CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Three Soldiers from the 724th Transportation Company, a reserve unit from Bartonville, Ill., shared their experiences as they celebrated Native American Heritage Month throughout Nov. at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq.

The month of November recognizes the Native American Heritage.

"I knew my history, but after this month it has made me want to look deeper and reconnect with my heritage," said Spc. Brian Mackoway, a Soldier with Native American heritage. "I encourage others to do the same. It will show you who you are, what you are and where you are going."

Several events were planned throughout the month to help honor this heritage. The 3rd Infantry Division equal opportunity office planned a Friday night movie, showing movies that recognized Native Americans. Additionally, the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team hosted a turkey shoot 30 November.

The month's biggest event was "Understanding Native American Heritage Now and Then" Nov. 19 at the division headquarters. Native American Soldiers read stories about their history and highlighted the significant impact Native Americans have on the military. Soldiers from the 724th Trans. Co. and 2025th Trans. Co., 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion all helped to cut the cake that was made.

While celebrating their heritage and the contributions of their ancestors, Soldiers of the 724th Trans. Co. attempted to pinpoint false stereotypes currently associated with Native Americans.

"We are not Indians. We are Native Americans; they are their own people and we are our own," Sgt. Brandon Nell said.

Mackoway added, "We have a very long history of peaceful non-bloody contact; we negotiated with one another for what we needed."

Spc. Darrick Stamp is the first Native American from his family to be a part of the military. He was able to attend the festivities on COB Speicher and honor his heritage. "I wish that more Soldiers would have been able to attend the ceremony, but it was a nice event that let me celebrate my history.

Page last updated Wed December 16th, 2009 at 00:00