At Your Service
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, September 9, 2001

[In The Military]

Calendar & Deployments
For Your Benefit

McAbee takes over
Kaneohe Marine base

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Brig. Gen. Jerry McAbee assumed command of Marine Corps Base Hawaii this week from Brig. Gen. T.R. Parker Jr. McAbee comes to Hawaii after serving as chief of staff of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami. Parker retired in Hawaii after serving as the Kaneohe Bay commander since July 1999.

President Bush will be making his first trip to Japan next month to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and also will visit Yokosuka Naval Base on Oct. 18, according to Marine Maj. Patricia Johnson, a U.S. Forces Japan spokeswoman.

Japanese news reports stated Bush would meet with Koizumi at a resort in Hakone, southwest of Tokyo, sometime during his Japanese visit Oct. 16-18. Topics to be discussed include the U.S. military presence on Okinawa, as well as economic and environmental issues. Bush is stopping in Japan on his way to Shanghai to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He is expected to visit Hawaii briefly on his way home.

The Air Force's Thunderbirds will perform an aerial show at Hickam Air Force Base on Oct. 27 as part of a one-day event that will feature 16 aircraft, including an F-117 Nighthawk, F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighters and the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle.

A tent city will be erected to give visitors an idea of what a deployed Air Force unit looks like. There also will be a "keiki land" with games and rides for children and entertainment provided by the Pacific Air Forces band. Food, beverage and souvenir booths also will be available. The event is free and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About 20 crewmen of the World War II submarine USS Bowfin will be reunited at a special luncheon Sept. 21 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The USS Bowfin, nicknamed the "Pearl Harbor Avenger," was launched on Dec. 7, 1942. It is one of just five World War II ships to earn the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Citation for its five patrols.

Moving Up

Pearl Harbor: Capt. Charles Fairchild to command the Naval Dental Center, relieving Capt. Robert Hutto.

"In the Military" was compiled by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached at 294-4075.


Sept. 15: "Get the Drift and Bag It" beach cleanup at Sand Island Beach Park, 8 a.m. to noon. The Coast Guard Sea Partners, a volunteer organization committed to keeping Hawaii's beaches and ocean free of litter, needs volunteers. For more information or to participate, please call Jennifer Thomas at 522-8264.

Oct. 27: Hickam Air Force Base's open house, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sixteen static aircraft displays. Aerial demonstration by the Thunderbirds. Free.


U.S. Navy

Western Pacific

USS Chosin (CG 65)

USS Asheville (SSN 758)

USS Buffalo (SSN 715)

USS Columbia (SSN 771)

USS O'Kane (DDG 77)

USS Olympia (SSN 717)

USS Greeneville (SSN 772)

USS Key West (SSN 722)

Hawaiian area

USS Charlotte (SSN 766)

USS La Jolla (SSN 701)

USS Pasadena (SSN 752)

Eastern Pacific/West Coast

USS Columbus (SSN 762)

USS Kamehameha (SSN 642)

USS Russell (DDG 59)

U.S. Army

East Timor: 9th Regional Support Command, 25th Division

Bosnia: 25th Division

Majuro, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Fort Gordon: Tripler Army Medical Center

Guam, Alaska, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Kwajalein: 84th Engineers

United Arab Emirates, Thailand: Pacific Regional Veterinary Command

England: 125th Signal

Kosovo: 40th Quartermaster

Coast Guard

Kauai patrols: Cutter Kittiwake.

Oahu patrols: Cutter Washington, Cutter Assateague, Cutter Walnut

[For Your Benefit]

VA benefit applications
now available to service
members in S. Korea

Question: My son is stationed in South Korea and will leave the service. I have read about the Veteran Affairs new pre-separation program and was wondering if my son could take advantage of it in South Korea.

Answer: U.S. service members stationed in South Korea now can begin applying for veterans' benefits before they leave the military, thanks to a new VA office near Seoul. The benefits delivery at discharge office was developed by VA and the military to provide better service to veterans by processing claims before military men and women are discharged.

This program is the same one being offered here. South Korea was chosen as the first overseas site because of the large number of U.S. military personnel stationed there.

Question: How much money is the VA spending on veterans' benefits?

Answer: The latest figures indicate that of the 25.5 million living veterans, nearly three out of four served during a war or an official period of hostility. About a quarter of the nation's population -- 70 million people -- potentially are eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans. The responsibility to care for these groups can last a long time. The last dependent of a Revolutionary War veteran died in 1911. The War of 1812's last dependent died in 1946, and the Mexican War's in 1962. About 650 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans still receive VA compensation or pensions. There are nearly a dozen children and one widow of Civil War veterans still drawing VA benefits. About 2.7 million veterans receive disability compensation or pensions from VA. Also receiving VA benefits are 592,713 widows, children and parents of deceased veterans. Among them are 133,881 survivors of Vietnam-era veterans and 295,679 survivors of World War II veterans. This fiscal year, the VA plans to spend $22 billion in disability compensation, death compensation and pension benefits distributed to 3.2 million people.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

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

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