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Published on Oct 27, 2016
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The Clifford J. Palacio Garifuna Language and Culture Academy Online is proud to present Edson Arzu, President of the Garifuna Veteran of America on this special program on Garifuna in the Military. Edson Arzu states that...Military service has long been a tradition for Garinagu, but it is difficult to determine how many Garifuna Americans served or are serving in the US armed forces. Under the U.S Department of Defense's statistics for the ethnic background of active duty personnel Garinagu are classified under the broad category of Latin American ancestry. This is why Garifuna veterans of America exist to identify these service members and educate our community and other communities about our continue contributions to this great country. We have veterans like: Wilfredo Stokes who is the first Guatemalan Tuskegee airman who served in the US Air Force in 1958 when the US was going through racial segregation and discrimination. No voting rights no civil rights at this time. Wilfredo not only graduated top three of his class but was also the leader of his Squadron. Next would be Master chief petty officer George Lopez US Coast Guard. Master chief Lopez is the first Garifuna to ever reach the rank of Master chief petty officer in the Coast Guard. In March 31, 1999 according to the department of Defense 13,113 enlisted in the US armed forces from Latin American descent. We can assume that some of these individuals are or were Garifuna. Garifuna Veterans of America so far has identified 502 veterans and active duty members since we started in 2013. Our search continues. Produced by Rony Figueroa Media Management by Cheryl L. Noralez A GAHFU program. This program was partially funded by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.