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SMC celebrates excellence through diversity during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Tech. Sgt. Kristin Rosales, noncommissioned officer in charge of Medical Materiel at the 61st Medical Squadron, performs a traditional dance wearing a turquoise floral Japanese kimono.

Tech. Sgt. Kristin Rosales, noncommissioned officer in charge of Medical Materiel at the 61st Medical Squadron, performs a traditional dance wearing a turquoise floral Japanese kimono. These kimonos are usually worn for celebrating special events, and given as gifts for family and friends. This year’s theme was “Unite Our Vision by Working Together," which emphasizes how important it is to embrace diversity and promote unity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Spellman)

Malaea Fepuleai Toomalatai Coleman shows off a handmade feather and cut shell necklace.

Malaea Fepuleai Toomalatai Coleman shows off a handmade feather and cut shell necklace. This necklace is used for ceremonial dances. SMC members had the opportunity to learn more about the traditional dress worn in the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian communities. Malaea Coleman is wearing a ‘Puletasi.’ The puletasi or puletaha is a traditional item of clothing worn by Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian girls. The Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage day was the perfect opportunity to showcase this traditional clothing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tamry L. McCauley)

Mr. Cordell A. DeLaPena, director of SMC’s Program Management and Integration Directorate, congratulates Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, the first Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University president and a native Hawaiian with Samoan heritage for singing “"Lo Ta Nu”u"” - (My Dear Island Nation) during the 25th anniversary of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Los Angeles Air Force Base

Mr. Cordell A. DeLaPena, director of SMC’s Program Management and Integration Directorate, congratulates Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, the first Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University president and a native Hawaiian with Samoan heritage for singing “"Lo Ta Nu”u"” - (My Dear Island Nation) during the 25th anniversary of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Los Angeles Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Spellman)

Brig. Gen. Philip A. Garrant, SMC vice commander, Chief  Master Sgt. Scott A. Myers, SMC Command Chief, and Mr. Cordell A. DeLaPena, director of SMC’s Program Management and Integration Directorate, say “Talofa” (Hello) to Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, after his opening remarks at the 25th annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration.

Brig. Gen. Philip A. Garrant, SMC vice commander, Chief Master Sgt. Scott A. Myers, SMC Command Chief, and Mr. Cordell A. DeLaPena, director of SMC’s Program Management and Integration Directorate, say “Talofa” (Hello) to Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, after his opening remarks at the 25th annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Spellman)

Mr. Charles U. Coleman, a contract manager with the Space and Missile System Center’s Directorate of Contracting, and his son, Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, the first Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University president, a Native Hawaiian with Samoan heritage. Both father and son gave the opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Annual Asian American Islander Heritage Celebration.

Mr. Charles U. Coleman, a contract manager with the Space and Missile System Center’s Directorate of Contracting, and his son, Charles Ulualofaiga Coleman II, the first Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University president, a Native Hawaiian with Samoan heritage. Both father and son gave the opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Annual Asian American Islander Heritage Celebration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Spellman)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Space and Missile Systems Center and the Equal Opportunity Diversity committee at Los Angeles Air Force Base wrapped up the annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration May 30 in the courtyard of the Schriever Space Complex at Los Angeles Air Force Base. This year’s theme, “Unite our Vision by Working Together,” honored the contributions, service, and sacrifices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made in our nation, the armed services, and the SMC community.

SMC personnel had an opportunity to see representatives from as many as 50 ethnic groups from as far away as Asia, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands. Charles Ulualofaiga (Alo) Coleman II, currently the first Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University president, a native Hawaiian with Samoan heritage was guest speaker for the ceremony.

“While not a member of the military, I am a product of a proud military family,” said Coleman. “At my age, my father, Charles U. Coleman, served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Special Forces during the Vietnam era. I have family in every branch of the military. Our family as well as anyone currently serving, knows the sacrifice and heart it takes to make such a brave commitment.”

"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” said Cordell A. DeLaPena, director of SMC’s Program Management and Integration Directorate, and presiding official for the celebration. “It is also a time we pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have contributed and enriched the United States history dating back from World War II to the present.”

This year’s event marks SMC's 25th anniversary of the center-wide Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage celebration, which included cultural booths from Japan, American Samoa, Independent State of Samoa, Guam, Korea, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.