An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | May 17, 2024

District of Columbia Guard Pilot Proud of Filipino Roots

By Master Sgt. Arthur Wright, District of Columbia National Guard

WASHINGTON - As a District of Columbia Army National Guard operations officer and UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Alora is a role model for young adults who embrace goals, contingency plans and options.

“I joined the U.S. Army originally serving active duty in 2010,” Alora said. “I was an aircraft electrician who was drawn to aviation, public service and a college education — and why not do all three simultaneously.”

He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for six years before relocating back home to California and eventually transferring to the D.C. National Guard. Reflecting on his dynamic military career, he is reminded of his own family’s response to significant challenges.

“I’m a first-generation Filipino American. My mother and grandmother moved here to the United States in the 1980s, and we had to learn how to adapt and contribute,” he said. “I’m proud to show people that someone like me can climb the ranks as a U.S. Army aviator making a positive difference.”

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders across various nationalities and ancestry — Filipino, Southeast Asian, Asian Indian, Polynesian, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese — have a rich legacy of honorable service in the United States dating to the War of 1812. 

“I think too many Americans either forget or don’t know the number of key leaders in the AAPI community who have made profound impacts in defense and overall society,” he said.

During World War II, his paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, part of a highly trained military unit focused on Japanese suppression and defense in the Pacific. In 1942, three months after the start of the Battle of Bataan, his grandfather was a prisoner of war in the Bataan Death March, a grim reality of war where POWs were sometimes tortured and killed.

“My grandfather’s courage inspired me to serve my country,” he said. “Knowing he’s part of American history makes me very proud. And I think there’s much more space and precedence for AAPI representation in the military. Yes, we’ve faced challenges like every other minority has faced, but that shouldn’t deter us.”

Relevance and diversity are more than words and commemorative themes for Alora. In addition to an active presence in the National Capital Region, DCARNG Aviation comprises four units with AAPIs visibly represented in all sections, from pilots and maintainers to administration and operations.

“I’ve drilled with several different National Guard states, but I think the D.C. National Guard ranks high in diversity. Not only in terms of race, but all the protected backgrounds to include religion and sexual orientation,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rooks, state Army Aviation officer, D.C. National Guard. “I’m always proud to tell people that I’m a Capital Guardian because of the diversity that we have and what that represents. Diversity is a strength because it brings a significant number of perspectives, and all those factors will only strengthen an organization. How we all contribute to fight our nation’s wars.”
 

 

 

Related Articles
Spc. Carter Cooper of the Virginia National Guard and Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson of the Maryland National Guard were named the National Guard Bureau’s Region Il Best Warriors for 2024 in the Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer categories at Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, May 10, 2024.
Maryland, Virginia Guardsmen Are Regional Best Warriors
By Maj. Erica Mitchell, | May 13, 2024
EDGEWOOD, Md. – After four days of competition, Spc. Carter Cooper and Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson were named the National Guard Bureau’s Region II Best Warriors for 2024 in the Soldier of the Year and...

U.S. Army Capt. Michael Humphrise and U.S. Army Maj. Bill Seskey receive an island tour of Jamaica by plane Feb. 21, 2024. Members of the District of Columbia Army National Guard joined forces with elite U.S. and Canadian Special Operations Forces for a subject matter expert exchange.
US, Canadian Special Forces Forge Partnerships in Jamaica
By Maj. Matthew Dewaegeneer, | April 8, 2024
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The District of Columbia Army National Guard joined forces with elite U.S. and Canadian Special Operations Forces for a subject matter expert exchange in Jamaica.The collaboration with SOF counterparts...

A New York Army National Guard Honor Guard team carries the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 John M. Grassia III from a New York Air National Guard LC-130 to a hearse past a line of dignitaries, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, during plane-side honors at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Latham, New York, March 18, 2024. Grassia and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Casey Frankoski were killed in a March 8 helicopter crash in Texas.
New York National Guard Brings Fallen Warrant Officers Home
By Eric Durr, | March 19, 2024
LATHAM, N.Y. - The New York National Guard brought home the remains of two helicopter pilots killed March 8 in a helicopter crash in Texas.The caskets containing the bodies of Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officers 2...