In the Military
Contractors donate labor to repair clubhouse
Painters from the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii and Jade Painting will donate 60 hours of labor next week to work with the World War II veterans of the famed 100th Battalion in a two-day makeover of the veterans clubhouse on Kamoku Street.
Ray Fujii, association administrator, which includes 22 contractors and 14 suppliers, said he was moved by a story he read in the Star-Bulletin last year where the 100th Battalion veterans were planning a bake sale to raise funds to fix the clubhouse roof.
He said he stopped by the clubhouse in November and noticed that kitchen, card room and meeting hall "looked a bit dingy and I want to make it look more cheerful."
Fujii said that Spectra-tone Hawaii will donate the paint and three painters will volunteer their time to patch and paint the interior of the hall as well do touch-up work on the outside of the clubhouse.
A spokesman for the painters said the laborers teamed up "to thank and give back" to the World War II veterans. The job, which begins tomorrow, is expected to take up to three days and valued the donation of labor at about $5,000 to $6,000.
"It's not a big deal," said Fujii. "But it is rewarding since every time I stop by the clubhouse, the guys there are so appreciative."
Gov. Linda Lingle has joined her colleagues in the National Governors Association protesting proposed reductions in the size of the National Guard.
In a letter sent to President Bush on Friday, the nation's governors said the citizen-soldier reserve force has provided nearly 50 percent of combat forces in Iraq, the bulk of the U.S. presence in the Balkans and the Sinai Peninsula and about 90 percent of the troops in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.
The governors also reminded the president that after the troops leave their overseas assignments much of their equipment remains behind. "The National Guard is a cost-effective, capable combat force in the war on terror and an essential state partner in responding to domestic disasters and emergencies," the governors wrote.
The Army had proposed cutting the budgeted Guard strength by about 17,000 positions, in part by replacing six combat brigades that each have 3,500 to 4,000 slots with brigade headquarters that have only a few hundred.
However, on Friday Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said at a news conference if the National Guard recruits up to its current authorized manpower of 350,000, the money to pay for those soldiers will be there. There are now 333,000 soldiers on the rolls.
The Army is sending about 280 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division to participate in Exercise Balikatan 2006 in the Philippines. The exercise will begin mid-February and run for several weeks.
Recently Schofield Barracks soldiers from 3rd Brigade's Company C, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, were in India participating with the Indian Army in joint, cooperative training exercises called Yudh Abhyas.
"There is great value in seeing foreign armies train," said Maj. Philip C. Hughes, battalion operations officer, in a Hawaii Amy Weekly story. "We can go back and NCOs and soldiers can evaluate what the foreign soldiers do and look for ways we can improve. Gaining a different perspective is always valuable."
Citizen soldiers and family members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, which just completed a 10-month deployment in Iraq, and Kuwait will be honored at freedom salute celebrations throughout the state beginning on April 9 at the Big Island's Kealakehe High School Auditorium.
The dates of the other recognition ceremonies are:
» April 22 in Kaunakakai at the Molokai Army National Guard armory.
» April 23 in at Maui Baldwin High School's auditorium.
» April 30 in Hilo at the Big Island's Waiakea High School gym.
» May 13 in Lihue, at the Kauai Veterans Center.
» May 20 in Kapolei at Hangar No. 117.
» May 21 in Kapolei at Hangar No. 117.
» June 3 in Kapolei at Hangar No. 117.
» June 4 in Kapolei at Hangar No. 117.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org