Nevada Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Bill Burks was one of 10 service members recognized with a 2016 Federal Asian Pacific American Council Military Meritorious Service Award during the 31st annual FAPAC National Leadership Training Program.
Burks received the award from the organization in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of U.S. military missions and the promotion of equal opportunity in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“General Burks was selected by the Air National Guard as a nominee for the award and was recognized by FAPAC as a military service member who has tremendously supported Department of Defense missions and overseas contingency operations with great attributes that epitomize the qualities and core value of Air National Guard,” said Lily Ho, the speakers’ bureau coordinator for FAPAC.
Burks’ FAPAC award was based on the success of the Nevada National Guard’s/Kingdom of Tonga State Partnership Program in 2015. Last year, the partnership conducted 12 exchanges. Burks also oversaw the Nevada Guard’s participation in the annual Pacific Angel humanitarian mission in Papua New Guinea in 2015 that provided medical care and infrastructure improvement to the island’s civilian population.
Burks also accepted a FAPAC award on behalf of Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, for his outstanding support and commitment to diversity and inclusion in the National Guard.
FAPAC is an educational organization that promotes awareness of the impact of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ cultures and contributions related to government employment and the promotion, establishment and maintenance of an effective and equitable percentage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the work force.
Per FAPAC bylaws, only one service member from each military branch (active and reserve) can be recognized with a Military Meritorious Service Award in any given year. In addition to Burks, the list of recipients for 2016 included: Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick M. Ganacias, Staff Sgt. Alan F. Lee, Maj. Karmin Ng, Commander Manuel (Don) A. Biadog, Jr., Lt. James J. Yoon, Capt. Yuwynn E. Ho, Lt. Raphael J. Sadowitz, Capt. Carl R. Chen and Staff Sgt. Kathleen V. Easton.
Nevada boasts the sixth-largest population of Tongans within the United States. The Nevada Guard/Kingdom of Tonga partnership was established in April 2014.
The Nevada Guard’s annual Diversity Day Celebration, including informational booths on both Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, is set for Friday at the Nevada Air Guard base in Reno. For information, call 775-887-7250.