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.

May 27, 2015

Harry B. Harris Jr.

the first Japanese American to lead the U.S. Pacific Command in the Navy and was the highest-ranking Japanese American in the U.S. Navy. 

Pete Gumataotao

Guam native and retired rear admirral


Eleanor Mariano

the first Filipino American to become a Navy Admiral

Young-Oak Kim

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


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)

Josephina Guerrero

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

September 21, 1944

Florence Finch

the first woman awarded with the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon

José B. Nísperos

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



Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in the United States Army

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