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    Pride in our Heritage

    Pride in our Heritage

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Macie Ross | U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ikaika Chaves, a personnel officer with I...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Macie Ross 

    I MEF Information Group

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Nestled between Haleiwa and Mokuleia on Oahu’s North Shore is the small island community of Waialua. Waialua, a former sugar mill town, is a laidback plantation town and hometown of I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group’s personnel officer Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ikaika Chaves.

    The Hawaiian culture has been passed down and taught to Chaves from a very young age. His first name, Ikaika, which means strong, was given to him to keep the tradition of Hawaiian names throughout his family.

    Much more than breathtaking sunsets, word-class surfing, and beautiful beaches, Hawaiian culture influences everything from religion and language to food and fashion.

    “Hawaiian culture is very family-oriented. Throughout all Asian-Pacific Islander cultures, family is a very important aspect and shared throughout,” said Chaves. “We are taught early on that family is important and bloodline does not necessarily define family. Once you are in the family, you are in for life. We support those around us. There is nothing better than a BBQ with family at the beach on a Sunday.”

    Chaves enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at seventeen years old.

    “I grew up in a very poor sugar mill town,” said Chaves. “The Marine Corps afforded me the quick escape I needed.”

    The Marine Corps and Hawaiian culture have several similar qualities including their emphasis on family and taking care of their own.

    “His background and personal experiences have allowed him to climb up the enlisted and warrant officer ranks because he has been able to connect with his Marines and build administrative competence and readiness in the commands he has served in,” said Lt. Col. Mabel B. Annunziata, the executive officer of I MIG.

    According to Chaves, he feels a great sense of pride in being able to represent his heritage within the Marine Corps.

    “Being from a small island culture allows me to remain humble and tends to help with interacting, communicating, and mentoring Marines from various types of backgrounds,” said Chaves. “It allows me to be a part of something much different than what is portrayed in the mainstream.”

    Chaves believes that his culture has influenced how he leads his Marines because he always remembers where he came from.

    “No matter the rank on my collar, my Marines have always felt comfortable coming to me with questions and problems,” said Chaves.

    In a celebration of long-honored traditions and culture, May is designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. The month allows the Marine Corps to celebrate the diversity within its ranks.

    “Diversity is critical in the Military Services; it allows us to assess and solve problems through multiple lenses,” said Annunziata. “It allows us to better understand the American public that we protect and the viewpoints of our partners and Allies to build stronger relationships.”

    According to Annunziata, diversity in the Corps enables Marines to tackle adversaries from multiple perspectives to deter them more effectively to prevent conflict or adapt in the battlefield when necessary.

    “CWO4 Chaves provides that value to our command.” said Annunziata.

    Chaves believes it is important for every culture to be acknowledged and recognized.

    “Every culture brings their own background, experiences, and history to the table and those attributes are priceless to the different problems we face,” said Chaves. “Take time this month and enjoy a BBQ at the beach with those close to you.”



    Date Taken: 05.15.2023
    Date Posted: 05.19.2023 14:18
    Story ID: 444770
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 
    Hometown: WAIALUA, HI, US

    Web Views: 44
    Downloads: 0