NASA astronaut Daniel M. Tani was born in 1961 in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Less than two decades earlier, his parents Rose and Henry N. Tani and their oldest son had been forced to relocate from their California farm to internment camps for Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans during World War II. As one minister noted during... Continue Reading →

In 2014, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain Joseph M. Vojvodich became the USCG’s first Asian-American flag officer when he was promoted to rear admiral. (A flag officer is a commissioned officer who is senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which he or she exercises command.) Vojvodich (pronounced... Continue Reading →

Aviation pioneer Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1913 to a mother with a Peruvian background and a Chinese father of Taishanese origin. Arthur Chin developed a strong interest in human flight at an early age. When he was 18, he took lessons at the Al Greenwood flying school in Portland. In 1933,... Continue Reading →

When she was sworn in as the 18th U.S. secretary of transportation in January 2017, Elaine L. Chao became the first Asian-American woman and the first Chinese-American to hold that position. (During her tenure as U.S. secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009, she was the first-ever person in both of those categories to be... Continue Reading →

Melvin Kealoha Bell of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) played a major lifesaving role when it came to maritime traffic during one of the darkest chapters in American history. Bell was born in 1920 in the town of Hilo on the island of Hawaii (popularly known as the “Big Island”), part of what was then... Continue Reading →

Kalpana Chawla, an American astronaut who became the first woman of Indian descent to travel into space, was born in the city of Karnal in northern India in 1962. As a child, she demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for human flight by drawing pictures of airplanes. She also visited flying clubs in that region of India... Continue Reading →

In the western section of the United States, thousands of Chinese laborers played a pivotal role in building the Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) line between 1865 and 1869. The CPRR encompassed 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) of track from California’s capital city of Sacramento to Promontory Summit in what was then the Territory of Utah. It... Continue Reading →

Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Asian-American female U.S. Navy officer, was born in Los Angeles in 1915. Her parents Dosan Ahn Changho and Helen Lee had been the first married Korean couple to immigrate to the United States. Dosan Ahn Changho became a prominent leader of the Korean-American community in California. He was also a... Continue Reading →

The trailblazing NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao was born in Milwaukee in 1960. The son of immigrant Taiwanese parents of Han Chinese ancestry, Chiao grew up in Danville, California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. Chiao went on to earn an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical... Continue Reading →

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