Asians and Pacific Islanders have a proud tradition in the U.S. Navy, and in the armed forces as a whole. Their influence has been felt far and wide in the Navy and have ultimately provided a strong effort in a global force for good.
Asians and Pacific Islanders are in a variety of different rates and rankings in the Navy, and have a particularly strong showing in various command roles. Rear Adm. Ming Erh Chang is one such individual. He started his career as a member of the Naval Reserve in 1955, and proceeded to earn a commission in 1956. He eventually worked his way to the rank of captain in 1977, and then was named rear admiral in 1982. He retired in 1990.
Another prime individual to consider from the tradition of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Navy is Rear Adm. Connie Mariano, who served as rear admiral during her appointment to the position of physician to the president of the United States.
Mariano was born in 1955 at former Naval Station Sangley Point, roughly eight miles southwest of Manila, Philippines, as a daughter of a steward in the Navy who retired at the rank of Master Chief. Her family moved to the United States two years later. After graduating from high school as valedictorian in 1973, she attended Revelle College at University of California, San Diego, where she matriculated with cum laude honors.
"I came to the White House by way of the kitchen" Mariano said to an audience in 2001. "I came from a family of Navy stewards."
Mariano then joined the Navy in 1977 where she attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on the campus of the former National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and received a medical degree in 1981. After her internship, Mariano was assigned to the USS Prairie (AD 15) and served as physician to her complement of over five-hundred Sailors.
Following other appointments including as Head of Internal Medicine at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, she was nominated to the post of White House Physician in 1992. She served in that office for nearly a decade, longer than any other presidential physician and treated three sitting presidents. She was nominated for appointment to rear admiral (Lower Half) in May 2000.
One of the major strengths of the U.S. Navy is its penchant to utilize diversity. By allowing for and ultimately embracing the various types of people available to its service, the Navy establishes and continues a proud tradition, and Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans certainly do that tradition justice.