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At Your Service
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, July 15, 2001



10 Hawaii soldiers
complete Sergeants
Major course


By Gregg K. Kakesako
gkakesako@starbulletin.com

NINE Pacific Army reservists and one Hawaii Army National Guard soldier recently completed the final phase of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Course -- the highest enlisted soldier's school -- at Fort Bliss, Texas. Honored were:

>> U.S. Army Reserve: Command Sgt. Maj. Kent K. Harada (U.S. Army, Japan), Command Sgt. Maj. Eric D. Mitomi (1984th Army Hospital), Sgt. Maj. Pedro J. Aragon, (1985th Reserve Training Unit), Sgt. Maj. Susan H. Shishido (4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade), Sgt. Maj. Hattie P. Wagnon (4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade), Sgt. Maj. Iafeta Tasi (U.S. Army, Japan), 1st Sgt. Tanielu F. Unutoa, (100th Battalion), Master Sgt. Richard W. Adams, (4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade), and Master Sgt. Aaron A. Asato (U.S. Army, Japan).

>> Hawaii Army National Guard: Sgt. Maj. Bert M. Yanagida (103rd Troop Command).


Two 7th Fleet minesweepers have been granted permission by the Chinese government to make port calls in Hong Kong this month, the first since the downing of a Navy surveillance plane April 1.

The USS Patriot and the USS Guardian, assigned to Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, will visit the Chinese port July 25-30 after they complete exercises in the South China Sea.


The Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing, the largest and most diverse unit in the Air National Guard with more than 1,900 airmen, was to receive its seventh "outstanding unit" award from the Air Force this morning. Commanded by Brig. Gen. Albert "Putt" Richards, the unit has a squadron of fighters, tankers and transports, as well as aircraft control and warning units and other mission-support organizations.

The award is for service from July 14, 1998, to July 13, 2000. Personnel from the 154th Wing have participated in Operations Northern and Southern Watch (patrolling the no-fly zones of Iraq), Allied Force (the NATO bombing of Serbian targets in and around Kosovo in March 1999) and Phoenix Scorpion (the build-up against Iraq in November 1998). Throughout this period, the wing maintained a perfect safety record with 17 years flying without an accident.


The nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is scheduled to return to San Diego in September after completing a $1.85 billion midlife overhaul in Norfolk, Va. The three-year overhaul included refueling the nuclear reactors, improving the carrier's island house, installing a new antenna mast, painting, integrating a new radar tower, and replacing or overhauling valves.

[MOVING UP]



Kaneohe Bay

>> Lt. Col. Darrell Rector to command the 1st Radio Battalion, relieving Lt. Col. Michael Donovan.

>> Lt. Col. John Sullivan to command the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, relieving Lt. Col. Calvin Swain.

>> Cmdr. Keith Bluestein to command Patrol Squadron 47, relieving Cmdr. Gregory Whitman.

Pohakuloa Training Area

>> Lt. Col. Gerald Schmitz to command the Pohakuloa Training Area relieving, Lt. Col. Dennis Owen.

Schofield Barracks

>> Lt. Col. Michael B. Christian to command the 725th Main Support Battalion relieving Lt. Col. Benigno B. Ruiz.

Pearl Harbor

>> Capt. Robert Nestlerode to command the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific, relieving Capt. Carlton Puryear Jr.

Sand Island

>> Cmdr. Thomas Tabrah to command US Coast Guard Group Honolulu relieving Cmdr. Dee Norton.

[CALENDAR]



July 16

>> More than 200 soldiers return after a six-month deployment in Egypt. C Quad. Schofield Barracks. 10 a.m. Public is invited to welcome the soldiers home.

July 31

>> Film: "Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties," a film on the Military Intelligence Service. Japanese Cultural Center. 7 p.m.

Aug. 11

>> Military Intelligence Service banquet. Hawai'i Convention Center. 11 a.m. Tickets $35. Contact Bob Honke, 373-4146.

Aug. 16

>> "Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties," a film on the Military Intelligence Service. Hawaii Public Television. 8 p.m.


[FOR YOUR BENEFIT]



Veterans with full
disability eligible to shop
at exchange

Question: As a disabled veteran, am I eligible for military commissary and exchange privileges?

Answer: If you are rated with a service-connected disability at 100 percent, and have been honorably discharged, you are eligible for unlimited exchange and commissary store privileges. These privileges also apply to un-remarried surviving spouses of members or retired members of the armed forces, recipients of the Medal of Honor and their dependents and orphans. Reservists and their dependents also may be eligible. Privileges overseas are governed by international law and are available only if agreed upon by the foreign government concerned. Veterans Affairs provides assistance in completing DD Form 1172, "Application for Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card." Call 433-1000 for more information.

Question: My husband recently passed away and was a veteran. Someone told me that I could obtain a memorial certificate signed by the president.

Answer: Memorial certificates, bearing the president's signature, recognize honorably discharged deceased veterans. As next of kin, you are eligible to receive the certificate. Requests for a certificate should include a copy of the deceased veteran's discharge documents (i.e., Form DD 214). Bring a copy of your late husband's death certificate and discharge document to the VA's benefits section, or call 433-1000 if you need additional information.


If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at Veterans Affairs, 433-0049, or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.



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