Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he was pleased and honored to have been asked by Sergeant First Class Senetenari “Sene” Polu and his wife Rosie Polu to present Sene the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge. On May 12, 2008, SFC Sene Polu was presented the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge by Faleomavaega on behalf of the United States Army as a result of the injuries he received while serving in Iraq.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military. The Combat Action Badge or (CAB) provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.
On April 2, 2008, Platoon Leader Sene Polu was injured along with his Platoon Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) and an Iraqi interpreter assigned to his unit when his patrol encountered an improvised explosive device or IED while conducting combat operations in the Diyala Province, Iraq.
SFC Sene Polu is the son of Mr. Pe’a Polu and Mrs. Avalele Polu, of Faleasao, Manu’a. He is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery, which is part of the 4th Brigade (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), 2nd Infantry Division headquartered at Fort Lewis, Washington. The 4th SBCT deployed to Iraq in April 2007 and is operating in Diyala Province, Iraq.
In presenting the military awards, Congressman Faleomavaega was assisted by U.S. Army Captain Phillip Radzikowski from SFC Polu’s unit in Fort Lewis, Washington. Also in attendance during the ceremony in Congressman Faleomavaega’s office were SFC Polu’s wife Rosie Polu and their two children – Charlie and Chastity, YN1 (AW/EXW) Alex A. Amosa who is on assignment at the Pentagon, Petti Matila who is the current American Samoa Intern in Senator Daniel Inouye’s office, Rosia Curry, and Faatalivale Te’o-Lewis from the local Samoan community in Washington, DC.
“Words cannot describe my heartfelt emotions when I was pinning the medals – Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge – on Sergeant First Class Sene Polu,” Faleomavaega said. “I was truly honored to be part of this special ceremony.”
“Sene is a remarkable individual and an outstanding soldier. He answered his country’s call to go fight a war where he did an incredible job in leading his troops in combat and providing safety to the people of Iraq. He is well deserving of these awards and I am most pleased to have been asked to play a small part in his awards ceremony.”
“Although I have been to several of these ceremonies before, it was different in the case of Sene as I can remember how sad I felt seeing his injuries when Command Sergeant Major Iuni Savusa and I first visited him at Walter Reed Army Medical Center last month. I never thought this young man would be in the condition he is in now. Sene is a real trooper, a true Toa o Samoa.”
“Based on what I saw when I first visited Sene with the seriousness of his injuries, it was unbelievable and almost surreal for me to see Sene walking on his own strength into my office. Sene has undergone about 15 surgeries over a very short period of time and he may still have more to go through. Truly, his amazing progress towards recovery is nothing short of a miracle.”
“I congratulate Sergeant First Class Sene Polu for his bravery and thank him for his many years of selfless service to our country.”
“I also congratulate Mrs. Rosie Polu for her courage and for remaining strong in support of her husband. Rosie and their two children, Charlie and Chastity, have been on Sene’s side assisting and taking great care of him ever since his injury.”
“At this time, I ask everyone to please keep Sene in your prayers that he is able to fully recover from his injuries. I also ask that we continue to pray for all the other soldiers who have been injured, and for the safe return of those who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Faleomavaega concluded.