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Regional News

Amata honors women veterans at Women’s Memorial wreath laying ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the American Samoa Congressional Delegate) — On Thursday, U.S. Congresswoman Aumua Amata was humbled to speak in honor of Women Veterans at a special wreath laying ceremony at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Click to enlarge
Members of Congress with hands over hearts at Women in the Military  Memorial.
Congresswoman Amata speaks at the Women’s Memorial.
Congresswoman Amata honors Chief Master Sergeant Mariah J. Armga.
Members of Congress pictured with the wreath.  Office of the American Samoa Congressional Delegate photos

“It’s special to be here in this beautiful place, and part of this wonderful wreath laying tradition. Everything we see around us is part of our nation’s tribute to patriotism and our fallen heroes,” said Aumua Amata in her speech. “With a high enlistment rate in my district, I’m proud to represent many women in the military and women Veterans. We’re here to honor those women who sacrificed so much, and all those who serve.”

This was the 22nd Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Women’s Memorial by Members of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. The event is in recognition of Memorial Day, and the service and sacrifices that women have made as part of the United States armed forces.

During the event, five members of the Congressional Women’s Issues Caucus each highlighted the career of an outstanding woman from one of the military services:

  • • Staff Sergeant Amanda Kelley, U.S. Army, recognized by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee;
  • • Gunnery Sergeant Christine Bloomfield, U.S. Marine Corps, by Rep. Carol Miller;
  • • Petty Officer Rose E. Houle, U.S. Navy, by Rep. Abby Finkenauer;
  • • Chief Master Sergeant Mariah J. Armga, U.S. Air Force, by Rep. Aumua Amata;
  • • Petty Officer Tracy L Mannes, U.S. Coast Guard: Rep. Madeleine Dean.

Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, who serves as Vice Co-Chair of the Caucus, gave the tribute to the fallen. Also speaking were Rep. Brenda Lawrence; Major General Dee Ann McWilliams, U.S. Army, Retired, President, Women’s Memorial Foundation; the Honorable Cheryl Mason, Chairman, Board of Veterans Appeals; and Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, U.S. Air Force, Retired, President Emeritus, Women’s Memorial Foundation.

“In honoring them all (women Veterans), we turn to an example of one,” continued Congresswoman Amata as part of her remarks. “I’m humbled to tell you of Chief Master Sergeant Mariah J. Armga. She is the deputy chief of force structure and strategic basing for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Legislative Liaison. This post of responsibility includes overseeing congressional strategies for all the Air Force’s Force Structure and Strategic Basing decisions. She is the primary advisor to the chief master sergeant of the Air Force for congressional engagements, hearings and legislative issues. Chief Armga is a credit to Olympia, Washington, and has served since 1999. It stands out to me that she deployed three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Congresswoman Amata serves as vice ranking member for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and on the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.