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Posted 6/1/2017

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By John Barker
USACE Mobile

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, held a lunch-and-learn May 30 in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“This is a chance to recognize our diversity,” said Vong Mony Var, Mobile District’s Asian American and Pacific Islander program manager. “Asian Americans, like many Americans, have played a big part of American history.

“We all come from different backgrounds and that’s what makes us a melting pot,” said Var, who has been with the Corps for 15 years and been the District’s Asian American Pacific Islander program manager for about 10 years.

Mobile District archaeologist Allen Wilson was the primary presenter at the lunch event, talking about his recent experiences in Laos, conducting archeological excavations in an effort to recover military personnel lost during the Vietnam War.

Wilson volunteered to go to Laos during March and April of this year as part of the Corps’ support of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, work in Southeast Asia. DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing American military personnel to their families and the Nation.

“We couldn’t have done the work there without the joint cooperation between nations,” said Wilson, who has been with the Corps for about three years. “This lunch-and-learn event is a great opportunity to show the places we’ve been that people wouldn’t otherwise get to see and hear about.”

According to the presidential proclamation for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, issued April 29, “This month, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that enrich our Nation.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have distinguished themselves in the arts, literature and sports,” continues the proclamation. “They are leading researchers in science, medicine and technology; dedicated teachers to our Nation’s children; innovative farmers and ranchers; and distinguished lawyers and government leaders.”