Categorized | Military, News

Asians, Pacific Islanders showcase culture in Iraq

Spc. Puakeiluae Westbrooks, an administration specialist with Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID, performs the a kahiko dance that tells about the beauty of the island of Oahu, during the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (Photo by Sgt. Joseph Vine)

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Spc. Charlene Apatang Mendiola

BAGHDAD — The United States Forces – Iraq equal opportunity office hosted a capstone showcase for deployed service members May 21 to celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Al Faw Palace.

The U.S. celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans each May. This year’s theme was diversity, leadership, empowerment and beyond.

More than 80 volunteers including service members, contractors and Department of Defense civilians participated in the 90-minute performance.

The wide array of cultural dances, chants, flags, costumes and food tastings were shared as a form of education and awareness for all who attended the showcase.

The Asian Pacific American Heritage month designation encompasses more than 50 ethnic groups representing a vast array of languages and cultures.

These groups include Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Laotian, Cambodian, Hmong, Thai, Pakistani, Samoan, Guamanian and other smaller groups within the Asia-Pacific region.

Petty Officer 2nd Class David SanLuis, an aviation maintenance administration with USF-I resource management office (left), Spc. Charlene Mendiola, a print journalist with USF-I public affairs, and Master Sgt. Jeffrey Joven, non-commissioned officer in charge with Advise and Assist Brigade, perform a cultural dance from Guam that showcases the warmth and hospitality of its people and culture. (Photo by Sgt. Joseph Vine)

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