The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an occasion to remember the patriotism of AAPIs who have served, or are currently serving, in the Department of Defense and our nation.
May was chosen as the observance month to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 10, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks of that nation-unifying railway were Chinese immigrants.
The Federal Asian Pacific American Council has chosen this year's theme to be "Unite Our Vision by Engaging Each Other," encouraging AAPI civic engagement and leadership.
Asian and Pacific Islanders encompass an extremely diverse group of cultures, ethnicities, races, and languages. They include all Americans who trace their ancestry back to the Asian continent and the many Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
This month, we recognize the Asian American and Pacific Islanders role in shaping our country as well as, the contributions they have made and continue to give to our country.
Today they continue to make an immeasurable impact in defending our nation and humanitarian efforts around the world.
The Office of Personnel Management defines engagement as, "an employee's sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence and effort in their work or overall attachment to their organization and its mission."
This month, NSWCDD highlights an employee, who has positively impacted Dahlgren's mission: Amara Halt.
Amara Elizabeth Halt is the Missile Portfolio senior project manager for the Missile Systems Engineering and Integration Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD).
Born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Halt and her family escaped to the United States and arrived in Richmond, Va., in 1980. She manages a portfolio of missile projects that includes Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), SM-6, NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, and the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System.
Since being competitively selected for this role in 2006, Halt has been the primary interface to the Missile Program Offices in developing execution plans, negotiating budgets, and working directly with program office personnel to resolve issues, which earned her a Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Excellence Award. She also effectively led a diverse team consisting of subject matter experts in electromagnetic environmental effects engineering, environmental and hazard testing, telemetry receiving systems engineering, lethality, vulnerability and effectiveness, cyber security and system safety engineering.
“The foundations for success must include patience, persistence and perseverance,” said Halt who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and mathematics and a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University. Halt – who also earned a Master of Engineering degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia – added that, “when you get the opportunity to do great things for yourself and others, do it well and be the best.”