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Wednesday, April 5, 2000


Changes on the way
for Hawaii Army
National Guard

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Changes to the Hawaii Army National Guard's structure will mean the reallocation of a medical unit and a public affairs team, but with no significant loss of members.

The five-member 117th Public Affairs Team will be replaced with a 20-member organization this year, according to National Guard Bureau spokesman Jack Cooper. Only a 10-member headquarters staff will remain at Fort Ruger, however.

The rest of the unit, which will be renamed the 117th Public Affairs Mobile Detachment, will be based in Alaska.

Two years ago, Hawaii Army Guard journalists and photographers joined elements of the Alaska public affairs detachment when it was sent to Bosnia.

In addition, the 40-member Medical Combat Enhanced Capability Aviation Team has been redesignated as Company D, 1st of the 207th Corps Aviation Support Battalion. It now has four UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters at Hilo Airport.

Although its headquarters also will be in Fort Richardson, Alaska, National Guard spokesman Capt. Chuck Anthony said the majority of the 40 drill status positions will remain in Hawaii. "Eventually, the Army plans to add four more UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters to the four that already on the Big Island."

A new maintenance hangar is being constructed in Hilo, adjacent to the existing facility, to accommodate the change, which will take place in September.


Nisei veterans of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team -- among the Army's most decorated units in World War II -- will return to Italy to be honored on Liberation Day, April 25, in the city of Pietrasanta.

City fathers there have erected a statue honoring Private 1st Class Sadao Munemori, the only 100th Battalion soldier to win the Medal of Honor.

Journalist Bob Jones is leading 50 people making the trip. The veterans will lunch with veterans of the Italian alpine corps at U.S. Camp Darby, near Livorno, and visit the graves of comrades buried at the U.S. cemeteries in Florence and near Anzio Beach.

On April 3, the state House and Senate honored 100th Battalion and 442nd RCT veterans with resolutions.


George Nishinaka, longtime editor of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team newsletter in Los Angles, died March 21 after a prolonged illness. Nishinaka, a member of the 442nd RCT in World War II, enlisted from the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming in May 1944.

He was instrumental in forming the 100th/442nd/MIS World War II Memorial Foundation 10 years ago, which erected the "Go for Broke" monument in Los Angeles last year.

The black granite memorial contains the names of 15,987 soldiers -- the majority of them Japanese-Americans -- who served with the 100th Battalion, the 442nd RCT, the Military Intelligence Service, the 522nd Field Artillery, the 232nd and 1399th Engineers.


President Clinton has nominated Adm. Vern Clark, commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, to be the next chief of naval operations, replacing Jay Johnson. Johnson is due to complete his four-year term in July.

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