NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY SOUDA BAY, Greece (May 11, 2023) Naval Support Activity Souda Bay hosted an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration with the theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” in The Anchor on May 11, 2023. The ceremony included a presentation, guest speakers and a cake cutting in honor of the impact, contributions and accomplishments that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made in our Navy, armed forces and country as a whole.
“My father always taught me to never forget my roots, and I appreciate him more for it because it allowed me to understand my culture and share those values with others in the workplace to create a stronger, more cohesive team,” said Lt. Joshua Matias, port operations officer, NSA Souda Bay. “I was always taught to be humble, utilize every bit of resources I have to accomplish goals and to respect everyone, especially my elders. As Capt. 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’s applied the fundamentals of his Filipino upbringing, instilled in him by his mom, throughout his Navy career. He explained that the Filipino tradition of respecting your elders directly relates to military bearing. He said great sponsorship is a direct reflection of Filipino hospitality and last, but not least “hard work and sacrifice … like many Filipinos who’ve left the comforts of home to pursue trades all over the world, we [Sailors] all have chosen to do the same. Working far away from home to make a better way of life for our loved ones.”
After talking about his difficult journey from being born in the Philippines, moving to the U.S. and joining the U.S. Navy, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Erian Francisco recalled one of his favorite Tagalog or Filipino expressions – mabuhay.
“In this one phrase, I could pretty much sum up my lived experiences as a Filipino and as American,” said Francisco. “A person that has been transplanted from one setting to another yet can still find a way to live and even thrive true to the spirit of the expression. Mabuhay! Live on!"
“All three of our speakers today truly embodied the theme of ‘Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity’,” said Capt. Odin J. Klug, commanding officer, NSA Souda Bay. “Listening to your stories, it’s clear the Navy helped you along the way, but I would say only a small bit. You had to want to be in the Navy, commit 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 made the effort to evolve and grow. Growth and change can be difficult. Embracing that diversity helps the Navy – helps our Navy – build a stronger team. Every day is a new opportunity.”
NSA Souda Bay is an operational ashore installation which 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.