In the Military
For and about Hawaii's servicemen and women

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, May 12, 2002

See also: For Your Benefit

Veterans of the 100 Battalion
to unveil Matsunaga bio

KITV government reporter Denby Fawcett will be the keynote speaker June 30 at the luncheon commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 100th Battalion -- the first combat unit comprised only of Japanese Americans from Hawaii.

Organizers are expecting 600 people to attend the banquet, which will be held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. The occasion also will be used to unveil the publication of a biography of U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, who served with the 100th Battalion. The book was written by Richard Halloran, former editorial page editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Nearly every member of the 100th was awarded at least one Purple Heart, signifying a wound inflicted during combat. It was because of the battalion's exploits in World War II that the call went out for more Japanese-American volunteers, and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was born. The battalion landed at the beaches of Salerno, Italy, on Sept. 22, 1943, and fought the Germans for nine months at Volturno, Cassino and Anzio before being attached to the 442nd RCT.

Lt. Gen. James T. Hill, commander of the 25th Infantry Division from June 1997 to September 1999, has been promoted to a four-star general and given command of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami. He is now commanding general of I Corps and Fort Lewis in Washington. Hill served several tours at Schofield Barracks, including battalion commander in 1985 and assistant 25th Division commander from 1994-95.

The Pearl Harbor-based destroyer USS Hopper became last month the first Navy warship in seven years to visit Colombo in Sri Lanka. Although the ship's time in port on April 30 was brief, Hopper hosted distinguished visitors, including the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, E. Ashley Wills. "The people were all friendly to us and very grateful of our hospitality," said Gas Turbine System Technician 1st Class Fred Brooks of the ship's visit. "They especially liked our Navy chow."

The 15th Air Base Wing has been awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for Nov. 29, 1999, to Nov. 30, 2001. Master Sgt. Robert Crawford, wing historian, said this marks the eighth such award since the unit was formed on Oct. 20, 1971. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Paul Raymond of the Air Forces Regional Supply Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base has been named as the Air Force Transportation Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for 2001.

All "tin can" sailors are invited to attend a Waikiki celebration later this month marking the 100th anniversary of destroyers in the Navy. The destroyer centennial ball and dance will be held May 24 at the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Tickets are $65 and can be obtained by calling Ensign Jennifer Tietz at 398-5368.

Moving up

Camp Smith

>> Col. James L. Kennon to director of logistics, engineering and security assistance at the U.S. Pacific Command. He is now deputy for acquisition and readiness at the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in Natick, Mass.

Schofield Barracks

>> Col. John C. Woods, currently assistant division commander (operations) at the 25th Infantry Division (Light), to deputy director for operations at the National Military Command Center in Washington, D.C.

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

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