The ceremony included a presentation, guest speakers and a cake cutting to honor the impact, contributions and achievements that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our Navy, our armed forces and the country as a whole.
“My father always taught me to never forget my roots, and I appreciate him more for that because it allowed me to understand my culture and share those values with others in the workplace in order to create a stronger, more cohesive team,” said Lt. Joshua. Matias, Port Operations Manager, NSA Souda Bay. “I was always taught to be humble, to use whatever resources I have to achieve my goals, and to respect everyone, especially my elders. As Captain Odin J. Klug always says, we stand on the shoulders of giants. I am proud that my Filipino roots can contribute to the Navy and America as a whole.
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Earl Satcher, assigned to NSA Souda Bay, said he has applied the fundamentals of his Filipino upbringing, instilled by his mother, throughout his Navy career. He explained that the Filipino tradition of respecting one’s elders is directly linked to military attire. He said excellent sponsorship is a direct reflection of Filipino hospitality and, last but not least, “hard work and sacrifice…like many Filipinos who left the comfort of their homes to pursue trades all over the world, we (sailors) have all chosen to do the same. Working away from home to provide a better lifestyle for our loved ones.
After speaking about his difficult journey from being born in the Philippines, moving to the United States, and joining the U.S. Navy, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Erian Francisco recalled one of his favorite Tagalog or Filipino expressions : mabuhay.
“In just one sentence, I could pretty much sum up my lived experiences as a Filipino and an American,” Francisco said. “A person who has been transplanted from one environment to another can still find a way to live and even flourish true to the spirit of the expression. Mabuhay! Live of!”
“Our three speakers today truly embody the theme of ‘Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity,’” said Capt. Odin J. Klug, NSA Souda Bay commander. “Listening to your stories, it’s clear that the Navy has helped you along the way, but I would say only a little. You had to want to be in the Navy, be committed to the Navy and make the Navy your own. For that, I thank you very much. I appreciate your sacrifice. Throughout history, the Navy has strived to evolve and grow. Growth and change can be difficult. Embracing this diversity helps the Navy – helps our Navy – build a stronger team. Every day is a new opportunity.
NSA Souda Bay is a shore-based operational installation that enables and supports U.S., allied, coalition, and partner nation forces to preserve security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility. For more information, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NSASoudaBay.