Overseas Contingency Operations
Asian/Pacific Americans were among the victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As America's resolve lead way to the current overseas contingency operations, as in wars past, many Asian/Pacific Americans answered the call of duty to defend America by serving in the U.S. Army. In May 2003, President Bush expressed his gratitude to Asian/Pacific American citizens and Soldiers, proclaiming that “the values and traditions of the Asian/Pacific-American community—love of family, entrepreneurship, excellence in education, and community service—have strengthened us as a nation…Generations of Asian/Pacific Americans have proudly served our nation with honor and courage in wars and conflicts, including most recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, as in the past, their dedication and service to advancing peace in a troubled world upholds the values that make our country strong.”
Overseas Contingency Operations Biographies
GEN Eric K. Shinseki (RET)
General Eric K. Shinseki (RET) graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from Duke University. General Shinseki’s military education includes the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
Since his commissioning, General Shinseki served in a variety of command and staff assignments both in the Continental United States and overseas, to include two combat tours with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in the Republic of Vietnam as an Artillery Forward Observer and as Commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry. He served in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks with Headquarters, United States Army Hawaii, and Fort Shafter with Headquarters, United States Army Pacific. He taught at the United States Military Academy’s Department of English. During duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, he served as the Regimental Adjutant and as the Executive Officer of its 1st Squadron. General Shinseki’s ten-plus years of service in Europe included assignments as the Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry (Schweinfurt); the Commander, 2nd Brigade, (Kitzingen); the Assistant Chief of Staff G3 (Operations, Plans and Training) (Wuerzburg); and the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver (Schweinfurt), all with the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations, Plans and Training), VII Corps (Stuttgart). General Shinseki served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Support, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (Verona, Italy), an element of the Allied Command Europe. From March 1994 to July 1995, General Shinseki commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In July 1996, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army. In June 1997, General Shinseki was appointed to the rank of General before assuming duties as the Commanding General, United States Army Europe; Commander, Allied Land Forces Central Europe; and Commander, NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. General Shinseki assumed duties as the 28th Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army on 24 November 1998. General Eric K. Shinseki assumed duties as the 34th Chief of Staff, United States Army, on 22 June 1999. He retired from the United States Army in June 2003.
General Shinseki has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
PV2 Iokaimo Falaniko
GERMANY (Army News Service, Nov. 4, 2003) -- There are very few events more poignant than a memorial service for a fallen Soldier.
The service finishes with a final roll call by the company first sergeant of the Soldier’s squad members. Each Soldier in turn responds, “Here, first sergeant.” Then, three times in a row, the first sergeant calls out the dead Soldier’s name. Finally, after the third silent pause, waiting for a response that will never come, a lone bugler sounds Taps.
This evening I went to a memorial service for Pvt.2 Jonathan Ioakimo Falaniko. Jonathan was killed on Oct. 27 in Baghdad by a rocket-propelled grenade attack. As you would expect, the memorial service was sad, but it was also a profound lesson on faith, selfless service and a family’s love. Jonathan’s unit, the 70th Engineer Battalion, is part of the Army’s 1st Armored Division Engineer Brigade. The senior enlisted soldier in the brigade happened to be Jonathan’s father, Command Sgt. Maj. Ioakimo Falaniko.
After the company commander and a few of Jonathan’s friends spoke at the memorial service, the command sergeant major stepped forward and spoke. He spoke about Jonathan as both a soldier and a son and his words were truly inspirational. I cannot fully capture in words the profound lessons of faith and selfless service revealed in the life of Jonathan and the tribute by is father, but I think it is important to pass on a small part of it.
Falaniko read from a few of Jonthan’s recent letters. For a point of reference, Jonathan was a new soldier, who has been in the Army less than six months. He attended basic training beginning in May of 2003 and deployed to Iraq in August of this year. So his letters capture his thoughts and dreams from the last couple of months. A few things Jonathan wrote really stood out and illustrated the man he was:
Dad, I push myself hard because I know the Drill Sergeants expect a lot out of me.
Dad, when I first got to basic training, I didn’t like getting smoked in physical training. But, now I like to get smoked … I think it is good for me.
Dad, I love being in the Army and I love serving my country.
Dad, this is where I belong and this is where I need to be with you and the other Iron (1st Armored Division) soldiers.
Dad, this place (Iraq) is a mess and I am glad we are here to fix it.
Falaniko finished by sharing from his heart, talking about his son as part of a close family. The kind of kid that always lends a hand to anyone. The kind of kid that loved his sisters and sent them money on every payday just to let them know he was thinking about them. The kind of kid from a strong Christian family that demonstrates his faith by his actions every day. He concluded by saying to the hundreds of Soldiers present, from three-star general to private:
“What our country brings to Iraq is a chance for freedom and democracy…making a difference every day. My son died for a good cause…. he answered the nation’s call. Just like a typical American Soldier, Jonathan was accomplishing his mission, doing what he was supposed to be doing. He had a big heart and he was proud to be a Soldier.”
Then 1st Sgt. Allen called: “Private Falaniko” (Silence)
Again, he called, “Private Jonathan Falaniko” (Silence)
And finally, “Private Jonathan Ioakimo Falaniko” (Silence)
Jonathan Falaniko was a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice. Both he and his father are examples of what makes our Army and our country great. The Army and our nation mourn his death. But, he represents the best of America: strong family, strong faith, strong community and a willingness to serve and help others. Rest in Peace Jonathan ... mission accomplished.
SGT. Uday Singh
FORT RILEY, Kan. (Army News Service, Jan. 20, 2004) – Sgt. Uday Singh was on patrol in Habbinayah, Iraq Dec. 1 when an enemy ambush took his life. Singh, an armor crewman with the 1st Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was honored posthumously in a Jan. 12 ceremony in which his parents accepted the Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart on his behalf.
“He was a courageous young boy and the Army was in his blood, and he died with honor,’’ said his mother, Manjit Singh.
Singh’s father, Preet Singh, is a colonel in the Indian Army. The parents flew in from India to accept the awards. Col. Singh spent time with Soldiers that knew his son at a luncheon, thanking them for their service and the friendship they had with his son.
The Singh’s presence and their son’s service is demonstrative of the bonds America has with other militaries, said Brig. Gen. Frank Kearney III, assistant division commander (maneuver), 24th Infantry Division (Mech).
The 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 24th Infantry Division (Mech) are headquartered at Fort Riley.
“We have a son of an Armor officer from India fighting in the American Army and fighting in Iraq against terrorism,’’ said Kearney. “It’s a small world. We have a great passion between the militaries around the world, a brotherhood that exists where we understand each other.”
Seven other Fort Riley Soldiers were honored at the ceremony with Purple Hearts for injuries they received while serving in Iraq.
Assistant Secretary L. Tammy Duckworth
L. Tammy Duckworth was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. She was confirmed by the Senate on April 22, 2009 and sworn in by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, on April 24, 2009.
As Assistant Secretary, Duckworth represented and advised the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on matters relating to media and public affairs. She directed departmental communications and oversaw programs relating to intergovernmental relations, homeless Veterans, consumer affairs, and the Department’s six national rehabilitative special event programs.
Duckworth served as the Director of Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs from 2006-2008. As director, she implemented many first-in-the-nation, cutting-edge programs for Veterans, especially in the areas of health care, mental health, housing and employment. She also initiated a public-private partnership program giving grants to non-profits working on Veterans disability, homelessness, long-term medical care and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A Major in the Illinois Army National Guard, Duckworth served in Iraq as an Assistant Operations Officer and also flew combat missions as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. During a mission north of Baghdad in 2004, her aircraft was ambushed and a rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter she was co-piloting. She continued to attempt to pilot the aircraft until passing out from blood loss. As a result of the attack, Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. She received many decorations for her actions, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
Since her recovery at Walter Reed, Duckworth has dedicated her life to public service, advocating on behalf of disability rights and Veterans. In 2006, Duckworth was the Democratic Candidate for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. In 2007, she received the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award and was named the 2008 Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans. In 2008, she was selected by Candidate Obama to deliver the presidential campaign’s key address on Veterans’ rights at the Democratic National Convention. In 2009, she was named as an American Veterans (AMVETS) Silver Helmet award recipient as well as The George Washington University’s Colin Powell Public Service Award Recipient.
Duckworth served as a manager for Rotary International’s Asia Pacific Region. She speaks fluent Thai and Indonesian and is a published author on the health risks of environmental radon and lung cancer. She has declined her Army medical retirement to continue her service in the National Guard. In 2008 and 2009, she completed the Chicago Marathon, fulfilling a promise made at Walter Reed. She has also resumed flying as a civilian pilot.