Laughlin Honors Contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nicholas Larsen
  • 47th Flying Training Wing public affairs

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of May and pays homage to the contributions, influence, history, culture, and achievements.

According to the Air Force Personnel Center, only five percent of the flying force fall within the category of Asian American or Pacific Islander.

“For me, it’s about representation and breaking barriers of subconscious bias. We have to be examples for others to follow,” said Capt. James-Darrell Racca, 85th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot. (Racca’s parents emigrated from the Philippines, he and his family practice speaking Japanese in their spare time.)

Air Force diversity encompasses all aspects of an individual to including race, religion, ethnicity, gender, experience, and perspectives.

“I’m proud of all of the diverse American servicemen and women who came before us, and it means a lot to have a month set aside to honor their sacrifices while building upon the foundation they set forth for us,” said Capt. Tommy Takao, 85th FTS assistant flight commander. (Takao’s father and three uncles served in the US Army after their parents were detained in American internment camps during World War II.)

Recruiting and retaining diverse Airmen cultivates innovation by hosting different outreach programs.

“Being one of the few AAPI Instructor Pilots at a UPT base provides a different perspective that many might not consider,” said 1st Lt. Jisung Yi, 85th FTS instructor pilot. “In addition to training new pilots, I’m a part of the XL Roadshow Team that focuses on outreach and recruitment for young adults.”( Yi was born and raised in Seoul, Republic of Korea until the age of nine when his family moved to Irvine, Calif.)

Diversity and inclusion is about bringing everyone together, while using individual differences to create competitive advantages.