Ronald Reagan Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage

Story Number: NNS190523-09Release Date: 5/23/2019 12:44:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seamen Apprentice Thomas F. Leishman, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Sailors attached to the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month May 23.

Asian American and Pacific Islander histories and heritages are celebrated every May. AAPI Month recognizes their challenges and their vital contributions to the American story. This year’s theme is, “Unite Our Mission by Engaging Each Other.”

“Our stronghold as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is our strong family ties,” said Chief Logistics Specialist Rommel Langomez from Manila, Philippines. “We are one big family regardless of blood, background or belief.”

Logistics Specialist 1st Class Roxanne Benavidez of Port Hueneme, California and Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Brittany McHellon of Coco, Florida performed both the Japan and the Philippine national anthems. Logistics Specialist Seaman Rosemae Bobadilla of Olongapo, Philippines led a tinikling demonstration, the Philippines’ national dance famous for its use of bamboo.

Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Kristian Mack of Peoria, Illinois is a member of Reagan’s Diversity Committee. The team leads the ship’s crew every month celebrating the various ethnicities and heritages.

“It helps us become one with each other and allows us to get through communication barriers that might be there,” Mack said.

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council says more than 23,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders representing 56 ethnic groups and speaking more than 100 languages serve the Navy team. 

AAPI was a joint resolution introduced in the House of Representatives in June 1978 and signed later that year by President Jimmy Carter on October 5. This law directed the President to declare a seven-day period –– beginning May 4, 1979 –– as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’ President George H.W. Bush extended the heritage week to a heritage month lasting all of May.

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