders have made throughout the years. We have recognized this since 1979," said Sgt. 1st Class Tracey Otto, equal opportunity adviser, U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School.

"That month was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by predominantly Chinese laborers on May 10, 1869," Otto said.

Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to the Army. Approximately 4 percent of active duty Soldiers in the Army are Asian American, according to the 2010 census.

Prominent Asian American Soldiers that have served include retired General Eric Shinseki, who served as the Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003, and today serves as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more information, contact your unit's equal opportunity advisor or call 751-2990.