USS JAMES E. WILLIAMS, At Sea (NNS) -- As people across the U.S. recognize the month of May as Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), celebrated and educated the crew on AAPI culture and history while underway May 20..
The Diversity and Heritage Committee aboard James E. Williams, comprised of Sailors from multiple backgrounds and cultures, serves as an organization driven to celebrate and embrace the different cultures of the crew, including those cultures recognized during AAPI Heritage Month.
"Our goal is to educate the crew," said Yeoman 2nd Class Brandy Stiles, the ship's secretary and president of the Diversity and Heritage Committee. "We also try to have fun and boost morale with everything that we do."
The committee spreads awareness through flyers, events and celebrations.
"We are posting information about AAPI Heritage Month around the ship for everyone to read," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Charlotte Williams, secretary of the Diversity and Heritage Committee. "This includes a background and history of the month, as well as famous Americans that are of Asian and Pacific Islander decent."
Apart from educating the crew, the Diversity and Heritage Committee is hosting a special meal prepared by the ship's culinary specialists, aimed at celebrating Asian and Pacific Island cuisine through a diverse selection and sampling different recipes from around the world.
"We prepared a menu to celebrate different cultures and to highlight the versatility of our culinary specialists," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Randall Rufolo, the ship's supply department leading petty officer. "We are preparing a Mongolian barbecue where everything is freshly cooked on the grill to keep with the Asian and Pacific Island tradition, while applying unique twists to standard menu items."
"Every month we try to honor different cultures," said Williams. "We all come from different walks of life, and the most important aspect of these celebrations is enlightenment."
James E. Williams is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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