Filipino-Americans in Michigan can be proud of Major Allen dela Cerna Acosta of the US Army.
Major Acosta, 40 years old, the only child of Filipino-American couple Fred and Lynn Acosta of Canton, Michigan, is a bemedalled officer, having received various US badges and medals, including the prestigious Purple Heart, for excellent military service.[box type=”default” size=”large”] Among his medals is the prestigious Purple Heart [/box]Allen was born in 1972 in Manila, Philippines. His father immigrated to the US first together with his mother. Allen immigrated five years later when he was seven years old. His father is a retired Delta Airline employee. His mother, also a retired employee, passed away last February.
He is married to Jena, with whom he has a four year-old daughter named Tsunami Reynn.
Now in his 17th year of military service, Allen is currently serving with the 593rd Sustainment Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.
Allen, a graduate of the Salem High School in Canton, was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded during combat operations. He was hit by mortar fire during the Operation Iraqi Freedom near Bagdad in Diyahla province.
The other badges and medals he had received include the following: Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (five awards), Iraqi Service Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Airborne Badge and Rigger Badge.
He likewise received foreign awards. These are the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency in Gold, German Armed Forces Badge for Weapons Proficiency in Gold and Canadian Airborne Wings.
Aside from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Allen also served in Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines and Operation New Dawn.
Fred, his father, recalled that when he was a teenager, Allen loved sports. He was into several sports, including hockey, hunting, skiing and fishing. Fred said Allen was a member of a hockey team that won the state championship in the midget division.
After high school, Allen enrolled in college to become a registered nurse. He later changed his mind and enlisted in the Army, as a military police and later on re-classified as a Airborne Infantryman. Upon completing his Army commitment, he went back to college to obtain a public safety administration degree from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) with concentration in Criminal Investigations and Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) commission.
After graduating from EMU and the university’s ROTC program, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and elected to serve in the Armor Branch to successfully train on and tactically deploy forces on M1A1 Abrams Tanks. His Armor Branch training was conducted at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, home of US Army Armor School. Afterwards, his first assignment, as a tank commander, was with 1-63 Armor Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, the famed and historic “Big Red One” based in Vilsek, Germany.
Allen served in Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines. He was deployed with 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group in Joint Special Operation Task Force area of operations, supporting Philippine soldiers fighting the Al Qaeda-linked terrorists on Basilan and Jolo islands.
His father said it was his way of giving back to his homeland.