In 2001, Mark L. Polansky became the first Korean-American to travel into outer space. He had been born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1956. His mother Edith is of Korean descent, and his late father Irving was Jewish. When he was only 13, Mark Polansky began to develop a strong interest in spaceflight while watching... Continue Reading →

In 2008, Christine Igisomar became the first Chamorro woman to graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. (The Chamorros are indigenous Pacific Islanders from the Mariana Archipelago.) Igisomar followed in the footsteps of Juan T. Salas, who was the first Chamorro man to graduate from that military service academy; he graduated from there in 1968,... Continue Reading →

On Wong, who is better known today by his nickname Ah Louis (pronounced Ah-Lou-ee), was born in China in 1840. Sometime between 1856 and 1861, Ah Louis left China for California to seek his fortune. His efforts to mine for gold were unsuccessful, so he instead started working for several years as a laborer at... Continue Reading →

In 2008, 25-year-old Arizona native Jessica Cox became the world’s first licensed armless pilot. Cox, a Filipino-American, was born without arms due to a rare birth defect. This disability, however, has not prevented her from leading an active life filled with noteworthy accomplishments. Cox, who graduated from the University of Arizona in 2005 with a... Continue Reading →

In 1962, Kwang-Ping Hsu became the first foreign-born graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). He had started out life in 1936 in the province of Shandong (also known as Shantung) in eastern China. His father was a professor of pathology at Beijing University. Kwang-Ping Hsu grew up during the brutal Japanese occupation of... Continue Reading →

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 →

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑