A Samoan mother and soldier currently serving in the United States Army is in Apia this week for a very special purpose.
Mrs. Sorepa Thomas, “a product of Siumu and Afega”, is in Samoa to promote an “educational programme” aimed at giving the young people the chance to achive their goals in life.
She is offering two scholarships to two top students from Siumu and Afega to attend the Nationl University of Samoa’s preparatory year (UPY) programme starting January next year.
Her offer is continuous.
In an email, she reveals: “I am currently serving in the United States Army.
“I am writing in regards to procedures and processes on how to advertise or promote educational programmes in the Samoa Observer.”
Mrs. Thomas says “the winners will be published the Samoa Observer.”
In response to Mrs. Sorepa email, the Samoa Observer wrote: “Your decision to offer these scholarhips is quite refreshing, and so we are willing to help where we can."
“It is a wonderful idea. It is also gratifying to know that although you're living in far-away America, you are reaching out all this way to help the children of Samoa.”
“Malo le loto nu'u.” (Kudos to patriotism).
Mrs. Thomas said her decision to award these scholarhips was inspired by the knowledge that many Samoan students with the ability to go further in life are denied the chance because of circumstances beyond their parents’ control.
She says she feels she has the chance to help.
Mrs. Thomas CW2, QM, is the Division Chief of the United States Army’s 101st Division Sustainment Brigade and Airborne Division (AASLT), stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
This is to say she is a Warrant Officer.
According to an official army document, “Warrant Officers make up the technical foundation of the U.S. Army.
Throughout their careers, they specialize in a technical area like intelligence, aviation, or military police.
Although they make up less than three percent of total Army strength, Warrant Officers have a great job responsibility that includes training soldiers, organizing and advising on missions, and advancing within their career specialties.
The documnent also says “those interested in becoming Warrant Officers must be selected for Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS), which is generally held in Fort Rucker, Alabama."
“Technical specialty applicants must be Staff Sergeant/E-6 or higher to be considered for selection. There is no minimum grade requirement for aviation applicants."
“The school is designed to assess candidates’ potential for appointment as Warrant Officers and prepare them for service in 16 of the Army’s 17 branches (the Special Operations branch trains and appoints its own Warrant Officers).
“The course also focuses on training similar to Officer Candidates School (OCS), and provides candidates a foundation of leadership skills that will eventually help them manage others.
“After a candidate completes WOCS, he or she is appointed as a Warrant Officer (WO1). Graduates are then sent to their specific U.S. Army branches, where they receive more focused technical training in their specialties.”
The document explains that “applicants for the Warrant Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Flight Training program must have an high school diploma, be at least 18 years old at the time of enlistment and not have passed their 33rd birthday at the time of selection (for aviators) or their 46th birthday for all other specialties.”
It says “applicants have to be citizens of the United States.”
Mrs. Thomas is returning to America on Tuesday.