29 October 2021, SAN FRANCISCO – Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Neil Frank R. Ferrer received Civilian Aide to the U.S. Secretary of the Army (CASA) Mr. Mark Benton at the Consulate General on Sutter Street where they discussed the Army’s objective to recruit more eligible people of various ethnicities and racial backgrounds.
Mr. Benton, who served with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Military Police Corps and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, encouraged Filipino Americans to join the Army or the Army National Guard, or the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
“The Secretary of the Army wishes to see more diversity and inclusion, especially in the officer corps,” Mr. Benton said, adding that full college tuition in various California state colleges and universities, board and lodging, healthcare, and other benefits await would-be recruits.
Consul General Ferrer thanked Mr. Benton for the visit and welcomed his advocacy to invite potential applicants of diverse backgrounds to enlist in the Army, the Army National Guard, or the ROTC. “The information you have shared with us would be helpful for our Filipino American community and we will share these to them,” Consul General Ferrer said, adding that the advocacy is meaningful as Filipino American History Month is being celebrated in the month of October in the U.S.
The Consul General first met Mr. Benton in a Filipino American History Month celebration at the USS Hornet on 3 October 2021, through an exhibition called, “120 Years of Loyal and Faithful Service by Filipinos in the U.S. Navy.” The exhibition, which was spearheaded by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society and the USS Telesforo Trinidad Campaign, highlighted the contributions of the Filipinos in the U.S. Navy and the ongoing efforts of the Filipino American community to name a U.S. Navy ship after Filipino sailor Telesforo Trinidad who received the Medal of Honor in 1915 for his heroic deeds onboard the USS San Diego.
Mr. Benton visited the Consulate with Major Donald Le Lipscomb from the California Army National Guard, and they discussed the benefits and requirements for enlistment.
Major Le Lipscomb, who at 18 years old moved to the U.S. from his native Vietnam and who stayed at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center in Bataan prior to his migration to the U.S., encouraged fellow immigrant families to make the most of the Army, Army National Guard and ROTC enlistment, and avail themselves of free college education while serving in the military. More details are available on: nationalguard.com/ca.
Deputy Consul General Raquel R. Solano and Consul Vanessa G. Bago-Llona also joined the meeting