27 Aug 2010

Samoans impacted most by US Middle East war deaths

3:04 pm on 27 August 2010

A Samoan group in Hawaii says Samoans have suffered the highest number of U.S. military casualties on a per capita basis in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Council of Samoan Chiefs and Orators has been helping to organise a memorial service in Hawaii to remember 20 ethnic Samoans who have died in the conflicts so far.

Its vice president, Ali'i Barbara Alaipalelei, says most of them were in their late teens and twenties, and originated from the Samoas, Hawaii and other U.S. states.

"Samoans have the highest rate of death per any entity in the United States, including Territories. They generally get in the toughest units and a larger percentage of the population join. And there's just more Samoans to honour per individual, than any other group. The next highest group is the Virgin Islands."

Ali'i Barbara Alaipalelei says military staff, dignitaries, politicians and families have been invited to tomorrow's memorial service.