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.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo

Chief of staff visits Luke

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, spent time meeting with Airmen and leadership Monday at Luke Air Force Base. Welsh highlighted Airman health, wellness and quality of life activities. He also...
 
 

Mentoring fosters dreams, strengthens us

A few days ago while reading an online commander’s call, I came across an article dated Dec. 31, 2014, stating President Obama proclaimed the month of January 2015 National Mentoring Month. Although this topic is thoroughly discussed in our Air Force today, I felt compelled to write on its importance all the same. In a...
 
 

Have you joined the Air Force yet?

I enlisted into the Air Force in February of 1997. However, I didn’t join the Air Force until March of 1999. No, I’m not talking about the Delayed Enlistment Program. There was no doubt that after high school I would attend college. However, not having applied for any scholarships and realizing that I didn’t have...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Prevention training goes face-to-face

Courtesy photo Maj. Jennifer Tomlinson, Air Education and Training Command Medical Readiness Division deputy chief, serves as facilitator during the AETC Medical Services and Training directorate annual Air Force Suicide Preven...
 
 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

Thunderbolt looks to future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Maddie Baker, 56th Dental Squadron acting commander secretary was an Air Force Honor Guard member prior to crossing over to the dental field. As the commander’s secretary, she plays a piv...
 
 

Tuskegee Airmen commemorated

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airman Inc. celebrated the 2nd Annual Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day with a wreath ceremony Wednesday at the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day is the result of legislation signed into law by former Arizona Governor Janice Brewer in 2013 and is the first such law...
 




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