Tuesday, January 11, 2000



Stars will come out for
ranking officers in Army
National Guard

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Hawaii's Army National Guard could be seeing stars soon.

Four officers are in line to move up as generals, with two of them -- Brig. Gens. Edward "Butch" Correa and Dennis Kamimura -- nominated to wear two stars.

Kamimura, 52, has served as commander of the nearly 3,400-member 29th Infantry Brigade since November 1997 and last week was selected to assume the job of U.S. Army Pacific's deputy commanding general at Fort Shafter.

Kamimura, a 1964 St. Louis High School graduate, will take over the position held by Maj. Gen. Eugene Imai, senior University of Hawaii vice president. Imai, who has retired, was in charge of Army National Guard activities in Hawaii, Guam and Alaska. Kamimura's new post means he will be eligible to pin on a second star.

Correa, past commander of the Hawaii Army National Guard, was recently nominated by Gov. Ben Cayetano as the state's new adjutant general -- a post which means Correa will get a second star.

As a civilian, Kamimura heads the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.

Col. Glen I. Sakagawa has been selected to wear the one-star rank of a brigadier general and will replace Kamimura at the 29th Infantry Brigade.

The 29th serves as one of three brigades attached to the active Army's 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. The last time it was activated was for combat duty during the Vietnam War.

Also considered for advancement in the Hawaii Army National Guard as its one-star commander is Col. James Carpenter, a University of Hawaii agriculture professor. Carpenter is commander of the Army National Guard's Regional Training Institute in Waimanalo. He will be replaced by Col. John Penebacker.

Correa said the biggest challenge facing him as commander of the state's Army and Air National Guard force is "retaining the soldiers and airmen and women" he now has.

Currently, the Army Guard's manpower strength is at 88 percent, while the Air Guard's picture is promising at 96 percent.

A 30-year veteran of the Hawaii Army National Guard, Correa has served as commander of its major combat unit -- the 29th Infantry Brigade -- and as the commanding general of Army Guard soldiers.

"I know the people," said Correa, a UH law school graduate, "and I know what needs to be done."

Correa already has reassigned Brig. Gen. Myron Dobashi as commander of the Hawaii Air Guard. Dobashi, 55, was acting deputy state adjutant general.

Kamimura, a Vietnam War helicopter pilot, has more than three decades of service in the Army and the National Guard.

"Strength is the biggest challenge" facing successor Sakagawa, who will command a reserve unit stretched over three states -- Hawaii, California and Oregon. The 29th Brigade in 1995 was selected as one of 15 "enhanced brigades" in the Army National Guard and ordered to be ready to move within 90 days to any major crisis.

Last June 2, 100 brigade soldiers from Hawaii were sent to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk as part of the Army's program to give it better equipment and training to fulfill its wartime mission.

Kamimura said that the brigade's three-week performance "showed that the National Guard, especially the soldiers from Hawaii, can perform to the Army's standards at the Army's premiere training center."

In addition, Kamimura -- who headed a task force consisting of 5,000 soldiers from 26 different states, three territories and two foreign countries -- said the units returned home without anyone getting hurt.

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