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Mateiwai Wants to Emulate World War II Veteran

Mateiwai Wants to Emulate World War II Veteran
Private Alvera Mateiwai (third from left) with relatives at the Nadi International Airport on January 1, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
January 02
10:00 2018

My grandfather, the late Vilimone Mateiwai was part of the mission in the Solomon Islands during the World War II, she says.

A member of the United Na­tions Guard Force in Iraq who jetted out yesterday from Nadi International Airport plans to emulate her late grandfa­ther.

Private Alvera Mateiwai of the Naivilaca, Noco, Rewa, was among the 23 members of the Republic of Fiji Military Force who will join other Fijian soldiers for their tour of duty in the Guard Force mission in troubled Iraq. They protect Unit­ed Nations facilities and staff there.

Her late grandfather, Vilimone Mateiwai – a World War II veteran who served in the Solomon Islands – was her inspiration.

She will be the first woman from her family to serve in the Middle East. She is also the first female in her family to join the RFMF.

“My grandfather (late Vilimone Mateiwai) was part of the mission in the Solomon Islands during the WWII,” she said.

“Even my uncles were also part of the RFMF. My father used to relate to me stories about what happened during his stint with the Fiji army during the war.”

Her mum and dad are lay preach­ers with the Methodist Church serving in the Bau circuit.

“I am the third eldest of five sib­lings and this will assist them (par­ents),” she said.

After completing her secondary school education at Gospel High School she joined the RFMF.

“It was a bit tough in the first three weeks, but then I managed to cope and complete it,” she said.

Other members of the party are looking forward to their one-year tour. Private Vaciseva Tuiteci of Yasawa-i-Rara said: “I joined the force to brighten up my future as a person.

She joined the RFMF in 2015 and this marks her first tour of duty. She is a sports science student at FNU.

“I applied to know a lot more about the RFMF since my father is an of­ficer,” Ms Tuiteci said.

Private Etonio Masala, 26, joined the force in 2013.

“I know it’s not easy, but I will sac­rifice my time to be away on New Year’s Day, away from my loved ones,” he said.

Corporal George Burt, 39, of Nail­aga, Ba has been a medical orderly for the past five years.

He started his career with the RFMF as a carpenter when he joined the engineering division in 1998.

“I joined as a carpenter, worked at the Lees Bakery after my studies at the Lelean (Memorial School) and I wanted to take on something new,” he said.

This was his sixth tour of duty and second mission to Iraq. His first mission with the RFMF was in 2003 to the Solomon Islands.

Corporal Burt said he made the move to the RFMF when he decided to take on a new undertaking.

He said he was on a leave break from his three-year diploma in nursing programme and he intend­ed to complete it on his return.

“I wanted to take on something new, so I opted to join the medics but it is more like in the combat on the field with the other soldiers in a combat situation,” he said.

The final batch of 23 RFMF troops who are part of the rotation of the UN Guard Force mission in Iraq is expected to return tomorrow.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika


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