In the first half of the 19th century when Asian/Pacific Islander Americans began immigrating to the United States, many found employment in the army. The military was able to provide comradery to A/PIA soldiers who were searching for cultural belonging through close communities. A/PIA veterans contributed significantly throughout U.S. history in wartime earning many awards and fighting to gain a foothold in the nation. The service of these A/PIA veterans must not be forgotten, as some even fought against their countries of ethnic origin. Beyond wartime, A/PIA military members have also served in leadership roles in the U.S.’s most prestigious defense administrations.

  • January 21, 2009

    Eric Shinseki

    assumed office as United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, appointed by President Obama.

  • 1972

    Young-Oak Kim

    retired as the most decorated Asian American in United States Military history.

  • 1944

    Hazel Ying Lee

    attended Pursuit School in Texas becoming one of a select group of women qualified to fly high-powered, single-engine, fighter aircrafts as a part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)

  • September 21, 1944

    Josefina Guerrero

    had her map used by the United States to successfully crush the Japanese defense in Manila Harbour.

  • February 1913

    José B. Nísperos

    became the first Filipino and Asian American to receive the Medal of Honor.