Air Force District of Washington salutes Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
Each May, Air Force District of Washington joins the nation in recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Notable dates include May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrant traveled to the United States, and May 10, 1869, when Chinese immigrants comprised the majority of workers who helped complete the transcontinental railroad. Asian/Pacific American women first entered military service during World War II, when the Women's Army Corps recruited 50 Japanese-American and Chinese-American women and sent them to the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for training as military translators. Of these women, 21 were assigned to the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. There, they worked with captured Japanese documents, extracting information pertaining to military plans as well as political and economic information that impacted Japan's ability to conduct the war. Asian/Pacific broadly encompasses the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia), and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island). There are more than 39 different Pacific Island languages spoken as a second language in the American household.