Banquet at Sheraton
will honor Shinseki

Retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric "Ric" Shinseki will make his first public appearance in the islands since retiring in June after 38 years of service.

Shinseki, who served as the Army's highest ranking soldier for three years, last visited the islands shortly before his retirement ceremony, stopping at several Army installations including Schofield Barracks, where he served with the 25th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.

On Saturday, he will be honored with the Organization of Chinese Americans "Spirit of America" award at its 30th anniversary banquet at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

Before his retirement Shinseki, a West Point graduate from Kauai, was the highest-ranking Asian American in the history of the U.S. Army.

Earlier this year, Shinseki told Congress that the United States would need several hundred thousand troops in Iraq for at least several years after the end of the war. That placed him at odds with the position of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, with whom he had clashed earlier over a decision to cancel the Army's new artillery weapon, Crusader.

At his retirement ceremony, Shinseki fired a warning shot at Rumsfeld: "Beware the 12-division strategy for a 10-division Army. Our soldiers and families bear the risk and the hardship of carrying a mission load that exceeds what force capabilities we can sustain, so we must alleviate risk and hardship by our willingness to resource the mission requirements."

Shinseki's remarks were made as all or parts of seven of the Army's 10 divisions were in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, with another division in South Korea standing vigil for an attack from the north.

In October 1999, Shinseki set out to rebuild the Army by 2010 into a more versatile and mobile force that can move quickly into battle with the Stryker combat vehicle. The 25th Division at Schofield Barracks hopes to be included as one of the latest Stryker brigades.

Also honored on Saturday night will be U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, who will be presented with the organization's "Outstanding Citizens Achievement Award." The evening will include a special tribute to the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink.

A job fair and corporate exhibits will be held on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

The organization is a national Asian-American and Pacific Islander civil rights advocacy and educational organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates and is holding three days of workshops and seminars as part of its convention here this week.


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