In the Military

Gregg K. Kakesako

See also: For Your Benefit


Eikenberry to return
to isles to join U.S.
Pacific Command

Army Maj. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, who served as an assistant 25th Infantry Division commander three years ago, is returning to the islands to join the staff of the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith. Since September, he has been chief of the Office of Military Cooperation -- Afghanistan in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Eikenberry was working in the Pentagon when the hijacked American Airlines jetliner crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001, and helped in the rescue operations.

More than 70 World War II and Korean War veterans, who served on the battleship USS Missouri, are expected to attend the 58th anniversary Tuesday commemorating the end of the Pacific war. Speakers will include Capt. Albert Kaiss, the battleship's last commander; Paul Sullivan, who witnessed the 1945 surrender ceremonies on the Missouri; and retired Vice Adm. Robert Kihune, chairman of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.

The ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. -- the moment the surrender documents were signed by the Japanese on Sept. 2, 1945 -- on the deck of the battleship, which is now berthed at Pearl Harbor.

The History Channel on Sept. 6 will show a documentary on two successful recovery and identification missions done by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory at Hickam Air Force Base. The cases involve the World War II Makin Raiders and what it took to get the remains of these Marines home from a Pacific island gravesite; and the identification of Thomas Hembree, a Navy sailor who lay for years in a grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, marked as an "unknown," after he was killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Hembree was one of 20 sailors who served on the USS Curtiss, a seaplane tender. His remains were exhumed in 2000, identified and reburied at Punchbowl two years later.

Nineteen sets of remains were excavated from a mass grave in 1999 on Makin Island, now known as Butaritari Island in the Republic of Kiribati. They were returned to U.S. soil in December 1999 and sent to the Army forensic laboratory at Hickam. They were members of a special Marine commando team trained in Hawaii.

Army officials at the forensic laboratory are hoping the cable television program will evolve into a series highlighting its efforts to account for the country's missing in action.

The Washington Times on Aug. 26 reported that a report prepared for Rep. James Saxton (R-N.J.) says Stryker combat vehicles, which are supposed to be deployed to Iraq, are vulnerable to rocket-propelled grenades now used by Saddam Hussein's guerrillas. The 108-page report was prepared on July 18 by consultant Victor O'Reilly. Saxton fears the Stryker is not only vulnerable to RPG fire, but is also overweight and cannot easily fit into a C-130 transport plane -- a feat that is supposed to be one of its best selling points.

However, an Army spokesman said the Strykers are being fitted with added armor.

Instead of using tracks, the Stryker is mounted on wheels and can be figured in 10 different ways. It is being built by General Dynamics and is designed as a medium-weight armored system to fill the gap between light infantry units and heavy armored units that can take weeks to get to battle. The objective is to get a Stryker brigade any place in the world in four days. But a General Accounting Office report in June said that benchmark is not being met.

The Army announced last month it was sending the first Stryker unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis to Iraq in October and that it will remain there until October 2004.

Moving Up

>> Pearl Harbor: Rear Adm. Gary A. Engle has been selected as commander of Pacific Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He is now chief of staff of the 1st Naval Construction Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, in Norfolk, Va.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

"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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