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, 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

May 25, 2015 Time magazine published an interview with U.S. Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., just a couple of days before he began officially serving as head of the U.S. Pacific Command (the oldest and largest of the unified combatant commands of the U.S. Armed Forces). Harris is the first Asian-American to achieve the... Continue Reading →

May 23, 1960 In central California, the San Mateo-based newspaper The Times reported on a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter rescue the previous night at a beach in the region. “‘Copter Saves Injured Pair From Beach,” read the article’s headline. The trouble began while a young couple was picnicking and sunbathing along the edge of... Continue Reading →

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