MacDill celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Perdue
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Throughout the nation, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is recognized during the month of May to pay tribute to the contributions of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to America’s history.

As commemoration, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, held an Asian American Pacific Islander celebration themed “Unite our vision by working together,” May 17, 2018.

May is significant because it marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants’ to the U.S. in 1843, as well as the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, in which Chinese immigrants played an instrumental role in building.

The celebration included a performance by a local martial arts academy and food sampling and a presentation by guest speaker, Col. Troy Pananon, the vice commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Pananon recounted his parent’s emmigration from Thailand and the opportunities they took full advantage of despite the obstacles they faced.

“It’s all about hard work and opportunity,” shared Pananon. “They were given a chance to move to America to build something great and they did.”

For one Airman in particular, Pananon’s story struck a chord.


“It really hit home for me,” said Airman 1st Class Airman Hyo Kim, a sharepoint administrator assigned to the 6th Communications Squadron of Asian descent. “It reminded me of my parents and how they immigrated to the states from Korea to build a better life for my sister and me.”

The mission can't be done without all of us working together and it makes me feel proud that I am a part of something bigger than myself,” said Kim.