July 9, 2008

By The Embassy of the United States

On June 24 and 26, twenty-nine young Micronesians took their oath of enlistment in the U.S. Army during ceremonies at Oceanview Plaza in Pohnpei. All were sworn in by U.S. Army Captain Elizabeth Powers, Commander of the Military Entrance Processing Station in Honolulu. U.S. Ambassador Miriam K. Hughes personally thanked the new recruits for answering the call to serve and for joining the honored ranks of a diverse body of men and women who are dedicated to liberty, betterment of the lives of others, and the building of a safer world. She noted the United States and the FSM share a deep history, common democratic values, and an unshakeable friendship; this unique partnership lays the foundation for a more secure future for us all.

The Compact of Free Association allows FSM citizens to serve in the U.S. military. The Army provides a wide range of education, income, insurance, medical, skills training and travel benefits. Recruits first need to pass the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery test in order to qualify for military service. The 29 inductees will depart their home islands over the next two months to report for basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; or Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in infantry, logistics, maintenance, medical services, security, and supply specialties.

Eighteen of the new soldiers are Pohnpeian: Eugene Albert, Andolin Bartolome, Kihki Edmond, Hetler Ham, Saxona Hedgar, Ilander Ilai, Jayner Kersey, Harvey Kilmete, Relihna Lohn, Vangie Mercado, Marc Molens, Roland Rodriquez, Virginia Siden, Jacky Smith, Spens Solomon, Jesse Suldan, Viola Susaia, and Ronald Tom. Ten more recruits hail from Kosrae: Sapal Aaron, McNally Daley, Palikun George, Palokoa George, Nena Kilafwasru, Danny Jim, Sepel Jim, Hayand Palik, Alik Talley and William Tosie. The final enlistee, Eric Finniginam, is from Yap.

Also assisting in the ceremony were First Sgt. Fitimalo Siaosi, Staff Sgt. Nelson Jack (of Pohnpei), Staff Sgt. Neemia Vaiagae, and Sgt. 1st Class Hyong Kim from U.S. Army Recruiting Station Guam. FSM Citizens interested in learning more about opportunities for service in the U.S. Armed Forces can contact the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs or the U.S. Embassy.