Asian Pacific Dancers Commemorate the Month of May

By Pfc. Sean McGuire
Public Affairs Specialist
4th Sustainment Brigade

FORT HOOD, Texas — Hours before Fort Hood Soldiers were released for Memorial Day weekend, they shared time experiencing the history of many in their formation.

May marked Asian Pacific American Heritage month, and with Abrams Physical Fitness Center as its theater, the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and numerous other units across the installation commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army May 27.

Guest speakers took the stage as those in attendance sat with leis of flowers draped around their neck. Booths with information about important Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in our nation’s history were also on hand.

One of the entertaining portions of the afternoon came in the form of various troupe dances. Cultura Filipina Arts Inc. and the Fil-American Association of Central Texas both provided dance groups celebrating various cultures.

Another came from Baila Pacifica Entertainment – a professional Polynesian Troup Group. Their numerous dances showcased islands such as Fiji and what would be done at weddings in many cases.

The group was comprised of both men and women. Before and during any of the performances, the men would yell emphatically getting the crowd energized.

“Cheehoo – it’s something we yell to get hyped. It’s just a loud expression of excitement,” said Candido Taman.

“The females that danced represented the beauty of nature. For us, the men, we embody the warrior spirit,” he said. Taman also pointed out that the dances they perform tell a story of the past.

Taman grew up in Guam, and he has been participating in dance groups since he was 14. He is also a Wrangler Brigade Soldier who serves with the 157th Quartermaster Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

Taman said he grew up around U.S. service members, and he felt inclined to come to America in 2001 and enlist as a Soldier in 2007.

“I always wanted to join,” he said.

Taman said the purpose of this heritage month event was to educate Soldiers about the diversities in the people around them every day. Taman is half Simoan and half Chamoru, and he hopes that every yell and powerful motion he performed helped do just that.

“Anyone with talent is obligated to show the world,” Taman said.

After the ceremony, those in attendance had the chance to meet the performers and speakers as well as indulge in authentic foods provided by Cultura Filipina Arts Inc.

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A female performer from Baila Pacifica Entertainment, a professional Polynesian Tour Group dances in front of hundreds of Fort Hood Soldiers during a ceremony for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)

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A male performer prepares to make a jabbing motion with a spear during a dance routine by Baila Pacifica Entertainment at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month ceremony. The 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)

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Candido Taman helps participant Spc. Mariota Tuiasosopo and another Wrangler Brigade noncommissioned officer through a dance at an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration. The 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)

 

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Figurines and other native and authentic items were on display for Soldiers to view and learn about as the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)

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Sgt. Ernesto Rodriquez of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Troops Battalion stands alongside fellow Wrangler Brigade Soldiers during the singing of the National Anthem prior to the opening remarks for a ceremony celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)

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Jason Tiliaia and a partner act out a Polynesian dance in front of Fort Hood Soldiers during an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration. The 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) other units across Fort Hood commemorated the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the U.S. Army at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center May 27. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sean McGuire)