In the Military

Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, May 30, 2004

See also: For Your Benefit


Pacific Rim exercises
set to begin in late June

The 19th in the series of Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise will run from June 29 through July 27 and will involve eight nations -- Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Japanese forces will participate only in training with U.S. units.

More than 35 ships, seven submarines, 90 aircraft and 11,000 sailors, airmen, Marines, soldiers and Coast Guardsmen will participate in the region's largest international maritime exercise. The Navy's 3rd Fleet, commanded by Vice Adm. Michael McCabe, will be responsible for overall exercise coordination.

Of the eight soldiers from Connecticut who were awarded the Medal of Honor, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, of Mike Company, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, remains a mystery. Fournier received the nation's highest medal for valor in the battle of Guadalcanal, where he was killed on Jan. 10, 1943, manning a machine gun nest despite an order to retreat.

The Norwich Bulletin said Fournier, who was born in Norwich on June 21, 1913, is a mystery in his hometown. Norwich school officials searched records of the years Fournier would have been in local schools and could find nothing.

None of the Fourniers in the Norwich phone book could lay claim to a William Grant. The battle of Guadalcanal is considered a turning point in the war in the Pacific. It was controlled by the Japanese who were preparing to build an airfield to attack Allied supply routes and continue their movement toward Australia, the newspaper said.

His Medal of Honor citation says: "As leader of a machine gun section charged with the protection of other battalion units, his group was attacked by a superior number of Japanese, his gunner killed, his assistant gunner wounded and an adjoining gun crew put out of action. Ordered to withdraw from this hazardous position, Sgt. Fournier refused to retire but rushed forward to the idle gun and, with the aid of another soldier who joined him, held up the machine gun by the tripod to increase its field action. They opened fire and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy. While so engaged, both of these gallant soldiers were killed, but their sturdy defensive was a decisive factor in the following success of the attacking battalion."

Fournier is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The annual commemoration of the end of the war in the Pacific will be held Sept. 2 on the deck of the decommissioned battleship USS Missouri near Ford Island. The 59th anniversary of the end of World War II will be a tribute to the heroism of all U.S. war veterans. The ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. and is open to the public.

On Sept. 2, 1945, representatives of 10 nations, including Gen. Douglas MacArthur, assembled on deck of the battleship in Tokyo Bay, Japan, to receive the surrender documents from Japanese officials.

Free trolley service to the Battleship Missouri Memorial will be available from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. at the memorial's trolley boarding station, located near the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.

Army Brig. Gen. William H. Brandenburg, U.S Army Pacific deputy commanding general, pinned on his two stars as a major general in a small ceremony Friday. He joined the Fort Shafter staff in August 2003.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other
sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached can be reached by phone
at 294-4075 or by e-mail at


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