Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Published May 3, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Hailey Farrell 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- During the month of May, the DOD recognizes Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to honor the legacy of the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the U.S. “Asian Americans and people from the Pacific Islands have made major contributions to many areas of American culture and society, areas such as science, medicine, literature, and art,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maybell Benito, president of the Whiteman AFB Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Association. The history of recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month dates back to 1977, when Congress designated the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week after receiving support from both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 formally designating May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, which was later re-named Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and it has been celebrated annually since. During this time, celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture and traditions takes on a personal meaning for many Airmen. “AAPI Heritage Month means a lot to me because I was raised in America Samoa and moved to Texas at a young age,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarana Tuia-Boyd, treasurer of the Whiteman AFB APIDA Association. “I went from living somewhere I was overwhelmed by my culture to moving to the states. Asian and Pacific Islander culture Heritage Month gives me time to dedicate to learning and teaching my culture.” The 509th Bomb Wing recognizes Asian and Pacific islander members and their culture as an integral part of Team Whiteman, who contribute daily to ensure we can execute nuclear operations and global strike... anytime, anywhere. Diversity is crucial to the Air Force achieving long-term mission success and readiness in a world that is becoming more competitive and dynamic, said Benito. Airmen from different cultures and background bring unique ideas and solutions forward.