Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that while he is in Korea for official business, he has requested through the United States Forces Command in Korea a meeting with Samoan soldiers and their families in the area. Faleomavaega and several other Members of Congress are in Korea to attend the biannual meetings between the Members of the U.S. Congress, Japanese Diet, and South Korea Parliament from November 28 to December 2, 2006.
In a letter to General Burwell B. Bell, III, Commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea Command, Faleomavaega requested his assistance to grant passes for the Samoans serving in the area so he can meet with them and their families on December 1, 2006. Faleomavaega provided General Bell a complete list of Samoans and their units for whom he was requesting passes. A copy of the list is attached.
“Just as I have done in the past when I travel abroad, I always make an effort to visit our Samoan soldiers,” Faleomavaega said. “During last summer, I accepted an invitation to travel with Chairman Hyde and other Members of the House Committee on International Relations and that allowed me the opportunity to meet Major Tauapa’i Laupola from Afono and Command Sergeant Major Tuileama Nua from Ta’u-Manu’a and several Samoan soldiers and their families who make up the Republic of Korea Samoan Association or ROKSA.”
“During my visit this time and with the assistance of Major Laupola who also is President of the ROKSA, I was able to obtain a more complete list to extend the invitation to the rest of our Samoan soldiers and their families around Seoul and other military communities nearby.”
“This is always an excellent opportunity for me to hear directly from our soldiers and their families about any concerns they may have about the military. I also learn a lot about their issues of interest in terms of American Samoa and the Federal government. It is also an opportunity for me to share and dialogue with them on the issues that are affecting our government at home.”
Also in his letter to General Bell, Faleomavaega brought to his attention the tremendous service and sacrifices Samoan men and women in the military have made for our country. Faleomavaega wrote, “Per capita, my district has suffered the highest number of casualties, more than any state or U.S. territory – a total of eight Samoans have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since the start of the War on Terror.”
The Congressman concluded his letter saying, “I am always grateful for the many selfless sacrifices our service members and their families have made in serving our country and in defending the freedoms we enjoy every day.”