Two sons of American Samoa take success up another notch
Fort Benning, GA — There is bravery and there is courage. One complements the other and one exists because of the other. Bravery with a whole lot of heart — and courage with the will to excel — just takes things up another notch.
Cpt. Samuelu Eli Wells and Cpt. Mel Meaole, Jr. — both stationed at Fort Benning, GA — recently completed the Maneuver Center of Excellence Captains Career Course (MCCC).
Cpt. Wells was born in Fagaalu but raised in Leloaloa . He is the son of Aufa’i Tavita Wells of Salamumu, Samoa, and Taulupe Ina Sopoaga Wells of Lotofaga Safata, Samoa. The proud product of Fagaitua HS is married to Trisha Laumoli Lopa Wells of Vailoa and they have a daughter, Taulupe Ina Moeonoono Alofamoni.
Cpt. Meaole is from Fagaalu and Amanave, and is the son of Ronald and Sinei Meaole of Amanave. He attended Leone High School. He is married to Garscia Meaole and they have two children: Jaxon and Jeorgianna Georgina.
The pair revealed that the Samoan culture has an impact on the U.S military. They said military leaders are overwhelmed at the level of leadership Samoans display when in a stressful role.
“We have our culture to thank for that. We were raised to give thanks and worship the Lord no matter what happens throughout the day. So every time we have a bad day we would bend the knee and ask God for guidance — we were raised in a matai system where first you have to follow in order to lead,” said Cpt. Wells, who added that leadership starts at a young age for Samoans, "whether it’s babysitting your siblings or being the treasurer for the Methodist youth or choir."
He continued, "Experiencing those roles at a young age, it’s like second nature when we are now given a stressful role in the military. We know first that God will always see us through and second, we have the support of our family and loved ones; lastly, we are well-respected people, loving and happy people of the Pacific.”
The Army is easy, he said; if you follow these simple rules: 1. Be there; right time, right uniform and right equipment; 2. Do your job! (be the hardest worker in the room- Dwayne The Rock Johnson); and, 3. Never forget your roots — God first; family always; and then love of country.
Cpt. Meaole told Samoa News, “This journey has helped me be a better father, son, brother and friend to my loved ones. My career has made me enjoy the little things people usually take for granted. I’ve learned to cherish the time I spend with my family, I have taken advantage of the opportunities that arise whether it be a new job or position and taking the time to give thanks to our Heavenly Father everyday during the positive and negatives of life experiences shared.
“Out of 5 siblings, I was thought to be the one who would be the least successful; I had trouble with academics and I’ve had my troubles with life as well. I knew that, but I wasn’t going to quit on myself then. I sought something better for myself. I needed to help myself so I can help the people I love. This allowed me to be able to help my parents recover from the tsunami that happened back in 2009.
“When you are on the verge of giving up, always remember this: There will be days your rucksack may get heavy — sometimes heavier than most — but that’s ok; in the end, everything will be better. You must execute everything you do in life with a purpose. You too can do what I did — or better — you must display that intestinal fortitude required to be successful and willing to be that someone your family, friends and more importantly, your nation can count on,” he concluded.
Thank you Cpt. Wells and Cpt. Meaole for your service!