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Diversity

Captain Phil Yu

Navy leaders

Join us as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Sailors, past and present, and their important contributions to the defense of our nation.

Captain Phil Yu Chief, Northeast Asia Policy Division (J51) United States Pacific Command

I interact regularly with many of our Northeast Asian allies and partners, and I see first-hand how important a role the United States Navy plays in the security, stability, and prosperity of the region. It is also not lost on me that I am one of the 'faces' of America that represents another great source of our national strength - our diversity.

Q:
Can you share a story about someone who has influenced or challenged you to become your best?

A: I am always mindful of the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in America, which is full of inspirational stories of overcoming adversity and harmful stereotypes.

We have the example of the World War II "Go for Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who fought courageously in some of the bloodiest campaigns of the European theater, while most of their families were confined to internment camps. The heroism of the Nisei soldiers paved the way for future generations of Asian American leaders to rise to the highest positions of the United States military - leaders such as former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki, and current leaders like U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris. Or the story of 8-year old Mamie Tape, an American-born girl of Chinese descent who was barred from attending the public Spring Valley School in San Francisco in 1885. Mamie's parents sued the principal and took the case to the California Supreme Court, where school officials argued that they had no obligation to educate Chinese American students. The Tape family won the case, but Mamie and her siblings were still segregated and barred from entry. Nevertheless, this landmark court case became one of the pioneering decisions in the fight for equality in education, and the Spring Valley School would go on to have a Chinese-American principal in the 1990s.
photo collage of captain yu.


Q: May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. What does being an Asian American Pacific Islander leaders in the Navy mean to you? Is there someone from this community that has influenced you, or who has a story that is interesting to you?

A: In my current duties at the U.S. Pacific Command and as a Navy Foreign Area Officer (FAO), I interact regularly with many of our Northeast Asian allies and partners, and I see first-hand how important a role the United States Navy plays in the security, stability, and prosperity of the region.

It is also not lost on me that I am one of the 'faces' of America that represents another great source of our national strength - our diversity.