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Samoan ROTC students receive contract awards

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by Furman “Neil” Neeley
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – Two students in the American Samoa Community College Army ROTC program became the first in their school to be contracted out of a junior college.

Cadets Galo Tuiolosega and Mariamagnolia Afoa head to Hawaii to join the Army ROTC program at the University of Hawaii and pursue a bachelor’s degree — then enter the Army as a second lieutenant. Afoa also serves in the Army Reserves.

The contract awards place both of them on a path towards careers as commissioned officers in the Army following their completion of the required Military Science studies.

“These two cadets were the first to be contracted out of American Samoa Community College,” explained Lt. Col. Rodney Laszlo, professor of military science at the University of Hawaii – Manoa.

Afoa and Galo

Afoa and Galo

“Although we’ve had numerous cadets to come up to Hawaii and be contracted here, these two are the first cadets to contract in Samoa.”

Laszlo presided over both ceremonies.

“You can compare the contract scholarship to the document a Soldier signs when beginning basic training,” Laszlo explained, “but in this case the terms allow the Soldier to stay in school and complete ROTC, after which he or she begins active service as a second lieutenant.”

Afoa’s contract places her in the Simultaneous Membership Program. She will continue serving in the Army Reserves and will receive sergeant’s pay during monthly training with her unit. Both Tuiolosega and Afoa will receive a monthly stipend from the

Army while attending college, which increases as they progress from their sophomore to senior years.

Galo and Afoa both said JROTC interested them in continuing in ROTC.

“The unique leadership and disciplinary classes JROTC offered got my attention as a way of becoming a better citizen,” Galo said.

Afoa, attended Leone High School before graduating from Fa’asao Marist. “I first took JROTC at Leone,” she recalled, “and I appreciated how the physical training prepared me for the test I took to join my Reserve unit. ROTC keeps me feeling ready physically and mentally.”

Laszlo said the ROTC program at the tiny atoll is gaining prominence.

“Getting the word out on the program and having people understand the high expectations of quality remains a challenge, but nevertheless the program continues to grow.”

“Being able to contract students at ASCC marks an important step,” Laszlo said. “It legitimizes the program as a means for Reserve Soldiers to work towards the rank of commissioned officer,” Laszlo said. “The majority of the progress these past two years was made by 1st Lt. Maryjane Porter and retired Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Thompson, as well as the Cadets themselves for setting high standards and living up to them.”

American Samoa is a U.S. territory located in the south Pacific Ocean, 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,800 miles northeast of New Zealand.

James Kneubuhl, American Samoa Community College press office, contributed to this report.

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Written by CadetCommandPAO

May 13, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Posted in News

Tagged with ,

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