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United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

Pacific Islander

Heritage Month - May 2014

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May 20, 2014

During the month of May, the Defense Department takes time to recognize and honor the dedicated service and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, both past and present, through their military service in defense of our nation.

A 1942 decorative banner photo of Ralph, Philip, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Susan Ahn Cuddy, USN. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Photo: U.S. Army Tech. Sgt. Born on the Fourth of July in California, Warren Tsuneishi was the son of Japanese immigrants. After Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II, his family was evacuated to Heart Mountain, a Japanese internment facility in Wyoming. But Tsuneishi craved freedom and the chance to serve his country, in spite of his family's confinement. He volunteered for the Military Intelligence Service Language School and served in the Pacific, translating captured documents that gave U.S. forces a big advantage in securing the Philippines and Okinawa.

Airman Joins Presidential Advisory Commission

Thumbnail: A President's Advisory Commission member presents a lei to Lt. Col. Ravi Chaudhary.

With family, friends and co-workers in the audience the Air Force District of Washington executive officer sat among a group of leaders in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community waiting to sworn into the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs May 6, 2014. Story

Marines Celebrate Excellence Beyond Adversity

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort marks Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage month with culturally themed activities and events focusing on the theme, "I am beyond." Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Tamara McMillan said the phrase "captures the aspirations of the American spirit, and celebrates Americans of Asian Pacific Islander descent who sought to excel beyond challenges and adversity." Story

Commander Receives Double Honors For Contributions

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said he is grateful for the numerous opportunities the Navy has given him and he's "proud of the opportunities the Navy continues to give sailors from all cultures," after he received two separate awards his lifetime contributions to national security. Story

Asian American, Pacific Islander Month Celebrates Diversity

This year's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month observance is a celebration of the ability to excel despite limited opportunities. Story

Air Force Base Celebrates Asian-American Heritage

Thumbnail: Photo of the Asian-American Heritage Month poster.

As the Defense Department celebrates and honors the contribution and sacrifices during Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Barksdale Air Force Base plans to commemorate the month with events to include a culture show and luau. Story

Asian-American Officers Share Stories in Ad Campaign

Thumbnail: First Lt. Oliver David, public affairs officer, 2nd Marine Division, and a native of Long Beach, Calif., is one of two Marine officers whose unique story will be shared when Marine Corps Recruiting Command releases its newest advertising campaign, 'A Warriors' Education,' May 8.

In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Marine Corps Recruiting Command has developed a new advertising campaign, 'A Warriors' Education,' which features the story of two active-duty Asian-American Marine officers currently with the 2nd Marine Division. The campaign is in keeping with the commandant's goal of building a diverse Marine Corps. Story

Social Media Followers to Get 'A Warriors Education'

Thumbnail: Marine Corps Recruiting Command released its latest advertising campaign, 'A Warriors' Education,' today on the command's official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The campaign was created to align with Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and will run from May 8 to June 7. (Photo by Photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Randy Kirby)

Marine Corps Recruiting Command's first dedicated campaign geared towards the Asian-American community, 'A Warriors' Education,' is part of the recruiting command's continued efforts to improve diversity representation in the Marine Corps. The new social media advertising campaign commemorates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month by highlighting the stories of two active-duty Asian-American Marine officers. Story

Chinese Institute of Engineers Honors Navy Admiral

Thumbnail: Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen

The Chinese Institute of Engineers has named Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen, commander of Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistical Support, as the 2013 Asian-American Executive of the Year. "I am truly grateful to be a part of an American culture that prizes excellence in leadership, diversity and inclusiveness …," Yuen said. Story

Engineer Earns Top Honor for Pioneering Contributions

Thumbnail: Thomas C. Fu

An engineer from the Naval Surface Warfare, Center Carderock Division has been named the 2013 Asian American Engineer of the Year. Thomas C. Fu was honored for his pioneering contributions in the field of submarine and surface ship dynamics, non-acoustic hydrodynamic signatures and wakes. wave-breaking and wave impact and slamming. Story

Admiral Earns Honors for Work in Navy Medicine

Thumbnail: Rear Adm. Colin G. Chinn

The Director of the U.S. Navy's Medical Corps received the Chinese Hospital Medical Staff 39th Annual Award during a ceremony in San Francisco. Rear Adm. Colin G. Chinn, director, Medical Resources Plans and Policy division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the 10th chief of the Navy's Medical Corps, was selected for the honor by Chinese Hospital Medical staff for his body of work in navy medicine. Story

Vietnamese DLA Aviation Employee Reflects on Heritage

Manh Nguyen was 9 years old when he fled Vietnam with his family. He is now a demand planner for naval and Marine aviation with DLA Aviation

In 1975, while under enemy fire on an ammunition barge fortified on two sides with layers of sandbags piled 10 feet high, 9-year-old Manh Nguyen fled Vietnam. Nguyen, a former U.S. service member who is now a Defense Logistics Agency Aviation employee, was one of thousands of Vietnamese evacuated during Operation Frequent Wind. Story

'Inclusion' Helps Asians, Islanders Land High-Level Jobs

Thumbnail: Roger M. Natsuhara is the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment and deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for installations and facilities. U.S. Navy photo

As a senior Navy official, Roger Natsuhara says part of his role is to support Asian-Americans and Pacific islanders who want to enter senior government service. President Barack Obama proclaimed May as Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This year's theme is "Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion." Story

A Story of Rescue and Reunion

Thumbnail: Capt. (Retired) Dan A. Pedersen and his wife Beth reunite with Army Maj. Lan T. Dalat and his mother Cam Quy Ton (2nd left) at Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, Calif., 21 April, 2012.

Vice Adm. (Retired) Adam M. Robinson, Jr. addressed a crowd of nearly 2,000 people inside Crystal Cathedral at the beginning of a ceremony that highlighted the achievements of the "Lucky Few" during Operation Frequent Wind. Story

Son of Immigrants Serves in U.S. Army

Thumbnail: Deployed to southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Darius Chen currently serves as a medical officer with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. A son of Asian-American immigrants, Chen is one of a handful of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders the military will celebrate in May for their contributions to the United States.

Deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Darius Chen currently serves as a medical officer with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. Chen is a first-generation Asian-American whose parents and grandparents uprooted their homes in China to move to Taiwan during the Communists' takeover, and then again to America in search of a better life. Story

Asian-Pacific Women Served in World War II

Thumbnail: Chinese American Hazel Ying Lee was among 38 members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, killed in the line of duty during World War II. Photo Courtesy National Archives

Asian Pacific American Women first entered military service when the Women's Army Corps, or WAC, recruited 50 Japanese American and Chinese American women to be trained as translators at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, Minn. Story


Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shiela Cregger

Profile photo: Senior Master Sgt. Shiela Cregger

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shiela R. Cregger is the superintendent of the 352nd Maintenance Operations Flight, 352d Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, 352d Special Operations Group, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom. Profile

Marine Corps Sgt. Meghan Lambaria

Profile photo: Sgt. Meghan Lambaria

Sgt. Meghan Lambaria, whose personal awards include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, five Certificates of Commendation, eight Letters of Appreciation and three Meritorious Masts, served as a family readiness officer following a tour in Afghanistan. Profile

Coast Guard Lt. Hermie Mendoza

Profile photo: Lt. Hermie Mendoza

Lt. Hermie Mendoza is from Glen Burnie, Md. She graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Profile

Navy Lt. Anthony Sham

Profile photo: Lt. Anthony P. Sham

A first-generation Chinese-American, Lt. Anthony P. Sham was born and raised in Dallas, where his family settled after emigrating from Hong Kong, in hopes of seeking higher education and a better way of life. Profile

Ms. Juliet Beyler

Profile photo: Ms. Juliet Beyler

Ms. Juliet Beyler serves as the Director of Officer & Enlisted Personnel Management, a component of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy. Profile

Facts & Resources

Name: Capt. Huy H. Tran

Capt. Huy H. Tran

Capt. Huy H. Tran is an RQ-4 Global Hawk Pilot assigned to the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron as the Bravo Flight Commander at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. He is 30 years old. Capt. Tran was born in Ben Tre, Vietnam on 13 December 1982. In 1994, his family departed Vietnam and settled in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which he now calls home. Capt. Tran graduated from Rock Hill High School, Class of 2001. After graduation, Capt. Tran attended the Clemson University Reserve Officer Training Corp. In 2005 he graduated Magna Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering and entered the Air Force. Later, Capt. Tran attended pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas and earned his pilot wings eventually flying the KC-135R/T tanker aircraft. After six deployments in the KC-135, he was assigned to Beale Air Force Base for RQ-4 Global Hawk training with a follow on assignment to Grand Forks AFB. Capt. Tran is married to the former Kimberly L. Smith and has a 2 year old son.

Name: Lt. Hermie Mendoza

Lt. Hermie Mendoza

Lt. Hermie Mendoza is from Glen Burnie, Maryland. She graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. While at the Coast Guard Academy, she was on the varsity crew team and the boxing team. She earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2011 and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Information Technology from the University of Maryland. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, Lt. Mendoza was assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) DALLAS (WHEC-716), homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. She was assigned the duties of the Damage Control Assistant and later the Assistant Engineer Officer. During her tour, she led the on-load of over 76,000 pounds of humanitarian aid and supplies for Georgia in support of Operation Assured Delivery during the 2008 South Ossetia War. She also managed the highly visible $15 million dry dock repair availability as one of the Contracting Officer's Technical Representatives and interim Engineer Officer for the aging cutter. Her second assignment was at Virginia Tech to pursue a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering. Currently, she works at the Coast Guard Navigation Center (CG NAVCEN) as a system analyst, analyzing anomalies and monitoring system performance of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) including the Global Positioning System (GPS). While at the NAVCEN, she was temporarily assigned as the Engineer Officer onboard USCGC NORTHLAND (WMEC-904) during Operation Martillo, interdicting over 1600 kilograms of cocaine. Her personal decorations include the Coast Guard Achievement Medal and the Commandant's Letter of Commendation with Operational Distinguishing Devices. In her free time, Lt. Mendoza races with the Honey Badgers, the Coast Guard Headquarters' dragonboat racing team, and enjoys travelling.

Lt. Mendoza volunteers at the Capital Area Food Bank and tutors local school children in the Alexandria, Virginia area in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects with the Coast Guard's Partnership in Education (CG PIE). She is also the current Washington, D.C. regional chair of the Doolittle Institute's Mini-Urban Challenge. The Mini-Urban Challenge is a national competition sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that challenges high school students to design and operate a robotic car to autonomously navigate a LEGO city. Lt. Mendoza was recently handpicked to serve as a military mentor for the United States Senate Youth Program, a prestigious high school program sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Her participation in the joint service mentor team promoted cultural awareness and future career opportunities for students pursuing public service.

Name: Lt. Anthony P. Sham

Lt. Anthony P. Sham

A first-generation Chinese-American, Lt. Anthony P. Sham was born and raised in Dallas, TX, where his family settled after emigrating from Hong Kong, in hopes of seeking higher education and a better way of life. Lt. Sham graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2005. After college, Lt. Sham attended the Baylor University School of Law, where he served in the Order of the Barristers and advanced to the semi-finals of the prestigious intra-school Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson trial advocacy competition. In August 2008, he earned his Juris Doctor and became a member of the Texas bar. In March of 2009, Lt. Sham received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. In May of 2009, he completed Officer Development School at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island and reported to Naval Justice School where he received the New York City Bar Association Trial Advocacy Award upon graduating in July of 2009.

In August 2009, Lt. Sham reported to Naval Legal Service Office North Central, Branch Office Memphis, TN, where he served as branch head for legal assistance and military justice. In March 2012, Lt. Sham deployed to Logar Province, Afghanistan, where he served as the Rule of Law Officer for both 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. In November 2012, Lt. Sham transferred to the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Administrative Law (Code 13), where he currently works in the Personnel Law division.

During his time in Afghanistan, Lt. Sham promoted the tenets of the Afghan Constitution and the importance of legitimate government that supports international human rights. Towards these efforts, Lt. Sham spearheaded the development of the Afghan criminal justice system through partnership with Afghan prosecutors, judges, and security forces and developed a training curriculum to educate police forces on Afghan substantive law, legal search and seizure procedures, and police tactics. In efforts to educate the predominantly illiterate populace, Lt. Sham broadcast a weekly radio show across two provinces discussing diverse legal issues including elections and conflict resolution. Lt. Sham also developed the concept and contract for an educational radio drama series, following the life of a fictitious Afghan family through various ordeals, each resolved through facets of a formalized and legitimate Afghan government. Throughout his career as a naval officer, Lt. Sham has consistently sought opportunities to serve as a role model for Asian-Pacific American youth. While serving in Memphis, TN, Lt. Sham volunteered to serve as a mentor for Asian-Pacific American teenagers. Lt. Sham encouraged their participation in community service and outreach events that he organized, helping to instill these teenagers with a strong sense of community service.

Name: Ms. Juliet Beyler

Ms. Juliet Beyler

Ms. Juliet Beyler serves as the Director of Officer & Enlisted Personnel Management, a component of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy. She develops and oversees Department of Defense lifecycle policies and programs relating to overall management of the officer and enlisted force. She also serves as the focal point and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness for all general and flag officer matters.

Prior to assuming this position, Ms. Beyler served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the office of U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia from 2008 to 2011 where she was responsible for liaison to the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Veterans Affairs, and for oversight of defense, veterans affairs, homeland security, intelligence, and appropriations issues.

A native of Chicago, Ms. Beyler enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1984 and served as an enlisted Korean Cryptologic Linguist and Intelligence Analyst for ten years prior to receiving her commission as a Combat Engineer Officer through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. Over the course of her 23-year Marine Corps career; she completed numerous deployments around the world, commanding three times and served two combat tours in Iraq as both a Commanding Officer and Engineer Battalion Operations Officer.

Ms. Beyler graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Economics and completed a graduate certificate program in non-profit executive management with Georgetown University. She is married to U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Thomas A. Seagrist and they live with their two australian shepherds.

Name: Ms. Juliet Beyler

Marine Corps Sgt. Meghan Lambaria

Meghan Lambaria enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in November 2003 and graduated from recruit training, MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina in September 2004. After completion of Marine Combat Training and her MOS School at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms California she was assigned to Third Marine Division, Headquarters Service Battalion, Okinawa, Japan in April 2005.

While serving at this command she was promoted to Corporal and was the Primary Marksmanship Instructor for the battalion. In April 2006, Lambaria was ordered to Special Operations Training Group, Okinawa, Japan where she served as a Coaxin and Scout Swim Instructor supporting the Unit Deployment Program and 3rd Recon Battalion. During this time she participated in many different training evolutions to include; Cobra Gold, Guam FX, Jungle Warfare Training and the Philippians' extract exercises.

Upon her return to the United States in February 2007, Lambaria was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. During her tour she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in June 2007, and participated in Weapons Training Instruction, Desert Talon, and Blue Force Tracker Course in preparation for deployment. In 2008 she deployed to Al Taqaddum Airbase, in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM as a Local Security Attachment to 1st Battalion 8th Marines. In April 2008, Sergeant Lambaria re-enlisted with incentive for Recruiting Duty.

After Graduating Recruiters School in August 2009, Lambaria was assigned to Recruiting Station Orange, where she served as a canvassing recruiter for Recruiting Sub Station Santa Ana, California.

In July 2011, Lambaria executed orders to Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38 in San Diego California. In January 2012 Lambaria deployed to Afghanistan in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM 12.1, where she served as the senior System Control (SYSCON) Chief, supporting various units of 10,000 users within the AO with redundant, reliable communications.

Upon her return to California, Lambaria was hand-picked to serve in the capacity as the Family Readiness Officer for the unit. During this billet assignment Lambaria coordinated a multitude of family events, supervised fundraising and donations to the unit from the local community and visa-versa. Once a civilian Family Readiness Officer was hired, Lambaria was transferred to the Squadrons S-4, where she is now serving as the Logistics/Embarkation Non-Commissioned Officer in charge supporting all operations and facilitating coordination with outside agencies.

Her personal awards include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, five Certificate of Commendation, eight Letters of Appreciation, three Meritorious Masts, and 8 Certificates of Appreciation.

Name: Senior Master Sgt. Shiela Cregger

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shiela Cregger

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shiela R. Cregger is the superintendent of the 352nd Maintenance Operations Flight, 352d Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, 352d Special Operations Group, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom. She manages the data collection process, review data and verify analysis for maintenance data collection requirements. She also develops and publishes the wing flying and maintenance schedule in coordination with other squadrons and submits to both the OG and MXG/CC for approval. Furthermore, she determines long-range fleet health maintenance priorities. Sergeant Cregger grew up in Olongapo City, Philippines and enlisted in the Air Force July 1995.


1996 Aerospace Ground Equipment Technical School, 361st Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas

2002 Unit Education Training Manager Technical School, 363rd Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas

2006 Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan

2010 Associate Degree in Applied Science, Education Administration & Management, Community College of the Air Force

2013 Senior Noncommissioned Officer (SNCO) Academy, Maxwell AFB, Alabama


1. Aug 96- Aug 98, Aerospace Ground Equipment Apprentice, 100th Maintenance Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom

2. Aug 98- Oct 02, Aerospace Ground Equipment Journeyman, 388th Maintenance Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah

3. Oct 02 -Oct 03, Unit Training Manager, 388th Maintenance Operations Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah

4. Oct 03- Oct 09, NCOIC, Unit Training Manager, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan

6. Oct 09- Aug 12, Superintendent, Maintenance Training Flight, Kirtland AFB, NM

7. Aug 12-Present, Superintendent, Maintenance Operations Flight, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom


Meritorious Service Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Achievement Medal

AF Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters

Air Force Good Conduct Medal with four oak leaf clusters

National Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal


2001 ACC Logistic Training Flight of the Year

2005 PACAF Maintenance Training Manager of the Year

2006 PACAF Cat 111-B Training Manager of the Year

2010 AETC Inspection Outstanding Team Award

2010 AETC Cl Outstanding Performer

2012 AFSOC Force Support SNCO of the Year

2014 Air Force Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Military Meritorious Service Award


Senior Master Sergeant- 01 Dec 2013

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