At Your Service
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, November 4, 2001

See also: For Your Benefit

Korean War veterans to
be feted on Tuesday

Retired Army Col. Young Oak Kim, who served with the 100th Battalion in World War II and in the Korean War, will be the featured speaker at a special tribute to Korean War veterans hosted by Gov. Ben Cayetano at Washington Place on Nov. 6.

Joining Cayetano in sponsoring the reception are the Centennial Committee of Korean Immigration to the United States, the Korean American Coalition and the Sheraton Moana-Surfrider Hotel.

Kim was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and his first Silver Star while serving with the 100th Battalion. He chaired the effort to build the "Go for Broke" memorial in Los Angeles and is co-chairman of the Go for Broke Educational Foundation. In the Korean War he became the first Asian-American officer to command an American infantry battalion in combat.

The nation's two top military leaders say the war against terrorism could include deployments longer than six months, which has been the standard in peacetime.

Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations; and Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the identical point in separate interviews last month. Clark said the Navy will do its best to hold to the six-month limit on deployments but "won't blink over taking whatever measure we have to take to make sure that we respond to a wartime requirement."

Four aircraft carriers are now deployed within striking distance of Afghanistan. The USS Enterprise aircraft carrier was originally scheduled to end its six-month deployment Oct. 29, but the ship was positioned off the coast of Pakistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, and, with the carrier Carl Vinson, it launched daily strikes into Afghanistan beginning Oct. 7.

The Enterprise is expected to return to Norfolk in mid-November.

Another Norfolk-based flattop, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, arrived in the Arabian Sea to relieve the Enterprise. The carrier Kitty Hawk, based in Japan, also is in the Arabian Sea, serving as a floating base for helicopters and ground troops; the Kitty Hawk left most of its air wing at home.

"I don't think there should be any illusions that we're going to be able to maintain the same guidelines we used in the past," Meyers said.

But Navy officials have stressed their desire to keep carriers and the ships that sail with them on a schedule of six-month deployments, followed by at least 12 months in and around their home port before the next overseas tour.

The Navy will base the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego and transfer the carrier John C. Stennis from San Diego to Bremerton, Wash., shortly after the Reagan arrives early in 2004. Meanwhile, the USS Nimitz will arrive in San Diego on Nov. 13, completing a globe-circling cruise after a nuclear refueling and overhaul at Newport News.

With the conventionally powered carrier Constellation, that will give San Diego three carriers until the Constellation is decommissioned late in 2003. The $4 billion Ronald Reagan, which is under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding, will be able to carry 80 aircraft and a crew of 6,000. It is expected to be commissioned in April 2003 and to arrive in San Diego about a year later.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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