DVIDS – News – Representing more than the Army Reserve Officer


CHICAGO – “If you look at our cap, the seal of the United States, it says in Latin, E Pluribus Unum. Of so many others, only one,” said U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Arturo Napolitano, commander of the 318th Theater Public Affairs Support Element.
On October 10, 2022, the United States celebrates Christopher Columbus. The Chicago-based Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans held its annual Columbus Day Parade and invited the U.S. Army Reserve from Arlington Heights, Illinois to participate.
Among the invited soldiers, the JCCIA invited two Italian-American Army Reserve officers to represent the Chicagoland area in the Columbus Day Parade.
“To me, Columbus Day signifies the hard work of my grandfather and my father, in building a better life for my brothers and me,” Napolitano said. “I’m just proud to be part of this community as a commander, I’m proud to be American, and I’m proud to be Italian-American.”
Napolitano, is a New York native, commissioned into active duty in 2003, as an engineer officer.
“My father immigrated here from Italy when he was seven,” Napolitano said. “My dad always wanted to serve in the military, but I ended up serving and he took over a family business after my grandfather passed away.”
“As Army Public Affairs, our job is to educate the public and the Army about what we do as soldiers,” Napolitano said. “He does a few things; he keeps the public informed and the troops informed.
“One of the cool things about the 318th TPASE, Army Public Affairs, our unit in particular, is that we make an effort to try to get out and cover different events that are happening in the community,” Napolitano said.
The US military recognizes three main priorities that soldiers and commanders insist on: people, modernization, and readiness.
“People are one of the most important priorities, and we want to show the people of Chicago where we stand, this unit in particular, when it comes to Columbus Day,” Napolitano said.
We want Italian Americans to know they are represented in the ranks of the Army Reserve, Napolitano said. There are Italian American soldiers in your community, in the community around Chicago, who serve their nation every day.
“Since I have been in charge and even before, our priority has been to make the community aware that we exist and to show the community that we are part of it,” Napolitano said.
“We’re invested in the community and as we’ve talked about the Army’s priorities, right now without the people this organization wouldn’t work, and the people are what makes it special and drives the vision forward,” said Neapolitan.
“We are part of their community and we are here to show them what Italian Americans are doing in their military, for their community and for their country,” he said.
“When I was invited to participate as an Italian American soldier and Army Reserve Soldier in the Columbus Day Parade in Chicago by Cpt. Ariola, I was ecstatic,” said Napolitano.
“Columbus Day is important to me because I am a third-generation Italian-American,” the U.S. Army Reserve captain said. Michael Ariola, public affairs officer, 85th Training Support Command. “Our nation is made up of a lot of different people and it’s great to come out and celebrate all of our diversity.”
“I’m here today to celebrate the spirit of exploration and Italian-American heritage, and to just get out there and meet the community,” Ariola said.
“It’s a time to come out and celebrate the diversity we have across the country,” he said. We have many Italian Americans who have done great things for our society.
“I was on our Columbus Day Parade when I was in elementary school and it was a lot of fun,” Ariola said. “I was also in the 2019 Chicago Parade; it was a lot of fun representing the military as an Italian-American.
Like Ariola, Napolitano also had many memories of his fondest Columbus Day memories. He told how he disguised himself as Christopher Columbus by doing a small play and singing songs.
“I remember being in first or second grade, growing up in the Catholic education system,” Napolitano said. “Singing songs about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus, and recognizing Native Americans for their contributions to this country.
The US military, like America, has become more diverse over time. From within the ranks, to the political system, to the country it is today. America and the military have evolved into a diverse society.
For some, Columbus Day represents a foundation in which a country was built. For others, it represents community, heritage and honor.
“E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one,” Napolitano said. “We are one of those many Americans.”
It’s nice to interact with people from all walks of life, Napolitano said. Even though I am Italian American, everyone who serves with us from all backgrounds, heritages and nationalities, everyone is my brother and sister.

Date taken: 10.11.2022
Date posted: 10.12.2022 21:28
Story ID: 431102
Location: CHICAGO, IL, USA

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