By SPC. William J. Taylor
Headquarters of the 314th press camp
MIAMI – On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an order that would change the armed forces forever.
Executive Decree 9981 became the final declaration that would abolish segregation and discrimination in military units in all branches of service.
About 65 years later, the armed forces of the United States are a true reflection of the American people, with almost every possible ethnic, cultural, and religious group represented. One unit in particular illustrates the importance of a diverse and multicultural fighting force.
The 758th Engineer Company of Perrine, Florida has more than 20 different nationalities and ethnicities represented in its ranks.
“The United States Army is not made up of just one type of people,” said 1st Lt. Markus Kamberger, executive officer of the 758th Engineer Company. “The fact that we have such a diverse unit gives us the opportunity to see multiple perspectives and different approaches to achieving the same goals. “
Many soldiers of the 758th Engineer Company were born outside the United States and became naturalized citizens through the Army Reserve.
Since 2002, more than 89,000 U.S. servicemen have become naturalized citizens through the military, according to the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service office.
“I have been given the opportunity of my life to join the military, and it is the best decision I have ever made,” said Spc. Ezra Pineda, interior electrician, 758th Engineer Company.
Pineda, a native Venezuelan, obtained his naturalization after completing basic combat training and served in the Army Reserve for four years.
“I believe the Army Reserve has opened so many doors,” Pineda said. “Not only did I receive my American citizenship through the world’s largest military, but I learned life skills that cannot be learned anywhere else.”
Pineda recalled an event that made him proud to be an Army Reservist: “Last year we went to Honduras for our extended combat training at Beyond the Horizon. There we built schools and hospitals for a poor community. When we were helping these people, I had the opportunity to speak to an elderly lady in the area. She cried with joy knowing that we were there to help her.
Beyond the Horizon is an annual US Southern Command sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise planned and led by US Army South.
Pineda added: “She explained to me that shortly before the start of the project, a young woman lost her child due to the lack of medical care in the area. She said that they would be eternally grateful for what we did for their community and that we were sent from heaven. It really touched my heart and made me proud and motivated to wear the American flag on my shoulder. “
Cpl. Hernan Sanguinetti, a signaling support systems specialist from Argentina, was also naturalized by the military.
Sanguinetti is a third generation soldier. His grandfather served in the Italian Army in World War I and his father served in the Argentine Army.
“When I came to America, I came for a job opportunity,” Sanguinetti said. “I had computer training and received a work visa and a green card to be able to have a career. I didn’t have to join the military to become a citizen, but I knew I wanted to serve in the United States Army. It was in my blood to serve the country in which I live.
Sanguinetti first joined the Army through the Florida Army National Guard, then moved to the Army Reserve due to a specific military occupational specialty he desired.
“I didn’t realize how diverse the 758th would be when I first got here,” Sanguinetti said. “You have Haitians, Cubans, Guatemalans, Dominicans, Argentines, Asians, Europeans, Africans and many other types of people working together in one unit. It just shows that America is a melting pot of the world and that the military is the same. “
According to a blog entry posted last year, Major General Marcia Anderson, Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve, wrote: “The Army Reserve prides itself on having one of the highest percentages raised women in the army. The Reserve Force also includes more African-American officers than the Defense Department average, and nearly 40 percent of soldiers are minorities, the highest proportion of any branch of the military. As Reserve Soldiers, they live and work in the communities they serve, and they fully understand the importance of reflecting the diversity and vitality of those communities.
The 758th reproduces that the Army Reserve as a whole is a very diverse and diverse population of soldiers who uphold the honor and privilege of protecting the citizens of the United States.
“The military bridges the racial and gender equality gap because in the military we don’t see race,” Kamberger said. “We see the person and what they have to offer. ”
|Date posted:||06/27/2013 19:52|
|Site:||MIAMI, Florida, United States|
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