Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the new U.S. Army Reserve Center in American Samoa will be named in honor of Sergeant First Class Konelio Pele and Staff Sergeant Frank F. Tia’i.
The U.S. Army Reserve Center will be named in honor of the late SFC Konelio Pele who served in three major wars and was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest medal for valor during the Vietnam War. SFC Pele is also a recipient of the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and three Combat Infantryman Badges.
The Maintenance Storage Facility of the Army Reserve Center will be named in honor of the late SSG Frank Tia’i, a member of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, who was killed in July 2005 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. SSG Tia’i was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.
Congressman Faleomavaega and the American Samoa Veterans of Foreign Wars both recommended to the U.S. Army that the newly built Army Reserve Center be named after Sergeant First Class Konelio Pele.
“I am pleased the U.S. Army accepted our recommendation to name the Army Reserve Center after SFC Konelio Pele in recognition of his distinguished service,” said Congressman Faleomavaega. “To my knowledge, SFC Pele’s Silver Star is the highest award received by any Samoan for courageous valor in the field of battle.”
“I am also pleased the U.S. Army decided to name the Maintenance Storage Facility after SSG Frank Tia’i who as I recall, was the first local reservist from American Samoa to die in the war in Iraq.”
“Both war heroes have served our country with utmost dedication and honor. They are a great example of the determination and selfless service of our many Samoan sons and daughters who have served or are currently serving in the military today.”
The dedication ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 2006 at the new Tafuna facility. Congressman Faleomavaega and Governor Togiola are both invited to the ceremonies.
“At this moment, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the U.S. Army for its commitment to American Samoa. Most of all, I want to thank all Samoans in the military and their families for their sacrifices and service to our country,” concluded Faleomavaega.