Sheppard, DoD celebrates Asian America, Pacific Islander Month

  • Published
  • 82nd Training Wing Equal Opportunity Office

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May is an occasion to remember the patriotism of AAPIs who have served, or are currently serving, in the Department of Defense and our nation.

May was chosen as the observance month to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 10, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks of that nation-unifying railway were Chinese immigrants. 

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council has chosen this year’s theme to be “Unite Our Vision by Engaging Each Other,” encouraging AAPI civic engagement and leadership. Asian/Pacific Islanders encompass an extremely diverse group of cultures, ethnicities, races, and languages. They include the Asian continent and the many Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

In 1980, Rear Adm. Ming Chang, a graduate of William and Mary University in Virginia and the Naval Postgraduate School in California, became the first naturalized Asian American naval officer to reach flag rank.

He served as the commanding officer of the USS Rathburne and the USS Reeves; chief of staff of Carrier Group 3; chief of staff and commander of 3rd Fleet; and commander Cruiser of Destroyer Group 2. As a rear admiral, he served as deputy commander of Weapons and Combat Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command. 

Chang concluded his career serving as Department of the Navy Inspector General. He proudly served on active duty for 34 years. Upon his retirement from the Navy, he became vice president and corporate director of the Pacific Region at Raytheon International. He died in October 2017.