Commentary

November 9, 2012

Native American a tradition of warriors

Army Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa

Throughout history Native Americans have fought for their country with honor and courage, starting with the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan they have served in all the nation’s wars and have demonstrated time and time again their commitment and their dedication to the nation.

November is Native American Indian Heritage Observance Month. It’s a time to celebrate the time-honored traditions, diverse cultures, and historic contributions native people have made within our Armed Forces and the role they play in enriching the charter of the nation.

This month is a good time to educate and raise awareness about the unique opportunities Native Americans have taken in American military history. In fact, between 1917 and 1918 more than 12,000 Native Americans enlisted into the armed services to serve in World War I, which was the greatest number of enlisted people from any one ethnic culture. They served despite the fact they were not granted citizenship until 1924.

The Native American has stood ready when their nation called. During World War II, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, there were 5,000 American Indians in military service. One month later in January 1942, 99 percent of eligible male American Indians had registered for the draft and were ready to go to war for the United States of America, and 90 percent of the American Indians who fought in the Vietnam War were volunteers.

“American Indian culture is a tradition of warriors, and Native American Indians still today have the highest record of military service per capita than any other ethnic group in the United States,” said Gabriel McKenna-Groves, 56th Contracting Squadron Infrastructure Flight chief and this year’s Luke Air Force Base NAIH committee chair.

In her family they have a tradition of service. Her father, who was Eastern Band Cherokee and Seneca, served in Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Armored Division in WWII and retired after 27 years of service with the Army.

“I, myself, am former Army, and I’ve been a Defense Department civilian for almost 34 years,” she said.

This year the NAIHM theme, “Serving Our People, Serving Our Nations: Native Visions for Future Generations,” was chosen by the Society of American Indian Government Employees.

An example of their service and sacrifice can be found in Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, a member of the Hopi tribe and the 507th Maintenance Company, a support unit of maintenance and repair personnel, who was killed during the Iraqi War. She was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving with the U.S. military and the first woman in the U.S. armed forces killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

While traveling in a desert convoy, her company got lost March 23, 2003, and ran into an ambush in Nasiriyah. She successfully evaded enemy fire until a rocket-propelled grenade hit the front-left wheel well of the Humvee she was driving. She survived the initial accident with injuries to her head, while three other Soldiers died. She was taken prisoner along with others but died soon after of her wounds.

Piestewa, a 23-year-old single mother of two from Tuba City, Ariz., carried on the long family history of serving in the military as the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the granddaughter of a WWI veteran had done before her.

“Native American Indians have proudly served in the Air Force since its inception, and many have given their lives in service to our great country while proudly wearing Air Force blue,” McKenna-Groves said.

Luke AFB will observe NAIHM through November with several events including a 5k fun run Nov. 16, an arts and crafts project at the base youth center and an artifacts display at the Luke Library. For more information on the 5K run or arts and crafts project, call Felicity Shorty at (623) 856-2431.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

‘The butterfly effect’

Shortly after taking command, the Wild Duck Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge requested I explain to his Airmen exactly what the pilots would be doing on training missions during an upcoming temporary duty. I was embarrassed that he had to ask. In this specific case, I had thoughtlessly kept these details from our closest...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them directly. One scenario I am presented...
 
 

Dollars and Sense

Americans owe $1,200,000,000,000 in college debt (yes, that’s a trillion). According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, students hold an average of $29,400 in debt at graduation. That monthly debt repayment plan starts upon graduation and can easily top $1,000 a month. There are federal loan forgiveness programs (www.consumerfinance.gov) but the process can be complex...
 

 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

It was the Buddha who said, “A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure.” The Jewish proverb says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” These...
 
 
20130803-190716

Fly Over: ‘Angry Crab’ and Macronutrients: A way of eating healthy

‘Angry Crab’ Every now and then I get a craving for real seafood. I’m not talking about the type of seafood served filleted, breaded and drenched in fancy French nouveau-style sauce. I’m talking about unadultera...
 
 

Innovative followership, leadership

Innovate, innovate, innovate. We hear this all the time in today’s leaner military. It’s a rather catchy word and sounds very impressive. However, innovation has to begin somewhere. Can followers innovate? Can leaders innovate? I submit the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.” Unfortunately, one thing that keeps us from challenging the status...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin