Unity in Diversity: Honoring AANHPI Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Farrell
  • 509th Bomb Wing

May is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month to celebrate the legacy and contribution of these communities in the U.S.

That celebration brings together Airmen from around the world at Whiteman Air Force Base. Airmen like U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brendan Siuloa from American Somoa and Senior Airman Ernest Ray Ranan who was born and raised in Italy to a Filipino mother and an American father.

Like many Airmen, they had different reasons for joining the Air Force.

“My main reason for joining was the naturalization process and then after being in the military I realized I like my job and the people I work with,” said Ranan.

Siuloa was inspired by family members who served before him. He first spoke to a recruiter while visiting his sister’s duty station in Stuttgart, Germany.

They are both members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Association at Whiteman AFB, a group that gives Airmen like them a place to feel at home while serving thousands of miles away from their families.

Siuloa said the events the club holds, where members gather to share activities and food they enjoy from their culture, make members feel at home away from home.

“It’s important to build a network and meet new people who you can share your culture with,” said Ranan.

Ranan, the club president, first joined APIDAA when he arrived at Whiteman AFB. He now hopes to involve as many people as he, not only with those who share the culture, but also with those who wish to learn about it.

Suiloa has been able to help with that. His first position as part of the 509th Force Support Squadron at the Welcome Center helping Airmen and civilians in-process to the base gave him the opportunity to spread the word about the club.

“I got to meet a lot of people and invite them to events,” said Siuloa. “Being a part of the club, members have a community of support here on base.”

The Air Force’s most valuable asset is its Airmen, and Airmen from all walks of life strengthen the Air Force with their unique life experiences, and groups like APIDAA help those Airmen integrate into the Air Force while also preserving their culture and traditions.