In the Military

Gregg K. Kakesako

See also: For Your Benefit


2-star isle native
will join Joint Staff

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Peterson, a 1968 St. Louis School graduate, will become the vice director for operations on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. He has been the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, for the past two years.

Peterson, 52, attended St. Patrick's School, Star of the Sea Schools and Saint Louis School, where he was an all-star football lineman. He attended the University of Santa Clara on an ROTC scholarship and has been in the Army for 31 years. In 1980, he earned a master's degree from Chaminade University of Honolulu. In 1999, Peterson served as an assistant division commander (maneuver) for the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., chairman of the House VA subcommittee on health benefits, has told five leaders of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans in Washington, D.C., that he will support a bill, backed by the White House, that would provide additional health care benefits for Filipino World War II veterans.

Simmons plans to hold hearings on the Filipino veteran benefits bill in June. Eric Lachica, the coalition's executive director, said the bill is expected to include full VA health care coverage for 11,000 U.S.-based Filipino veterans and may provide specific medical benefits for those residing in the Philippines.

The coalition is co-sponsoring a dinner for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on May 18 at the Washington Capitol Hilton. The following day, 150 Filipino veterans will attend a White House ceremony for Arroyo. In the afternoon, veteran supporters will march to the Senate to lobby for the bill introduced by Hawaii Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye that would provide $60 million in medical and disability pension benefits for surviving veterans in the U.S. and in the Philippines.

In 1946, Congress passed a law known as the "Rescission Act" that withdrew the veteran status of Philippine Commonwealth soldiers, guerrillas and New Scouts who served in the U.S. Army during World War II and excluded them from receiving VA benefits. Over the past two decades, Congress addressed their claims with legislation providing partial benefits.

"This is the bitter irony: Our Filipino veterans can now be buried as American veterans in national cemeteries. However, when they are still alive, they are denied access to VA hospitals," Lachica said.

When the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka last week, it left the USS Nimitz as the only carrier in the Persian Gulf.

The first downed fighter in the war was an F/A-18C Hornet from the Kitty Hawk, shot down April 2 by friendly fire.

Yesterday, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson started its fourth port call at Yokosuka. The last nuclear-powered carrier to call at the base was the USS Nimitz in September 1997. The 91,487-ton Carl Vinson stopped at the base in 1984, 1994 and 1996. The Carl Vinson will remain in Western Pacific waters while the Kitty Hawk undergoes an overhaul in a Japanese shipyard.

In the Mediterranean Sea, the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier battle group is expected to return to its Norfolk homeport May 29, ending a five-month deployment that began Jan. 6. That would mean the Roosevelt would return just two weeks after the carrier USS Harry S. Truman. The Roosevelt battle group went out ahead of schedule for this deployment. It had not been scheduled to deploy until June.

The 12-ship Truman battle group, also based in Norfolk, is expected back on May 23, just before the Memorial Day weekend.

All three carriers launched strikes into Iraq last month.

Meanwhile, the Navy's newest carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, will be commissioned on July 12 at the Norfolk Naval Station. It was originally scheduled for yesterday.

Its final home will be San Diego sometime next year. It completed its first sea trials last week.

Moving up

>> Makalapa: Navy Capt. Thomas Cullison, Pacific Fleet surgeon, has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral.

"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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