MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Military and civilian personnel assigned to Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Business Systems Center (BSC) celebrated the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the Navy by hosting a virtual panel discussion, May 31.
“One of the things that makes the Navy successful is our diversity,” said Capt. David D. Carnal, commanding officer, NAVSUP BSC. “The knowledge and different perspectives that each person brings to the table allows us to accomplish our mission more effectively.”
During the event, Phuong Nguyen, deputy director for NAVSUP BSC Enterprise Resource Planning Services department, and Malia Miller, regional site manager for NAVSUP BSC Regional Support Site Puget Sound, shared family histories, how they honor their culture, the importance of traditions, and how their experiences growing up helped shape and guide them in their careers.
Nguyen, a first-generation Vietnamese American, shared how her mother and older brother traveled to America as refugees during the Vietnam War, settling in upstate New York.
“My mother and one-year-old brother set out on a risky journey on a crowded boat in search for opportunities and a better life,” she said. “She was determined and fought through adversity, being a single parent who spoke English as a second language, making minimum wage but still making sure my brother was taken care of all while planning to bring the rest of the family over. She is my source of inspiration and the driver for all that I do.”
Miller, who is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Irish descent, said her up-bringing around a variety of cultures helped enable her success later in life.
“Culture is not just where you come from, its where you are and embracing what is around you and being unified or lokahi,” said Miller. “I grew up in an environment where cultures are embraced through lifestyle, food, music, and tradition. What really drives me is to make sure I am giving the best of myself. Building relationships and inclusion is a big part of that.”
During the month of May, the Navy celebrates Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month and recognizes the contributions of those who have served our nation. The month of May was selected in recognition of the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the significant contributions of Chinese pioneers to the completion of North America's transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
For more information about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Navy, visit https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/diversity/asian-americans-pacific-islanders-in-the-navy.html.
NAVSUP BSC Public Affairs
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