By Staff Sgt. Nicolas A. ClowardApril 18, 2019
Dale was born and raised in the Philippines in the relatively westernized city of Angeles, a town populated by many retired U.S. military veterans and Americans. He was raised in a financially stable family after being adopted by his aunt, Divina B. Dale, and uncle and retired U.S Airman, James J. Dale, both of whom he proudly calls mother and father.
Around the age of ten, his father decided he should begin the naturalization process so he could get his U.S. citizenship. They briefly moved to Guam, and by the age of 11, he was officially a U.S. citizen.
"It's something I'm really grateful for because not everyone gets that opportunity," explained Dale. "Not everyone gets to leave the country and be a U.S. citizen."
Upon receiving his citizenship, his family returned to Angeles but going to school wasn't always easy for Dale. Even though he lived nearly his entire life in Angeles, his western upbringing made him an outcast of sorts. He was raised in an American neighborhood and grew up around Americans who spoke to him in English. Even his Filipino family talked to him in English, so he never developed a Filipino accent.
"Growing up, there were some Filipino kids who would think, 'Oh, this guy's from America. He's not a real Filipino.' That kind of hurt me because I grew up here just like [those] guys. I don't have the traditional accent, but I grew up here."
However, Dale soon found a flock to fly with - other outcasts who shared the same love for western music and entertainment. They'd gone so far as to call themselves "The Breakfast Club."
When Dale reached his mid-teens, he said he became more rebellious. Sporting a mohawk, band shirts, and punk rock and heavy metal would soon become a major influence in his life. He began having his own views on global politics but had no way to truly express himself aside from relentless debates with anyone who had the misfortune to step toe-to-toe with him.
"I was a very political person back then. I'd start talking about politics and everyone would just kind of wait for me to shut up," he said with a laugh.
He found himself torn between the politics of his nationality and his community. He said he began to realize that talk was cheap and wanted to do something bigger with his life. After graduating high school at 16, he enrolled in college. He studied mass communications for two years at Holy Angel University in Angeles to quench his thirst for global change, but after running into some academic roadblocks, he decided it was time for another change.
Dale recalled how he felt when the city of Mawari in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao was attacked by terrorists. He was shocked and knew he had to do something to help. He dropped plenty of hints to his father that he was interested in the Army and eventually his father supported the decision. After speaking to recruiters, It didn't take much to convince Dale that the U.S. Army was for him.
He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, North Carolina, and went on to Advanced Individual Training in Fort Shepard, Texas, to become a plumber. He soon received his first assignment with the 84th Engineers in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and he was excited to start his life in the Army and living in America.
Fate had different plans for Dale. Soon after arriving at his duty station his company was called to help build a school for Exercise Balikatan. The mission was to reinforce the U.S commitment to supporting humanitarian interests of the Philippine partnership, as well as those of other regional allies and would be taking place near his hometown.
"Building this community is something I believe I'm supposed to be doing," he said. "I was always the activist kid. Always saying something but never doing anything. Now, I'm actually doing something."
Today, Dale is 20 years old. He's gone from a Filipino citizen to American citizen and punk activist to Soldier. However, the one thing that never changed was his urge to make the world a better place.
"I've had regrets in the past, but I wouldn't change anything because it's led me to this moment of being in the Army and honestly everything's been going great for me so far. I'm doing what I like doing. I'm serving my country."