Samoan U.S. soldier has skills like no other
Apia, SAMOA — A young woman with Samoan roots is creating waves by being a senior geospatial engineer at the Rock Island Arsenal, a prominent military installation located in the U.S. state of Illinois.
Sergeant 1st Class, Lisa Tavai Knight, 33, holds the distinction of being the sole individual in the U.S. to do what she does and she is the only uniformed person in the U.S. Army Materiel Command performing this job as well.
As part of her job, she supplies maps and other essential resources for the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) and Army Sustainment Command (ASC).
Ms. Knights was born in American Samoa and her mother is from the Tuiletufuga and Seumanutafa family in Apia and her father is from Pago Pago, American Samoa. They moved to Hawaii, Waimanalo when she was 4 years of age and she considers Hawaii her home and Samoa where her ancestral roots are.
"I was incredibly creative and liked painting as a child, but I had a terrible sense of direction. During my three years of primary school, I participated in the gifted and talented art programmes," she told the Samoa Observer. "Making things, drawing, and painting when I was younger have always been enjoyable and fun.
"It's strange because as a young girl, I never knew what I wanted to do. However, entering the army allowed me to take advantage of abilities and skills I didn't realise I had.
"I made the decision to join the army after waking up one day and reflecting upon my life at the age of 19. As the second eldest among my four siblings, I found myself sacrificing countless hours of work to support my mom with bills, only to continuously fall short.
"It was at this moment of realisation that I unequivocally determined that I desired a different future for both myself and my mother.