An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | May 25, 2021

The UTNG Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By UTNG Public Affairs

This month the Utah National Guard celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to honor and celebrate generations of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians who continue to serve proudly and selflessly in the defense of our nation.

Today, AAPIs make up more than 5 percent of the enlisted corps, 7 percent of the officer corps, and 12 percent of the civilian workforce throughout the Department of Defense. Nearly three dozen AAPIs have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration for valor in defense of the nation.

We take this time in May to acknowledge and honor the military and civilian leaders of our AAPI community and to highlight those who serve in the Utah National Guard with distinction, and are role models exemplifying our highest values.

Lt. Col. Marie Roberts, Adjutant General Corps, 97th Troop Command

Date joined: May 28, 1997

Why did you decide to join?

I was born and raised in a military family—my father retired as an Air Defense Artillery chief warrant officer 5 after 30 years of Active Duty. When I was 20, I decided to enlist in the Air Force for the education benefits.  I have stayed because of the many opportunities the military has afforded.  Beyond an education and the ability to travel and experience new cultures, it has provided a camaraderie I’d argue one wouldn’t be able to find in any other profession, and the opportunity to provide service and to make a difference.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

My favorite moment was meeting my husband while we both served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

What does this observance mean to you?

It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to serve our country for more than 20 years in both the Air Force and the Army.  I am proud to be counted among the sorority of women who have served and contributed to our country’s national defense.  I feel a sense of patriotism and pride in being a woman and serving my country.

Tech. Sgt. David Owen, Equal Opportunity Advisor, 151st Air Refueling Wing

Date joined: August 12, 2008

Why did you decide to join?

Since high school, I had planned to join the military, but was planning on enlisting in the active-duty Air Force.  As a young adult, responsibility was not something that interested me until I started attending college. The desire to go into debt for school was non-existent for me, and after some friends joined the Utah Air National Guard, my interest in the military was reinvigorated. My service in the various units in the wing has given me experiences and memories to which I would never have been exposed to otherwise.

In short, I joined for the education benefits, but stayed for the experiences.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

My favorite part of serving has been getting to know the other members of the various units in which I have served and deployments I’ve done. Just listening to the stories and experiences of others has given me an understanding of the diversity of the United States Military.

What does this observance mean to you?

According to the DoD, Asians and Pacific Islanders represent only 4 percent of the total force (both officers and enlisted) across all service components of the Air Force. It is important to highlight such a small part of the military so that we can both celebrate diverse cultural backgrounds and find commonality in the profession of arms.

Anything else we should know about you?

I grew up in Utah and have lived in some of the least diverse communities in the state.  One might think I would have been treated with ignorance by some of the small rural populations where my family might have been the only one of Asian ancestry.  However, I’ve never considered myself to be a minority, because I’ve always felt included by the communities in which I’ve lived.

Sgt. 1st Class Satya Chhe, Human Resources Specialist, JFHQ

Date joined: Active Duty (1998 – 2001) National Guard (2007 - present)

Why did you decide to join? I did not have too many options after graduating high school, but I wanted to challenge myself physically, so I joined active duty as an infantryman. After a seven-year break in service, I decided to join the Hawaii Army National Guard as a human resource specialist, due to my background in human resources.  Then I reclassed to a public affairs broadcast specialist for a deployment in 2010 because videography seemed interesting.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving? My most favorite thing about serving is the accountability piece. I truly feel that because I put on my uniform every day, I represent the Army and its community 24/7. So I have to hold myself accountable both physically and mentally at all times, and I enjoy that.

What does this observance mean to you?

I am proud of my heritage and the history of where I came from. But this observance is mainly for my parents, because they had to survive and overcome a genocide and flee Cambodia with me and my older sister. They didn’t give up and they didn’t forget where we came from – and that warrior spirit and resiliency represents what this observance means to me.

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m passionate about fitness and sharing my workout philosophy with people that want to improve their training capacity; with or without being in a gym. I started my own YouTube channel during the Covid-19 shutdown (which closed most gyms, including those on military installations) called: Fortysomething Fitness. It was specifically designed to maintain or improve your fitness with minimal to zero training equipment – and it also includes ACFT/military style workouts for preparation.

I’m happily married for 19 years to my wife Brandy and we have three children (18, 16, 5). Our oldest son just joined the Utah Army National Guard as a 92A and will attend Utah Valley University in the fall.

Sgt. 1st Class Sunia (Max) Fonua, Human Resources Specialist, 118th Transportation Company

Date joined: Jan. 27, 2005

Why did you decide to join?

I was raised in a great patriotic community.  A couple of great friends joined, and I saw the change it made in them when they returned home. I decided to grow and be challenged by something I never experienced before and serve my country.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

Friendships I have made along the journey are irreplaceable. Having the opportunity to work with some of our nation's best has to offer has been the highlight of my career.

What does this observance mean to you?

The commemoration of this month is an excellent reminder of what makes our nation great. The vast cultural diversity across the United States Army highlights the United States motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one).  Our different ideas, strengths, and characteristics come together to support the exceptional democratic ideal of unity in diversity.

Sgt.Okamoto, Clinton, Patient Administration Specialist, Medical Detachment

Date joined: Oct. 4, 2018

Why did you decide to join?

Initially, I looked into joining the military for the education benefits because I was starting a master's degree. As I felt the pride of serving and being a Soldier, it confirmed my desire to join.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

My favorite part of serving is working within my unit to accomplish our mission. I love working with good, capable Soldiers who understand the goal and are willing to work together to achieve it.

What does this observance mean to you?

It is nice to know that diversity is valued. I am not usually a person that seeks out attention, but understanding the culture and background of those around us can lead to more knowledge and experience. This can be powerful in building team cohesion and unity.

Anything else we should know about you?

I am a happy husband and a proud father! My family is everything to me.

Sgt. Chelsea Ong, Combat Medic, Patient Administration, Medical Detachment

Date joined: Sept. 19, 2005

Why did you decide to join?

All my family has served and I wanted to continue the tradition and help people where I can, whether medically or defensively.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

Traveling and meeting all sorts of people from all over the world is my favorite part of serving. Joining at 17 has given me more experience, life lessons, and the ability to travel than most people.

What does this observance mean to you?

It gives me a chance to celebrate and appreciate part of my heritage. Reflecting on the past versus the present, there have been so many changes.

Anything else we should know about you?

I am a mother of three children with another baby due in September. My hobbies include hiking, family vacations, and cooking gourmet meals for my family. I am a competitive gamer in e-sports. I hope to continue to build interest in the development of female gamers in the e-sports industry.

Sgt. 1st Class Reuben Miles, Senior Human Intelligence Collector, 640th Regiment Regional Training Institute

Date joined: Feb. 13, 2003

Why did you decide to join?

I initially joined to attend college. However, I have sincerely appreciated the chance to serve the public during times of emergency and the opportunity to defend this nation.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

Throughout my many years of service, I have many moments that I look back on fondly. The memory I treasure the most was the time I was able to serve in response to the flooding in the Payson, Utah area following the wildfires in 2019.

Name: Sgt. Anna Sewell, 88M Vehicle Operator/ Truck Driver, 213th Transportation Unit

Date joined: April 28, 2016

Why did you decide to join?

Since I was a little girl, I aspired to become a part of an organization where I could grow and become a shining pillar to those around me. After doing some research, I found the U.S. Army National Guard would set me up for a great career path and assist with supporting the completion of my bachelor’s degree. Alongside that, the Army National Guard has given me the opportunity be able to pursue a civilian career and be with those who are near and dear to me. Therefore, I made the decision to join, and I would not change it for the world.

What has been your favorite moment or part of serving?

The most cherished moment of serving is experiencing the beauty of leadership amongst the Soldiers that fall under my direction. Also working alongside my brothers and sisters in arms who I can trust and continue to push forward and always place the mission first.

 

 

 

 

Your Career Starts Here

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Oct. 26, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr. Gary Harter, executive director for the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and Mr. Jon Pierpont, chief of staff to the governor and former executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, also received the ESGR Seven Seals Award.
ESGR Presented Awards to Civic Leaders
By Maj. Chris Kroeber | Oct. 27, 2022
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Wednesday. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr...

Sgt. Maurice Manns II with the 204th Maneuver  Enhancement Brigade, emerges for a breath during the swimming portion of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge , conducted at Camp Williams, Utah Oct. 16, 2022. This year’s competition offers an opportunity for competitors to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. The Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition is an annual event that brings together Soldiers and Airmen from the major commands to compete for the title of Soldier/Airman-of-the-Year, Noncommissioned Officer-of-the-Year and Senior NCO-of-the-Year. The Army winners of this competition will represent the Utah Army National Guard at the Region VII Best Warrior Competition next spring.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
UTNG Best Warrior Competition Presents Top Competitors
By Spc. Shae Cox | Oct. 24, 2022
Twenty-three Soldiers and Airmen battled mental and physical challenges as they competed for the title of Soldier/Airman of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Senior NCO of the Year, during the Utah National...

The Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducts Funeral Honors for the surviving family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips, an Airman who was killed 79 years ago during World War II. Family from several states, friends, first responders, and service members gathered to render respect during the funeral at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack)
Utah Honor Guard Provides Funeral Honors for WWII Airman
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | Oct. 13, 2022
Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducted funeral honors for Phillips at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. Family, friends, other service members, and first...

Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley conduct a pass and review during the 67th annual Governor’s Day at Camp Williams, Utah, Sept. 24, 2022. The humvee is driven by Sgt. Spencer Fayles with the 144th Area Support Medical Company, the 2022 All-Guard National Soldier of the Year. The time-honored tradition of Governor’s Day has been celebrated by the Utah National Guard since 1954 and allows the governor to inspect and speak to his troops. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
Utah National Guard celebrates 67th Governor’s Day after two year hiatus
By Capt. Megan Tidwell | Sept. 26, 2022
Utah National Guard Airmen and Soldiers celebrated the 67th annual Governor’s Day after a two-year hiatus Sept. 24, 2022, at Camp Williams, Utah...

Soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) arrive at Dugway Proving Ground in support of an agile combat employment joint exercise on Sept. 8, 2022. This joint force exercise incorporates more than six military’s entities across three branches creating innovative operational concepts to allow quick response to an ever-changing wartime horizon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock)
Utah Air National Guard Completes Joint Agile Combat Employment Exercise
By Master Sgt. Colton Elliott | Sept. 8, 2022
As the Department of the Air Force continues to prioritize Agile Combat Employment , Airmen from the 151st Air Refueling Wing conducted its first joint Multi-Capable Airmen exercise at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah on Sept. 8,...

Approximately 10 Soldiers from Target Acquisition Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,”  are recognized during a departure ceremony Sept. 1, 2022, in the Scott Lundell Readiness Center auditorium at Camp Williams, Utah. The Soldiers will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command.
Soldiers from the Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
By Ileen Kennedy | Sept. 2, 2022
Approximately 10 Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command. The Target Acquisition...

Brig. Gen. Joseph Green, assistant adjutant general, Utah National Guard shares his experience involving hardships and explains how trauma impacts Guard units and families. Green said although he understands some obstacles may hinder the SAPR and VA mission, he is always available to support Utah Guard members.
UTNG SAPR program brings sexual assault awareness through prevention and education efforts
By Staff Sgt. Ashley Ellison | Aug. 26, 2022
The Utah National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program hosted two three-day leadership summits at the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, July 25-28, and Aug. 23-25, 2022. More than 50 UTNG Soldiers...

A Soldier from the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion engages an adversary as a part of an Oleoresin Capsicum or OC spray qualification event during an evaluation exercise, Aug. 20-21, 2022, for the Utah National Guard Response Force in Salt Lake CIty, Utah. During the OC spray qualification, a trainee gets sprayed in the eyes with OC and must engage two adversaries using baton techniques and drag a simulated casualty to safety. The NGRF is a quick response security force composed of Utah National Guard Soldiers designed to augment law enforcement when directed by the governor. The NGRF is comprised of approximately 300 Soldiers primarily from the 142nd MI. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Sgt. John Etheridge)
142nd MI Battalion conducts evaluation exercise for National Guard Response Force
By 1st Sgt. John Etheridge | Aug. 25, 2022
The 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 300th MI Brigade, conducted an evaluation exercise Aug. 20-21, 2022, for the Utah National Guard Response Force at the North Salt Lake Armory. During the exercise, Soldiers of the...

Col. Paul Peters (center) relinquishes command of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) by passing the unit colors first to Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Riggs (left), who then passed it to Col. Brian “Tony” Pazzaglia (right), during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Aaron R. Butler Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, Aug. 20, 2022. Change-of-command ceremonies are a time-honored military tradition to mark the formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one unit commander to another. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jacob Jesperson/Released)
“I Promise You Unwavering Devotion”: Col. Pazzaglia Assumes Command of 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
By Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Aug. 22, 2022
Col. Paul Peters relinquished command of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to Col. Brian “Tony” Pazzaglia during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Aaron R. Butler Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, Aug...

(From left to right) Air Force Master Sgt. Abraham Beh, Tech. Sgt. John Geister, Air Force Staff Sgt. Donovan Nielson, and Air Force Master Sgt. Sgt. Francisco Vasquez hoist the trophy of the Sgt. 1st Class James E. Thode Ruck March, August 19, 2022. Their team placed first among all other teams in the competitive category.
10th annual Thode Ruck March draws more than 100 participants
By Sgt. First Class Richard Stowell | Aug. 22, 2022
A rainbow appeared west of the hills just as participants started the 10th Annual Sgt. 1st Class James E. Thode Ruck March at Camp Williams, August 19, 2022...