SAMOAN RESERVISTS SET NEW RECORD

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CONGRESSMAN ENI FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa's Delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

News Release

June 23, 1999

AT FORT POLK, LOUISIANA

At the invitation of Major General Thomas Plewes, Commanding General of all U.S. Army Reserve forces, Congressman Faleomavaega travelled to Fort Polk, Louisiana to observe the annual military training exercises of the 100th Battalion, 442 Infantry. While he was there, the Congressman met with Samoan members of the Battalion.

Following a briefing by Fort Polk's Commanding General Brigadier General Samuel Thompson III, Faleomavaega said, "I am very proud to learn that two platoons, composed entirely of Samoan soldiers, set a new record for time and completion of mission during live fire." This is especially noteworthy as real ammunition is used during 'live fire' exercises and for safety reasons only certain reserve units are authorized to use real ammunition.

"Military officers at Fort Polk said that our two Samoan platoons were the best they had ever seen. They even scored better than any Ranger or Airborne active duty units," said Faleomavaega.

The Congressman added, "This superior performance is reflective of the legacy of heroism and courage of the Japanese-American soldiers who fought during the dark hours of World War II, while their parents and relatives were held captive in the United States. I know the men and women in our reserve units appreciate the sacrifices made by their predecessors in this military unit."

Congressman Faleomavaega served as a member of the 442nd Infantry for nine years, most recently as a legal officer. He stated, "Credit for the success of our soldiers should also go to Major General Kelly Lau, Deputy Commander, Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific, Brigadier General Raymond Gandy, Jr., former Commander, 9th Regional Support Command, Colonel Robert Lee, present Commander, 9th Regional Support Command, and Lieutenant Colonel Matt Collins, Commander, 100th Battalion."

The Congressman also met with the Samoan soldiers and families stationed at Fort Polk. "I make a concerted effort to spend time with Samoan families whenever I visit military bases," said Faleomavaega. "It gives me great pleasure to talk with our men and women in uniform about their career goals and accomplishments."

Congressman Faleomavaega recently visited soldiers from the 29th Infantry Brigade of the Hawai‘i National Guard. The Samoan contingent there is led by two Samoan officers, Captain James Faleafine of Ili‘ili, and Captain Leif Fautanu of Fitiuta, Manu‘a.

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