13th SC(E) celebrates Asian Pacific month

Story and Photos by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — Chooohooo!

The small Samoan woman’s yell rang out through the auditorium like a battle cry and grabbed the attention of the Soldiers in the audience before she began her speech.

15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers celebrated Asian-Pacific Heritage month with demonstrations of Asian-Pacific martial arts and dances at Howze Theater here, May 29.

May was the 17th annual Asian-Pacific Heritage month since the observance was expanded from the week long observance which started in 1978.

Spc. Charlene Kujda, 49th Transportation Battalion, and Spc. James Meadows, 297th Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, gave a presentation on South Korea.

Sgt. Iputaua Faleafine and Spc. Natasha Irving, 289th Quartermaster Company, 15th STB, performed the slow Samoan dance “Ua Mamalus, It is Blessed,” with purple dresses and flowery face paint.

Sgt. 1st Class Mary Patterson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th STB, Spc. Nora Cardenus and Pfc. Trinidad Hutton, 15th Financial Management Company, 15th STB sang “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” meaning “My Beloved Philippines.”

Spc. Cryil Mosqueda, A Company, 15th STB, sang and played the Filipino song “I Am Yours and You Are Mine” on the guitar.  

Children from the Clements American Taekwondo Association Black Belt Academy did a demonstration of punches, kicks, and weapons of the Korean martial art Taekwondo.

Children of the Cultura Filipiniana Dance Troupe of Texas performed dances including one using long bamboo poles in a manner somewhat similar to jumping rope.

In addition to dancing, Faleafine was also the event’s guest speaker.

Faleafine, a Pago Pago, American Samoa native, explained a little about herself, her time in the Army, and her culture.

Faleafine said she joined the Army after her father died to better provide for her mother.

“In my culture it is customary for the children to ensure that their family is taken care of,” she said.

Faleafine talked about her fear of not being able to be understood because of her accent when she first joined the Army and what a shock it was to see so many people from different cultures and ethnicities.

“I appreciate the Army for showing me the world and giving me the life experiences that I wanted and needed,” she said.

“We are the most diversified people in the world,” Col. Knowles Atchison, 13th SC(E) deputy commander said of the United States and the Army in his closing remarks.

Atchison said that the day wasn’t about Asians or Pacific Islanders.

“This is about America.”

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A student of Clements American Taekwondo Association Black Belt Academy performs a spinning aerial technique during a demonstration of the Korean martial art Taekwondo at an Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration at Howze Theater here, May 29. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

 

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Members of Cultura Filipiniana Dance Troupe of Texas perform a traditional Filipino dance at the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustaiment Command (Expeditionary), May 29 Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration at Howze Theater here. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

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Spc. Cryil Mosqueda, A Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustaiment Command (Expeditionary) plays and sings the Filipino song "I am Yours and You are Mine," at an Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration at Howze Theater here, May 29. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

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Sgt. Iputaua Faleafine, personnel clerk 289th Quartermaster Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) performs the Samoan dance "Ua Mamalus, It is Blessed," at an Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration at Howze Theater here, May 29. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)