SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) North Island Sailors and Marines participated in a diversity observance to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month on board Naval Air Station North Island, May 24.
Organized by the CNATTU North Island Diversity Committee, the event included speeches recognizing accomplishments of AAPI service members in the U.S. armed forces.
"Some of the things Asian American service members went through to make the Navy what we know it as today [were] difficult," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Juan Hernandez, the diversity committee chairman. "We have a large student population at CNATTU North Island and ensuring they know where our Navy has come from, and the sacrifices service members had to make for us to be here, is something we take seriously. We're not only training aircraft maintainers, we're training Sailors and Marines to be the best service members and citizens they can be."
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders of various nationalities and ancestry have served in the U.S. military in every war since the War of 1812. Today, more than 23,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander Sailors serve in the U.S. Navy.
In 1978, Congress passed a joint resolution to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. The month of May also commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was built largely by Chinese immigrants. In 1990, Congress voted to expand it to one month. Two years later, it was officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and is what is celebrated today.
"We celebrate our differences today and learn from one another while serving in the most culturally diverse Navy in the world," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kaiser Reinhart, the Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 maintenance control officer and event guest speaker. "It wasn't always that way, and being part of an organization that today values differences is something I'm proud to say I am."
Posters at the event highlighted military contributions made by Asian American and Pacific Islanders and the struggles these service members faced during World War I and World War II.
CNATTU North Island is a training unit of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training located at Naval Air Station Pensacola. CNATT develops, delivers, and supports aviation technical training at 28 sites located throughout the continental United States and Japan.
CNATT is a technical training agent for the Naval Aviation Enterprise, an organization designed to advance and sustain naval aviation warfighting capabilities at an affordable cost, and is the largest training center under Naval Education and Training Command.
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