Star-Bulletin file
The King's Village Honor Guard is shown wearing
the white helmets in this 1983 photo.

Theft undercuts
King’s Guard

Nearly half will be unable
to drill at Aloha Festivals

By Rod Ohira

Paul Naki can't figure out what thieves plan to do with 16 white 19th-century-style English military helmets that were stolen from his van Monday night.

"It's something unique; our helmets are one of a kind, so they can't use it here without people recognizing it," said Naki, director of the elite King's Guard drill unit. "It's really an odd thing to have."

Unless the helmets are returned, nearly half of the 40-member King's Guard will be unable to march in the Sept. 13 Aloha Festivals Parade.

"Right now, 16 members who have practiced almost a year to march in the parade don't have helmets, and it's part of our equipment," Naki said. "It wouldn't look good if they were to march without the helmets, so the 16 are out unless we get the helmets back.

"And if they're out, we're going to have to alter our routine," he added. "A whole year's production will be shot."

There's not enough time to order new helmets, Naki added.

"That was our first option, but the manufacturer can't do it in two weeks," Naki said, adding that the helmets, which are replicas of the ones worn by King Kalakaua's royal militia, cost about $100 apiece. "They need at least a month."

King's Guard, established in 1972, has marched in every Aloha Week parade and is a perennial winner of the "best marching unit" award.

"This is our 25th anniversary and marching in this year's parade is very meaningful to us," Naki said. "If anyone sees the helmets or knows who has it, we're asking to give them back to us."

The helmets can be returned, no questions asked, by calling Albert Keliikuloa of the Azabu Group at 944-6855.

Naki's van was stolen in Manoa between 6:30 and 11:30 p.m. Monday following drill practice. The helmets were missing when the van was recovered at a fast-food restaurant on South Beretania Street.

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