Forward deployed logistics center hosts diversity event
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Cultural diversity was on display at Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka headquarters during an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration May 15 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base.
“Each year, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes the challenges faced by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians and their vital contributions to the American story,” said Capt. Raymond Bichard, Commanding Officer, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka.
Since 1977, the month of May has been a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the American story, which represents more than 50 different countries of origin and ethnic groups, as well as speaking approximately 100 different languages and dialects.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion.’
“We are one of the only forward deployed logistics centers in the world, standing side-by-side with our fellow Navy warfighters, in support of their mission in the Asia Pacific region,” said Bichard. “From here on the banks of Tokyo Bay to the beaches of Guam and Okinawa to the harbors in Hong Kong and the Philippines…from the Korean peninsula down to the cities of Singapore and Sydney…our large operational footprint covers the diverse range of peoples that make up this unique community…we not only operate out of these locations but have a local national workforce representative of these many different cultures…what an amazing advantage for this command.”
During the observance NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel enjoyed educational readings highlighting the many AAPI accomplishments throughout history as well as taking part in a group trivia game that pitted contestant’s knowledge of AAPI contributions to American history.
“Did you know that the Asia Pacific region represents half of the earth’s surface and fifteen different time zones,” said Bichard. “It is home to four of the world’s largest economies and eight of the world’s busiest ports.”
“It is pretty clear that this region’s prosperity depends on freedom of the seas and FLC Yokosuka will continue to ensure the smooth transition of ships into and out of this vast area of responsibility, through our day-to-day support of forward-deployed naval forces,” he said.
The guest speaker for the event, Cmdr. Bruce Kong, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Industrial Support Director (Code 500), who was born in South Korea, immigrated to America when he was seven years old. Kong recanted this father’s reasoning for bringing his family to El Paso, Texas to start a new life.
“Many dream of a better life and prosperity,” said Kong. “My dad wanted to be a cowboy,” adding that his father was a huge Clint Eastwood fan.
So no matter what the reason that draws AAPI immigrants to American shores, the outcome has been extremely beneficial for the country as a whole.
“As the President of the United States put out in a proclamation several weeks ago, ‘we celebrate the important impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made on our Nation’s progress.’” added Bichard.
“I can easily say that our command has progressed and is better because of the many contributions put forth by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community members within our ranks,” said Bichard.
The U.S. Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals with the Department of Defense themes being promulgated by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
“We will continue to celebrate diversity here at FLCY [NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka] and I can’t wait to see everyone at our next observance,” said Bichard. “Thank you once again for taking part.”