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Author Topic: Great Americans  (Read 87540 times)
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« Reply #125 on: July 18, 2012, 02:49:33 PM »

Two Rangers Awarded Silver Stars at Benning
Jul 13, 2012
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.| by Ben Wright

2Add a Comment .Staff Sgt. James L. Wilbur, a soldier who halted an ambush of his squad in Afghanistan, said he was just in the right place at the right time to make a difference for members of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Regiment, based at Fort Benning.

"When things like this happens, it's more so just being in the right place at the right time," Wilbur said after a 10 a.m. ceremony Thursday in Marshall Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickam Hall. "It's absolutely what happened that day."

Wilbur and Staff Sgt. Scott M. Anderson were recipients of the Silver Star, the nation's third highest medal for valor.

Staff Sgt. Ryan L. Flora received the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Cpl. Ian T. Seymour was the recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. The awards recognized actions by the Rangers who returned in March from deployment.

Wilbur, 25, said the award represents the entire unit, not just one individual.

"I think when guys receive the award for valor, it lets the guys in the Army and the rest of the community know where we stand in the fight," Wilbur said. "There are guys out there making sacrifices."

Anderson, 27, said the award represents what the Rangers have accomplished over the last 16 deployments.

"Rangers are unique and have a lot of capabilities," he said. "I think, generally speaking, we play a large role in what's going on in Afghanistan and around the world."

Wilbur was part of an assault force in northern Afghanistan on April 27, 2011, when he recognized a spotter planning an ambush as the squad moved along a road clearing. After jumping over a wall, Wilbur was the target of gunfire from a machine gun and AK-47 in a compound.

Wilbur fired off 10 rounds from his rifle when one of the machine gunners pointed the weapon at him from a prone position. Enemy fire was still intense from the north and west as other soldiers cleared the room in the compound, killing three enemy fighters.

"Staff Sgt. Wilbur's actions of valor and leadership were decisive in the battle, and prevented the enemy from gaining a tactical advantage, setting up an ambush north along a main avenue or approach the assault force was traveling along," according to a statement on his actions.

Anderson was leading a squad when he learned that 10 heavily armed Taliban fighters were inside two separate compounds in northern Afghanistan on March 8, 2011. He came under machine gun and small-arms fire from five enemy fighters but returned fire with fragmentation grenades next to a doorway.

After 90 minutes of intense fighting, five enemy fighters, including two senior level Taliban commanders, were dead and one Ranger was wounded. A second Ranger was wounded by automatic weapons fire. Anderson provided gunfire cover at the enemy until the wounded Ranger was evacuated.
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« Reply #126 on: July 18, 2012, 03:13:26 PM »

What honor looks like: The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport
May 23, 2012
By Chris Muller

Honor is a hard term to describe. It doesn’t have a color or weight or shape. If someone were to ask me what honor looked like, I’d probably struggle with what to say.

But something happened on May 23, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport that might change that.  A flash mob of sorts broke out. But not like you’ve seen on YouTube with highly choreographed dance numbers or people singing a song in unison.  In fact, virtually all of the participants of this “flash mob” didn’t know they would be participating until moments before it happened.
Let me explain.  Shortly before 9:30 over the loud speakers, a US Airways gate attendant announced that an Honor Flight of World War II veterans would be arriving momentarily and encouraged anyone passing by to help greet them.  Five or six people looked like they were officially part of the welcoming committee, and the rest of the people in the secure section of the airport were regular old travelers going somewhere.  Then I had a terrible thought.  What if these veterans came off the plane and just those five or six individuals were there to greet them.  I walked a gate over to help see the veterans out.

But – then it happened and frankly, I wasn’t expecting it.  All throughout the terminal, people left their gates and gathered around gate 38.  A few active military personnel in plain clothes approached the gate attendant and politely asked if they could  join in the salute within the jet way as the heroes first stepped off the plane.  Every human being in the terminal stood at attention and faced the door.

Someone held up an old newspaper from 1945 that had a banner headline that said, “Nazis Quit!”  And when I saw that newspaper, I realized that World War II wasn’t just a chapter in a history book.  It was men and women who saw an evil like the world has never seen before and traveled across the world to meet that evil.  And they defeated it.

I wonder if in 1945, any of those brave soldiers could ever imagine that 67 years later, we’d still be basking in the freedom that they preserved.  And some of those heroes were about to walk through Gate 38.

The first soldier walked through the door.  Old, frail and needing help walking.  And every person I could see in the entire airport stood and applauded.  No – maybe cheered is more like it.

But here’s the thing – the applause didn’t stop.  For a full 20 minutes, as veteran by veteran stepped out of the jet way, the US Airways wing of Reagan National Airport thundered in appreciation.  Travelers stepped out for the opportunity to shake their hand while others held back tears.

This is the America we picture in our heads.  Heroes getting a hero’s welcome and those who enjoy the freedom adequately conveying their gratitude.

Now, I know what honor looks like.

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« Reply #127 on: July 18, 2012, 03:16:41 PM »

Air Force pilot in 1960 U-2 spy plane scandal awarded posthumous Silver Star
Published June 15, 2012
Associated Press

Capt. Francis Gary Powers is being posthumously awarded the Silver Star at the Pentagon for his loyalty while being held captive by the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

Powers served in the CIA as well as the Air Force. His U-2 airplane was shot down in 1960, and for more than 100 days, he was held in a Soviet prison. Secrecy clouding Powers' service meant that he was not quickly recognized for his duties when he returned to the United States.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz says the U.S. owes its Cold War victory to "efforts of dedicated public service and service members like Gary Powers."

The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration.

Powers died in a helicopter crash in 1977.

FILE: Gary Powers, the Air Force pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, stands in front of a U-2 spy plane in 1959.
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« Reply #128 on: October 23, 2012, 02:42:27 PM »

Report: Photo of Dying Veteran Voting Gets 600,000 Views

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012
By Todd Beamon

Nearly 600,000 people have viewed a photo of a 93-year-old World War II veteran voting on his deathbed.

The veteran, Frank Tanabe, is suffering from liver cancer. He is casting his vote from a hospice bed in Hawaii, NPR reports.

This message was posted with the photo:

"My grandfather is proud of having voted in every single presidential election since he was awarded his citizenship in order to serve during WWII. Here he is, 93 years old and on his deathbed, with my aunt helping him fill out one last ballot."

But according to the Associated Press:

"Barbara Tanabe read aloud the names of the candidates to her dad. He either nodded 'yes' to the names or shook his head 'no.' She filled in the boxes on his behalf, following his instructions, even when he didn't pick the people she wanted.

"There were some that were OK, but there were others where I said, 'Dad, are you sure?' she said,” the Associated Press reported. “But he knew what he was doing. He's kept up on the issues, reading newspapers regularly until only recently, she said."

During the early years of the war, Tanabe was sent to a California internment camp. There, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. military. He was assigned to the Military Intelligence Service. Last year, that service was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

If Tanabe dies before Election Day, by law his vote would not count, The Atlantic Wire reports.
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« Reply #129 on: October 29, 2012, 12:56:20 PM »

Soldiers of the 3rd Inf Reg. continue to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, despite adverse weather conditions. The tomb has been guarded continuously since April 6, 1948. (Photo courtesy of Karin Markert)
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« Reply #130 on: November 12, 2012, 12:21:19 PM »

Cemetery enshrines the legacy of Vietnam
Ceremonies at Punchbowl honor that war and all troops
By Sarah Zoellick and Michael Tsai
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 12, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 03:11 a.m. HST, Nov 12, 2012
Bruce Asato

Mary Mercier reaches up to touch the name plate of the final resting place of her late husband, Robert G. Mercier, a US Navy veteran, at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe. Mary says she "comes all the time" to ceremonies at the veteran's cemetery that honor the fallen.

When Max Cleland laid a wreath in 1977 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, he saw no "Courts of the Missing" dedicated to the thousands of service members who went missing during the Vietnam War.

On Memorial Day three years later, the future Georgia senator and Vietnam War veteran returned to Punchbowl as head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to dedicate those missing courts.

"But still, there were no (battle) maps," he said.

Sunday, after months of construction and years of preparation, Vietnam battle maps were unveiled during the cemetery's annual Veterans Day ceremony — 50 years after what the U.S. government considers the official start of the war.

Cleland again had a chance to dedicate a significant addition to the memorial. "As Americans we believe it is our duty to tell their story to future generations," he said. "I'm honored to be here today to tell the story of this memorial, and to share the story of those on these walls, and to reflect on those who went before us and gave their lives (so) that we may be free."

The dedication was just one of several events commemorating Veterans Day in Hawaii. Other highlights included ceremonies at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery and the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery; a sunset ceremony at the Battleship Missouri Memorial; a memorial flyover by the Hawaii Air National Guard; and an appearance at Punchbowl by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

In Virginia, newly re-elected President Barack Obama marked the first Veterans Day in a decade with no U.S. military personnel fighting in Iraq. He paid special tribute to "the 9/11 generation who stepped forward after the towers fell, and in the years since, have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known."

Speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the president acknowledged the accomplishments of U.S. personnel in Iraq and Af­ghani­stan and vowed that the United States would take care of its returning soldiers.

"After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home," Obama said.

"As they come home it falls to us, their fellow citizens, to be there for them and their families — not just now, but always; not just for the first few years, but for as long as they walk this Earth."

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka echoed the president's message during Sunday's ceremony at Punchbowl.

"How we treat our veterans defines us as a nation," said Akaka, keynote speaker and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "I feel lucky that I'm an American, and I feel so proud to be an American veteran."

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­­busa, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hono­lulu Mayor Peter Carlisle also attended the morning ceremony, along with the consuls general of Australia, the Philippines and South Korea.

The newly installed Vietnam battle maps are housed in one of two pavilions built at the top of the monument to complement the existing structure (the other pavilion serves as an orientation center for visitors). Gene Castagnetti, director of the cemetery, said the maps are the first federal memorial to the Vietnam War built solely with federal funds.





"This is the first one that is paid for using your tax dollars, and I think when you get an opportunity to see the pavilion, you'll be very satisfied," he said.

The mosaic maps were designed by artist Mary Jacobs, nearly 90 years old, who also crafted the World War II and Korean War battle maps that have been a prominent feature at the cemetery since the 1960s.

William "Bill" Thien, senior vice commander-in-chief for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the maps are a good addition to Punchbowl.

"The good thing is I believe Americans today, they get it," Thien said. "They understand how to separate the war from the warrior. Our Vietnam veterans are getting up in age now … so it's a legacy for our children to be able to come here and see that."

Closing his speech, Cleland urged the audience to reflect on the words of poet Archibald MacLeish, who lost a brother in World War I, that are now inscribed on the Vietnam pavilion.

"The words are these," Cleland said: "‘We leave you our deaths, give them their meaning.'

"That says it all for me."

Cleland and Castagnetti later hosted Panetta, who made a brief visit to the cemetery to lay a wreath in honor of Veterans Day and meet with a select group of veterans repre­senting each major U.S. military conflict dating back to World War II.

The formal ceremony — the playing of the national anthem and taps, the presentation of the wreath, and the official signing of the guestbook — lasted just a few minutes. But while Panetta, who flew directly from the earlier ceremony at Arlington, did not address the assembled crowd, he did spend several minutes chatting individually with each of the veterans and their families.

"He was a very nice guy," said World War II veteran Masa­haru Saito, a member of the famed 100th Battalion, as he showed off one of the commemorative medallions Panetta presented to each veteran.

Robert Talmadge, president of the Aloha Chapter of the Chosin Few and a Korean War veteran, said he appreciated Panetta's presence at the national cemetery.

"These days it's important to honor our veterans and show our appreciation for their sacrifices," Talmadge said. "As a veteran it's not something I think about necessarily. But when I'm at Safeway and someone comes up and thanks me for my service, well, it's nice to have that expressed."

Talmadge didn't have time to ask Panetta about his family's Italian roots (Talmadge's wife's family hails from Italy), but said he enjoyed meeting the former CIA director anyway.

Herb Schreiner, who served in the Air Force during the Korean War, said he hoped Panetta's appearance would help to bring attention to the plight of the country's youngest veterans.

Schreiner, whose younger brother died while serving in Korea, volunteers at Tripler Army Medical Center.

"Every day I see these young kids with no arms, no legs. I see beautiful young women with their faces burned. And what is sad is that the only people who come to see them are their families. A lot of them are from the mainland, so they don't even have family here.

"A lot of people say they support our veterans," Schreiner said. "I say, if you want to honor them, go visit them."

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« Reply #131 on: November 29, 2012, 02:48:22 PM »

NYPD officer's act of kindness goes viral on Facebook
Published November 29, 2012

NEW YORK –  An NYPD officer's act of kindness has gone viral on Facebook.

Jennifer Foster, a Florence, Ariz., tourist, posted a photograph of the officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots and socks on a frigid night in Times Square on Nov. 17.

"'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you,"' Foster quoted DePrimo as saying to the homeless man. "The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching."

The image became an instant hit on the NYPD's Facebook page. More than 308,861 users "liked" his generosity as of Thursday morning.

Newsday identified him as Larry DePrimo of Holbrook, Long Island. He's assigned to the 6th Precinct in Manhattan.

The homeless man said he'd never had a pair of shoes. DePrimo purchased a pair of insulated boots and thermal socks and put them on the man's feet.

DePrimo said the man "smiled from ear to ear. It was like you gave him a million dollars."

He told The New York Times that "it was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet. I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.” He learned the man's shoe size was 12.

The police officer went into a nearby Sketchers shoe store and the manager offered him his employees' discount, which brought the price of the boots from $100 to $75, the paper reported.

"Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing," Jose Cano, 28, a manager at the store, told the Times. "Especially in this neighborhood."
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« Reply #132 on: November 30, 2012, 04:54:40 AM »

NYPD officer's act of kindness goes viral on Facebook
Published November 29, 2012

NEW YORK –  An NYPD officer's act of kindness has gone viral on Facebook.

Jennifer Foster, a Florence, Ariz., tourist, posted a photograph of the officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots and socks on a frigid night in Times Square on Nov. 17.

"'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you,"' Foster quoted DePrimo as saying to the homeless man. "The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching."

The image became an instant hit on the NYPD's Facebook page. More than 308,861 users "liked" his generosity as of Thursday morning.

Newsday identified him as Larry DePrimo of Holbrook, Long Island. He's assigned to the 6th Precinct in Manhattan.

The homeless man said he'd never had a pair of shoes. DePrimo purchased a pair of insulated boots and thermal socks and put them on the man's feet.

DePrimo said the man "smiled from ear to ear. It was like you gave him a million dollars."

He told The New York Times that "it was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet. I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.” He learned the man's shoe size was 12.

The police officer went into a nearby Sketchers shoe store and the manager offered him his employees' discount, which brought the price of the boots from $100 to $75, the paper reported.

"Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing," Jose Cano, 28, a manager at the store, told the Times. "Especially in this neighborhood."

That cop must be a dirty commie.

Helping those who need it? Thats not very american.

That unemployed welfare bum dont deserve help. He is unemployed by choice.
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« Reply #133 on: December 09, 2012, 08:02:24 PM »

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« Reply #134 on: December 10, 2012, 11:27:23 AM »

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« Reply #135 on: December 18, 2012, 11:02:27 AM »

A war hero to a U.S. senator
By Derrick DePledge
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 02:31 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

Daniel Ken Inouye, the grandson of Japanese immigrants, sacrificed his right arm for his country in combat during World War II and devoted much of his life as an unwavering voice for Hawaii in the U.S. Senate.

Inouye was a monumental force in Hawaii politics who represented the islands as a Democrat in Washington, D.C., with poise and dignity since statehood in 1959. He was the first Japanese-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and over nine terms he rose to become the Senate President Pro Tempore, third in line to the presidency.

Inouye, who was given the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, for his bravery on the battlefield in Italy in World War II, had prominent roles in the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and in congressional investigations into the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals in the 1970s and 1980s.

Inouye was a patriot who believed in military expansion yet had a soldier's view of war. He was a respected voice on equality and civil rights who had experienced the stain of racism firsthand.

But the senator was probably best known as an unapologetic advocate for Hawaii. For a half-century, Inouye directed billions in federal money that helped transform the islands from sugar and pineapple plantations into a prosperous state known worldwide for its tourism and strategic military value.

"There have only been a very few people who have been able to fulfill that role with great success. And his was the greatest success," said Tom Coffman, a Hawaii author and historian.

Inouye never lost an election and earned over two million votes during a political career that began with the historic Democratic takeover of the Territorial Legislature in 1954 and ended with his ninth Senate victory in 2010. The senator, who was often uncomfortable with public attention, preferred to stay mostly in the background nationally but could be merciless when it came to using his influence for Hawaii.

"He's long been known as a fierce protector of home-state interests," said Christopher Deering, a political science professor at George Washington University in Washington, where Inouye went to law school. "He's also been a highly respected inside player."

Opportunity Awaits

Born in Honolulu on Sept. 7, 1924, at home on Queen Emma Street with the help of a midwife, Inouye grew up in McCully and Moiliili, which were then largely poor, working-class Japanese-American neighborhoods.

His father, Hyotaro, came to Hawaii as a young boy with his parents, who were lured by recruiters to work in the sugar plantations on Kauai. They had planned to stay only long enough to pay off a $400 debt caused by a fire that had started in the family home in Yokoyama, a small village in southern Japan. But they ended up making a new life in the islands over the decades it took to raise the money and send it back home to compensate the other villagers.

His mother, Kame, was born on Maui to Japanese parents but orphaned as a young girl. She lived with a Hawaiian family and, later, the Rev. Daniel Klinefelter, who led a Methodist orphanage, and had a deep respect for both Hawaiian culture and Christianity.

Inouye's parents met at church and always preached family honor and discipline, a blend of Japanese tradition and Methodist sensibility. Inouye was the eldest of four children — sister May and brothers John and Robert — and was named for Klinefelter and the biblical prophet Daniel.

In his 1967 autobiography, "Journey to Washington," written with Lawrence Elliott of Reader's Digest, Inouye recalled that he did not wear shoes regularly until he reached McKinley High School. His father, a jewelry clerk, and his mother, a homemaker, "were so caught up in the adventure of raising a family, and worked so hard to preserve and protect it, that apparently they had no time to worry about being poor.

"There was always enough to eat in our house — although sometimes barely — but even more important there was a fanatic conviction that opportunity awaited those who had the heart and strength to pursue it."

Inouye learned to speak Japanese at home and attended Japanese school in the afternoons after his public-school classes had ended. But he always saw himself as an American first and took the country's revolutionary history and the democratic ideals of the Founding Fathers as his own. He explained, with some degree of pride, that he was thrown out of Japanese school as a teenager for challenging a jingoistic priest.

His family, he wrote, had "a sort of built-in eagerness to become part of the mainstream of American life."

As a teenager, Inouye liked tropical fish, homing pigeons and Big Band giants like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. He also liked pool and cockfighting, but said the closest thing he came to real trouble was being caught underage at a pool hall.

Inouye wanted to be a doctor and had taken a first-aid course from the American Red Cross, but he was not emotionally prepared for what he saw after Japanese fighter planes filled the skies over Oahu on Dec. 7, 1941.

The Red Cross called him into service at an aid station at Lunalilo School, where he cared for the civilian victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor, including many who were injured by friendly fire.

The surprise bombing, which he would later describe as a "monstrous betrayal," changed the direction of his life. It also exposed him to the racism that infected the United States, even in a territory as diverse as Hawaii. He felt no matter what Japanese-Americans did to fight Japan and Germany in World War II, or the extent of their sacrifices at home, "there would always be those who would look at us and think — and some would say it out loud — ‘dirty Jap.'"

At the time, nisei were not allowed in the military, so Inouye enrolled in pre-medical courses at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed in 1943 to let nisei volunteer for the war, Inouye believed the president was speaking to him. "Americanism is a matter for the mind and heart," Roosevelt said. "Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry."

Inouye was initially passed over by the Army because he was already serving the war effort with the Red Cross. But he was so eager, and so driven by instinct to prove his loyalty, that he quit the aid station and was among the last chosen in Hawaii for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. "All I wanted to do was carry a rifle," he remembered.

His father gave him a simple piece of advice before he left for basic training on the Mainland: "Don't bring dishonor to the family."

Drawn from nisei volunteers from different social backgrounds, the segregated 442nd had to overcome tensions between the "Buddhaheads" — brash young men from Hawaii, where much of the population was Asian or Hawaiian — and the "Katonks" — more reserved young men from the mainland, who were more culturally isolated and lived in places where racism was much more overt. At Camp Shelby in Mississippi, there was bad blood, fist-fights and some real doubts about whether the nisei could work together as a combat unit. (The Katonks got their nickname for the sound of being whacked on the head.)

Years later, Inouye told an interviewer for the 1992 book, "Boyhood to War," a collection of anecdotes about the 442nd by Dorothy Matsuo, that the mood changed when the soldiers visited a Japanese internment camp in Arkansas. The Buddhaheads realized that some Katonks had volunteered even though their friends and families were locked behind barbed wire. "The Hawaiian asked himself that day, ‘Would I have volunteered?'" Inouye said. "I would like to say, ‘Yes.' But not having faced it, I can't say what I would have done."

Go for Broke

Inouye, a sergeant when the 442nd landed in Europe, was promoted to first lieutenant as the nisei moved through Italy, then France, then back to Italy in the waning days of the war. The 442nd won a reputation for courage — their motto was "Go for Broke" — and along with the nisei in the 100th Infantry Battalion would become among the most decorated units in U.S. military history.

In his own descriptions and in the recollections of others, Inouye was a leader who genuinely cared for his men and lost few in battle. He was not a saint. He acknowledged running a lucrative crap game. He said he once used a church tower as an observation post. He said he took a wristwatch — which he gave away — and a gun off a German colonel. He lifted a silver ring off the hand of a dead French woman.

Inouye had been warned not to take risks, that the war was almost over, as he moved his platoon against the Germans dug in along a ridge at Colle Musatello near San Terenzo in northern Italy in April 1945. But Inouye had orders to take the ridge.

According to "Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team," a vivid account written by Army Maj. Orville Shirey in 1946, Inouye crawled up a slope and tossed two hand grenades into a German machine-gun nest. He stood up with his tommy gun and raked a second machine-gun nest before being shot in the stomach. But he kept charging until his right arm was hit by an enemy rifle grenade and shattered.

"And as I drew my arm back, all in a flash of light and dark I saw him, that faceless German, like a strip of a motion picture film running through a projector that's gone berserk. One instant he was standing waist-high in the bunker, and the next he was aiming a rifle grenade at my face from a range of 10 yards," Inouye wrote in his autobiography.

"And even as I cocked my arm to throw, he fired and his rifle grenade smashed into my right elbow and exploded and all but tore my arm off. I looked at it, stunned and disbelieving. It dangled there by a few bloody shreds of tissue, my grenade still clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore."

Inouye wrote that he pried the grenade out of his right hand and threw it at the German gunman, who was killed by the explosion. He then continued firing his gun until he was shot in the right leg and knocked down the hillside. Badly wounded, he ordered his men to keep attacking and they took the ridge from the enemy.

Within a few days after the battle, the fighting was over in Italy. Less than two weeks later, Germany surrendered.

Inouye was promoted to second lieutenant and, before he was discharged, to captain. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, but received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster to go along with a Bronze Star. President Bill Clinton belatedly recognized Inouye and 21 other Asian-American veterans in 2000 with the Medal of Honor. "Rarely has a nation been so well-served by a people it has so ill-treated," Clinton said at the White House ceremony.

Inouye had multiple operations to treat his wounds and spent nearly two years of grueling rehabilitation on the mainland to learn how to function without his right arm, which had been amputated. He said he was fitted for a prosthetic arm, and learned how to use it, but it never felt comfortable, so he preferred an empty sleeve.

Remarkably, three of the young soldiers who were treated at Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich. — Inouye, Robert Dole of Kansas, and Philip Hart of Michigan — would serve with distinction in the U.S. Senate. Inouye liked to say that it was Dole, who would become the Republican majority leader and the GOP's presidential nominee in 1996, who planted the seed of a career in politics.

When Inouye finally had his Hawaii homecoming after the war, he knew he would never be a surgeon.

Historic takeover

After the war, Hawaii was on the brink of social change. Japanese-Americans were a third of the state's population, and the nisei veterans soon realized their political potential. Republicans had dominated state politics since the overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, but had grown stodgy as the voice of the Big Five corporations that still mostly ran the Islands. The Democrats were largely controlled by the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union.

Inouye enrolled in pre-law classes at UH under the GI Bill with an eye toward politics, not the courtroom. He met Margaret Shinobu Awamura, a UH speech instructor who had earned a master's in education at Columbia University in New York, and on their second date asked her to marry him.

Although their courtship was typical of young Hawaii couples — he proposed while parked off the beach at Ala Moana — out of Japanese tradition and respect for their parents they allowed family friends to be matchmakers and arrange their marriage.

His wife was the breadwinner while Inouye finished classes at UH. He completed law school at George Washington University a few blocks from the White House, which Inouye chose so he could soak up the political atmosphere of the nation's capital.

When the couple came back home, and the day after Inouye passed the state bar exam, he was appointed deputy city prosecutor. Inouye had already been volunteering for Democrats in Washington and Hawaii and had become a disciple of John Burns, a former Honolulu police captain who had stood up for the rights of Japanese-Americans during the war.

Burns, who would later become the state's most revered governor, was a talisman for many young Democrats. He was an advocate for workers and civil rights and saw the political value of linking the union movement with the struggles of emerging Japanese-Americans. It was Burns who urged Inouye to run for the Territorial House in 1954.

Organized labor was — and still is — the motor within the Democratic Party of Hawaii. Japanese-Americans brought race and class to the surface, along with the passion of the nisei who had fought for their country and were not about to meekly return to the status quo.

Several nisei veterans banded together to form Central Pacific Bank to serve a Japanese immigrant community that had been isolated and stigmatized during the war. Inouye bought into the bank with a minimum share of $300 and became secretary.

During the 1954 campaign, some Republicans portrayed Democrats as tools of the ILWU and even communist sympathizers. Inouye became so furious at one event in Aina Haina that he used his disability as a political weapon. "I held up my empty right sleeve and shook it," he wrote. "I gave this arm to fight fascists," he told the audience. "If my country wants the other one to fight communism, it can have it."

The Democratic takeover of the Legislature in 1954 was a pivotal moment in Hawaii's history, leading to more than a half-century of nearly unbroken party rule. Along with Inouye, the class of new lawmakers included future U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga and future Gov. George Ariyoshi.

With Democrats unaccustomed to power, the first few years after the takeover were often messy, with internal strife and grandiose visions of change. Inouye, who lost a bid for House speaker but was selected majority leader, recalled writing U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn, a Texas Democrat, for advice.

Big ideas — equal opportunity, worker rights, access to healthcare, better public schools — also took root during the chaos.

Inouye, who was elected to the Territorial Senate in 1958, gained political experience and name recognition that would position him for federal election after Hawaii became a state in 1959.

Much of Hawaii's ruling class had initially been against statehood, since the wealthy and privileged thrived under federal oversight as a territory. But popular sentiment was in favor of officially joining the union.

Nationally, some in Congress resisted statehood because of Hawaii's racial makeup, particularly the large number of Japanese-Americans. Burns, by then a territorial delegate to Congress, had to help mollify Southern Democrats who worried the new Hawaii lawmakers would challenge racial segregation on the mainland.

Inouye had wanted to run for U.S. Senate in the special election after statehood in 1959 but was persuaded by party elders to campaign instead for the U.S. House. Inouye had promised young attorney Patsy Mink, who had already declared for the House, that he would not run against her in the primary, so his decision to switch just before the filing deadline was awkward. Inouye beat Mink in the primary and then cruised in the general election, becoming the first Japanese-American in the House.

Rayburn, who was notoriously gruff but had a soft spot for young men with promise, had trouble pronouncing Inouye's name at first. The speaker told the new representative he was probably among the best known on Capitol Hill. "Why? Well, just think about it son," Inouye recalled Rayburn saying. "How many one-arm Japanese do you think we have in the Congress of the United States?"

In a House speech marking the third anniversary of statehood, U.S. Rep. Leo O'Brien, a New York Democrat, recalled the day Inouye was asked to raise his right hand and take the oath of office. "There was no right hand, Mr. Speaker," O'Brien said. "It had been lost in combat by that young American soldier in World War II. Who can deny that, at that moment, a ton of prejudice slipped quietly to the floor of the House of Representatives?"

Inouye's early display of party loyalty — of waiting his turn — paid off in 1962, when Democrats rallied behind him to replace the aging Oren Long, who was retiring from the U.S. Senate. His campaign against Benjamin Dillingham, a Republican from one of the state's prominent families, showed how much Hawaii had changed politically since the war. Inouye won with a stunning 69 percent of the vote.

At 38, he was a United States senator. He would never come close to losing an election.

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« Reply #136 on: December 18, 2012, 11:03:25 AM »

Keynote speaker

Prophetically, given Inouye's eventual mastery of Senate rules, his first speech in the Senate was to save the filibuster. The same Southern Democrats who had been suspicious of statehood had used the filibuster — a unique procedural tool — to stall new civil-rights laws. Senators can use filibusters to take control of the floor and literally talk bills to death by refusing to yield until there is a two-thirds' vote. But some liberals wanted to change the rules to allow filibusters to be broken by a majority vote.

Inouye was thinking of Hawaii, not civil rights or Southern Democrats, when he spoke in favor of a strong filibuster. The tool — which can only be overcome by the votes of 60 of the chamber's 100 senators — can be an instrument of equality, giving senators from Hawaii the same power to stop legislation as senators from bigger states like New York or California.

"I represent a small state," Inouye explained to a local reporter. "There may come a time when a proposal before the Senate seriously threatens our state. When and if that time comes, I would not want to see the small voice of Hawaii choked off by parliamentary maneuvers."

Inouye thought of Rayburn as a mentor in the House and aligned himself with U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson, another powerful Texas Democrat and Rayburn protege, even before he arrived in the Senate.

Inouye had campaigned for Johnson in his unsuccessful run against U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination, where he learned a crude lesson about identity politics. Inouye was dispatched to a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People rally in Los Angeles to speak for Johnson. He was prepared to explain why a young Japanese-American was for a son of the segregated South, but the black leaders — unimpressed — kept him waiting backstage for over four hours. Finally, they told Inouye they wanted Johnson or nobody.

"It was a bitter experience and I tasted the bitterness in my mouth all the way out of that place," he wrote.

When Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and Johnson — the vice president — became president, Inouye had a closer tie with the White House.

Inouye was in harmony with Johnson's Great Society social programs, which were aimed at fighting poverty and ending racial injustice. He also agreed with the president on the need for the Vietnam War. As a young senator from a faraway state, Inouye's connection to the White House and the establishment Democrats who ran the Senate, especially U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, would help him advance in a chamber where personal relationships mean everything.

In the late 1960s, as Vietnam was beginning to tear the country along generational lines, the Democratic Party also needed someone like Inouye. His youth, his racial background and his military heroism made him a compelling figure. The senator's name was even floated by Mansfield as a potential vice president to Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota as the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago approached.

Inouye was given the convention's keynote address, a prime spot usually reserved for rising stars who personify the party's message. Although the convention will be remembered historically for the violent street clashes between anti-war protesters and Chicago police, Inouye's appearance on the national stage was a milestone for Hawaii.

Local sponsors paid $7,500 so KGMB could televise the speech via satellite, the first time people in the islands were able to view a convention speech live. Bob Krauss, The Honolulu Advertiser's popular columnist, watched with Inouye's parents in their Coyne Street home. "Where else can a boy like Dan become like that?" Inouye's mother, Kame, said proudly. "This is America."

Inouye described the Vietnam War as immoral. But he defended Johnson's plan for peace through political negotiation with the Viet Cong rather than escalated military force or immediate withdrawal. He recognized the racial and social upheaval in the inner cities and the anger of the anti-war movement but warned against the temptation to cut down establishment institutions. "This is my country," he said. "Many of us have fought hard to say that. Many are struggling today from Harlem to Da Nang that they may say it with conviction."

In the months and years that followed, as Democrats lost the White House to President Richard Nixon and public support for the war collapsed, Inouye's views on Vietnam shifted. While the senator would always be a fierce ally of the military, after Vietnam, he was much more skeptical about the justification used for war.

"This was a war with racial overtones," he told an interviewer from consumer advocate Ralph Nader's Congress Project. "Would My Lai have happened in Paris?"

On the 40th anniversary of his speech in Chicago, in an interview with The Advertiser, Inouye described how Johnson had led him to believe at the convention that he would be offered the vice presidential slot. Inouye said he told Humphrey, Johnson's vice president, that he was not interested.

The senator's account was later corroborated when telephone recordings of Johnson's last months in office were released publicly.

Johnson, according to a CBS News transcript, told Humphrey that Inouye could help answer any doubts on Vietnam. "He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with Nixon with that empty sleeve. He has that brown face," Johnson said.

"I guess maybe, it's just taking me a little too far, too fast," Humphrey responded. "Old, conservative Humphrey."


Inouye had a reputation in the Senate for integrity and intelligence and he was picked by Mansfield, over his initial objection, as one of seven senators to serve on a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal that engulfed the Nixon administration in the early 1970s. President Nixon and his aides were accused of a pattern of corruption that became public after the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel and office complex.

The Watergate hearings were nationally televised and made the senators, including the distinctive Inouye, household names. Inouye would appear on national and international news and talk shows and he was rated by the public as among the most favorable for his fair yet sometimes blunt interrogation.

At one hearing, Inouye, unaware a microphone was still on, was overheard saying, "What a liar," after the testimony of White House domestic affairs aide John Ehrlichman. The senator at first denied the remark, then said he was speaking to himself. But the misstep was overshadowed a week later when John Wilson, the attorney for White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, was asked by reporters how he felt about the probing questions of U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker, a Connecticut Republican.

"Oh, I don't mind Senator Weicker," Wilson said. "What I mind is that little Jap."

Inouye did not appear to capitalize on his new popularity or use Watergate for partisan advantage after Nixon resigned in 1974 rather than face impeachment. He told Big Island Democrats in one speech that, "Watergate is not a partisan tragedy. It is a national tragedy."

Inouye's fame from Watergate led to scrutiny of his own campaign finances. Henry Giugni, a former Honolulu police officer and liquor inspector who had been a confidant of Inouye's since the Territorial Legislature, failed to report a $5,650 contribution to the senator from shipping magnate and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Giugni also admitted accepting an illegal $5,000 contribution to Inouye from an oil industry lobbyist.

Inouye stuck by his friend — who later became the Senate's sergeant-at-arms and an influential lobbyist — and his reputation did not suffer from the mistakes.

Senate leaders again turned to Inouye when, after embarrassing disclosures that the CIA and the FBI had spied on Americans, they created a select committee on intelligence to oversee government surveillance. The senator said the fear of government eavesdropping was so pervasive that he had seen other senators use pay telephones in case their office phones were bugged.

In one speech on government spying to the American Civil Liberties Union, Inouye warned of a danger to civil liberties that he would repeat more than three decades later when President George W. Bush increased domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"Perhaps the most disturbing of all aspects of government data collection is the surreptitious surveillance and intelligence operations to collect information on innocent citizens whose political views and activities are opposed to those of the administration," he said.

Painful episode

Inouye's national prominence seemed to peak in the 1970s and 1980s. His name had surfaced as a possible vice presidential contender, but he would always dismiss any aspirations beyond the Senate, where he had friends and power.

He was becoming one of the Senate's "old bulls," conscious of its history and traditions, protective of its intricate procedures and the value placed on seniority.

It was Inouye who took the uncomfortable but necessary job as advocate for U.S. Sen. Harrison Williams, a New Jersey Democrat, when the Senate sought to expel him after his bribery convictions in the Abscam scandal. Williams had been caught on videotape trading his influence for an interest in a titanium mine with an undercover FBI agent posing as an Arab sheik.

Inouye, who essentially served as Williams' defense attorney on the Senate floor, said the Senate had only previously expelled senators for treason. Williams resigned in 1982 to avoid expulsion.

The entry on Inouye in the 1984 "Politics in America," a snapshot of the nation's political landscape published every two years by Congressional Quarterly, said the senator's "role in developing legislation has not matched either his seniority or his popularity."

But Senate leaders again came to Inouye with a politically sensitive assignment. He was asked to lead a select committee to investigate the Iran-Contra affair, a scheme by the Reagan administration to trade arms for American hostages in Iran and use some of the proceeds from arms sales to help finance a Contra rebellion against the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Like Watergate, the committee's hearings were televised nationally and put Inouye in the spotlight. The committee found that Iran-Contra was "characterized by pervasive dishonesty and inordinate secrecy." The senator conducted the probe with grace and uncovered some damaging revelations, but the trail never quite reached President Ronald Reagan and the public's verdict was much more indifferent than it was after Watergate.

Lt. Col. Oliver North, the telegenic Marine at the center of the scandal, wore his uniform and medals to the hearings and was a sympathetic figure to many Americans. As a sly counterpunch — and perhaps to remind viewers that he, too, was a patriot — Inouye wore his Distinguished Service Cross lapel pin.

Mike Royko, the legendary Chicago newspaper columnist, wrote that Inouye came across as an "inscrutable Buddha." But the senator scored when he publicly scolded North, who had admitted lying to Congress, for suggesting that lawmakers often leaked sensitive information. "I can also understand why North looked more subdued at that point than he has during the entire hearing," Royko wrote. "He knew he was being chewed out by a genuine hero."

Inouye's higher profile from Iran-Contra would, like after Watergate, come with some backlash. The senator was criticized for inserting $8 million into a foreign operations bill to build parochial schools in France for North African Jews. Inouye had become among Israel's most important allies in the Senate and had spoken against the historic injustices to Jews, so his support for the schools was not out of character. But it turned out he had received a $1,000 campaign contribution from a friend, New York real-estate developer Zev Wolfson, who was on the board of the charitable group that would oversee the federal money going to France.

Inouye at first defended the appropriation as proper but later apologized and asked that the money be withdrawn.

The timing of his uneven reviews on Iran-Contra and the bad press on the Jewish schools was not ideal. Inouye, at 64, was interested in replacing U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia as majority leader after the 1988 elections. Senate Democrats were looking for a national spokesman — a fresher face who could communicate effectively on television — and while Inouye had a cadre behind him, they would choose U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine. Mitchell, who led the party's Senate campaign committee when Democrats took back the Senate in 1986 and had blossomed during the Iran-Contra hearings, won 27 of the 55 Democratic votes. Inouye and U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana each had 14.

The leadership defeat was a disappointment to Inouye, but not nearly as personally painful as an episode that would soil his 1992 re-election campaign. His Republican opponent, state Sen. Rick Reed of Maui, obtained a tape recording of Inouye's longtime hairstylist, Lenore Kwock, claiming Inouye had pressured her into sex in 1975 and later sexually harassed her.

Reed was criticized — by Kwock and the leaders of his own party — for going public with the steamy allegations in campaign advertisements. Inouye denied the claims and won re-election with 54 percent of the vote, the lowest victory margin of his career. But Inouye was stung when nine other women told a state lawmaker after the election that they were also sexually harassed by the senator.

Womens' rights groups asked for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, while Inouye called the anonymous new charges "unmitigated lies." Kwock, who said she had forgiven Inouye, refused to cooperate with Senate investigators. The senator's other accusers never came forward publicly, so the inquiry was dropped.

Inouye insisted the accusations had no impact on his effectiveness in the Senate, which was torn at the time by sexual harassment allegations against U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, an Oregon Republican who would eventually resign in disgrace.

"But it has had a major impact on my life, which has become a living hell," Inouye told a local reporter.

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« Reply #137 on: December 18, 2012, 11:04:03 AM »

Success for Hawaii

Historians might debate whether Inouye made the most of his power nationally, but there is no dispute about his influence on Hawaii.

From his first days in the House after statehood to his last as one of the Senate's senior members, Inouye fought to make sure the Islands were not shortchanged when it came to federal spending. Inouye was a voice for sugar, pineapple and shipping, for highways, airports and harbors, for the East-West Center, for UH and, most significantly, for the military. The senator worked to help make Hawaii the most important strategic location for the military in the Pacific, and the military became, along with tourism, the foundation of the state's economy.

From a perch on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and through collaboration with his good friend, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, Inouye was able to deliver federal money no matter which political party controlled Congress or the White House. The pair also held top posts on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has control over maritime, aviation and other federal policy issues critical to the Islands.

Inouye, who was reserved and deliberative, and Stevens, who was aggressive and abrasive, considered each other brothers-in-arms for their underdog states.

Some of Inouye's attempts to help Hawaii backfired. Inouye and U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, supported "Project America," which involved federal loan guarantees for two new cruise ships that were to be constructed at a Mississippi shipyard for use in Hawaii. The effort failed after American Classic Voyages, the crusie ship company, went bankrupt after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, costing taxpayers millions.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who often clashed with Inouye on federal spending, called the "Project America" loans "one of the most incredible boondoggles in recent history."

Citizens Against Government Waste typically ranked Inouye and Stevens as among the worst for what it called "pork," federal spending that is earmarked by lawmakers for local projects or that does not go through the formal presidential budget request or congressional authorization process.

Yet both men saw the criticism as a compliment, proof they were just as skilled as any of their colleagues from more established states, if not more so, in the dealmaking of the Senate.

"I'm not embarrassed or ashamed by what they call earmarks," Inouye told a reporter.

Inouye stood by Stevens, and even raised money and campaigned for his re-election, after Stevens was indicted in 2008 by a federal grand jury for not disclosing gifts from Alaska oil company executives. Stevens lost his re-election campaign, but a federal judge later set aside his conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

When Inouye realized his coveted goal of becoming chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2009, the moment was bittersweet because Stevens was no longer by his side.

Inouye was known mostly for bringing home federal money, but he also used his influence to change federal policy to benefit Hawaii, promote civil rights and preserve native cultures.

Inouye helped get an exemption to federal health and pension law so Hawaii could have the landmark Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974, which requires companies to provide health insurance to employees who work more than 20 hours a week. The senator won an exemption from federal environmental law that allowed construction to go forward on H-3, the interstate that linked Honolulu and Windward Oahu. He worked on an effort to require the Navy to clean up its firing range and return the island of Kahoolawe to the state so it could be restored as a Hawaiian cultural site. The senator urged the Navy to transfer the historic battleship USS Missouri for a memorial at Pearl Harbor. He obtained an exemption to federal maritime law that allowed Norwegian Cruise Line to operate its foreign-built cruise ships under U.S. flags in Hawaii, which revived cruises between the islands.

Inouye helped set in motion the process that eventually led President Reagan in 1988 to apologize and provide $20,000 each to the survivors of Japanese internment during World War II, an injustice that gnawed at him since he was a young GI.

The senator secured $20 million for a center on preserving democracy at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Appalled at the federal government's treatment of American Indians after learning their history as a leader on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Inouye became a passionate advocate for Indian self-determination and was among the main forces behind the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in Washington.

Inouye slipped language into a defense spending bill that fulfilled a government promise and provided $15,000 — $9,000 for noncitizens — to Filipinos who fought on behalf of the United States during World War II.

Working with U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat, Inouye helped win historic passage of a resolution signed by President Clinton in 1993 formally apologizing for the U.S. government's role in the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii. In a Senate floor speech, Inouye said the resolution was not a step toward Hawaiian independence, but rather a reconciliation between the federal government and a people who had been wronged. "It was authored by my friend from Hawaii because he loves America," Inouye said of Akaka, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry. "It is because of our love for this nation that this resolution was presented, to make it possible for all of us, even after 100 years, to cleanse one of our pages, to make it a bit brighter."

The senator also supported Akaka's Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, which would create a process for Hawaiians to form their own sovereign government similar to American Indians and Native Alaskans.

Some Hawaiians have doubted Inouye's commitment to sovereignty, while others believed that, given his personal history, he was uncomfortable with the anti-American tone prevalent in some of the movement's extremes. Some Hawaiians also resent the senator's role in the military expansion of the islands, including military training on land Hawaiians consider sacred.

But Inouye empathized with the Hawaiian struggle and helped steer millions in federal money annually to Hawaiian education, health and cultural programs. "I've tried my best, although it's impossible, to put myself in their shoes," Inouye told Heather Giugni for her 2003 biographical film on the senator. "And when I do that, I somehow get the feeling that if I were in their position, I may be screaming also."

An Icon

Inouye, by his own preference, rarely spoke on the Senate floor in his later years and often shunned the national news media. Some of his friends would say it was Japanese and Hawaii style to stay humble and avoid self-promotion, to get things done quietly. But some may forget that Inouye co-wrote his autobiography at 43 and seemed to enjoy the national media attention when he was younger.

As an elder statesman, Inouye became more of an icon, a symbol Democrats would often turn to when their valor or patriotism were challenged. After President Bush questioned the Democrats' commitment to national security in the months before the war in Iraq, some Democrats said the president owed senators like Inouye an apology.

Inouye, whose outlook on war had changed sharply after Vietnam, opposed the Persian Gulf War with Iraq in 1991 and voted against giving Bush the authority to use force against Iraq before the second invasion in 2003.

"I can assure you this is not a time for Democrats and Republicans to say I have more medals than you, and I have lost more limbs than you, and we have shed more blood than you," Inouye said in a Senate speech in September 2002. "This is not the time for that. This is a time in which we should be working together, debating this issue. As the senator from West Virginia said, it is American to question the president. It is American to debate the issues."

Inouye also became an icon back in the islands. The party he had helped create to smash the Republican status quo in 1954 had itself become complacent and entrenched. The senator, his aides, and his allies in business and labor were often the last word on party strategy, candidate selection and internal disputes. But they could not always hold competing factions together.

Linda Lingle's victory in 2002, the first time a Republican had taken Washington Place in four decades, and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case's Democratic primary challenge to Akaka in 2006, were signs that the state's political culture had changed from under Inouye.

When Hawaii-born U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Inouye said he was too inexperienced and faithfully stuck with U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York through the primaries. Obama drew record numbers of Democrats to the party's usually overlooked caucuses in the Islands and easily beat Clinton despite Inouye's preference.

For a younger generation, or for recent mainland transplants, Inouye was often viewed more as a remote figure of official Washington than an island boy with an easy smile.

But anyone who had lost personal touch with the senator was able to see his human side after his loyal friend Giugni died in November 2005 and his beloved wife, Maggie, passed away at 81 in March 2006.

"I needed someone to maybe bounce off ideas, or someone who felt confident enough to be critical when it was justified, and he was the one," Inouye said of Giugni. "I told him, that's the nature of our relationship and our friendship. If you can't do that, I don't want you around me, because I can have dozens of people who can brown-nose you, if you know what I mean. They're all over the place."

The Inouyes, with their son, Ken, had always been protective of their family life and their home in Bethesda, Md. But the senator talked frankly about the loss of his wife. "She was my inspiration, and all that I have accomplished could not have been done without her at my side," he said. "We were a team."

In May 2008, Inouye married Irene Hirano, the former president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, whom he had known for more than two decades. "The most important reaction is the one from my son," the senator told a local reporter. "And he said, ‘Dad, you outdid yourself.'"

Ken and his wife, Jessica, made Inouye a grandfather when they had a daughter, Maggie.

Inouye avoided public talk about his legacy and liked to say that no one is indispensable. Other senators of his stature have monuments to their success — the airport in Anchorage is named for Stevens; a highway, federal building, and a statue at the state Capitol in Charleston are among the many honors for Byrd — but Inouye resisted.

As he watched contemporaries pass, he would sometimes reflect on his own mortality. After U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who served with Inouye for 47 years, died in August 2009, Inouye said: "None of us walk on water. The day will come for all of us. I hope I can do it as nobly as he has."

Akaka, speaking about his colleague's spirit, once told local Democrats the story about a fading black-and-white photograph of a young Inouye with four other nisei soldiers of the 442nd before they were sent off to the front in Italy.

One of the other veterans in the photo, who had not seen Inouye since the war, had brought the picture to a meeting with Inouye in Washington.

Inouye looked at the photo and realized that the only soldier who was not smiling was the only one who was dead.

"And I'm still smiling," the senator told his friend as he leaned back in his chair. "And intend to do so for quite awhile."

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« Reply #138 on: December 27, 2012, 04:50:56 PM »

Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dies
7:26p.m. EST December 27, 2012

(Photo: Associated Press/WIDE WORLD PHOT)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78.

The official tells The Associated Press that Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. The official wasn't authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.

He lived in retirement in Tampa, where he had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command. That is the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.
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« Reply #139 on: December 27, 2012, 04:54:13 PM »




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« Reply #140 on: February 11, 2013, 02:24:31 PM »

Obama awards Medal of Honor to hero of Afghan battle

Video: President Obama awarded former Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his leadership efforts in a 2009 attack by the Taliban on Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan.

By William Branigin, Feb 11, 2013 07:43 PM EST

The Washington Post President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday to a former Army staff sergeant for his courageous actions in defending a remote combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan from a 2009 insurgent attack that left eight other Americans dead and 22 wounded.

Clinton L. Romesha, a section leader in a unit of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division during the Oct. 3, 2009, attack on Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh District of Nurestan province, became the fourth living recipient to be awarded the nation’s highest military honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He was wounded by shrapnel during the fierce 12-hour battle, in which he was credited with saving the lives of fellow soldiers pinned down by heavy fire from Afghan insurgents belonging to or allied with the Taliban.

The battle, one of America’s deadliest in the Afghan war, demonstrated the bravery and resourcefulness of Romesha and other U.S. troops in carrying out their mission. But it also illustrated the complexity of the Afghan insurgency. And it exposed the flaws of the military’s counterinsurgency strategy at the time and the inertia of higher-ups in dealing with an increasingly untenable situation in the mountainous area near the border with Pakistan.

Before awarding the medal to Romesha, Obama recognized family members of the eight American soldiers who died in the battle and the surviving members of the unit.

“These men were outnumbered, outgunned and almost overrun,” Obama said. He quoted one survivor as having said, “I’m surprised any of us made it out.”

Describing the U.S. outpost as “among the most remote” in the Afghan war, Obama acknowledged the controversy over its existence, calling it “tactically indefensible” and noting that American troops were asked to “defend the indefensible.”

“There are many lessons from COP Keating,” Obama said later. “One of them is that our troops should not — ever — be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible.”

Recounting Romesha’s actions, Obama called the fighting that day “one of the most intense battles of the entire war in Afghanistan.” After pulling back within the compound and preparing “to make one last stand,” which one soldier later likened to the Alamo, Romesha “decided to retake that camp,” Obama said.

Although wounded by shrapnel when an RPG round struck a generator behind which he was taking cover, Romesha mounted a counterattack that ultimately succeeded in repelling the assault, Obama said.

“Clint gathered up his guys and they began to fight their way back — storming one building and then another, pushing the enemy back, having to actually shoot up at the enemy in the mountains above,” Obama said. “By now, most of the camp was on fire. Amid the flames and smoke, Clint stood in the doorway calling in airstrikes that shook the earth all around them.”

They eventually turned the tide, rescuing wounded comrades and retrieving the bodies of the fallen.

Calling Romesha “a pretty humble guy,” Obama recalled that when he called Romesha to inform of the award, “he said he was honored, but he also said, ‘It wasn’t just me out there. It was a team effort.’ ”

The attack came six days before the U.S. military was scheduled to close Combat Outpost Keating, which a Pentagon review later found should never have been established in the first place. In the months after the assault, the military tried to strike a deal with an insurgent leader known as Mullah Sadiq, the local commander of the radical Islamist Hezbi-i-Islami Gulbuddin militia, which had a tenuous and at times conflicting relationship with the Taliban. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, Sadiq’s group was among the mujaheddin forces backed by the CIA. But in October 2009, U.S. commanders believe, some of Sadiq’s forces joined Taliban fighters in carrying out the attack on Keating.

Romesha (pronounced ROM-a-shay), now 31 and originally from Lake City, Calif., joined the Army in 1999 and served tours in Kosovo, South Korea and Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan. He left the Army in April 2011 and now lives with his wife and three children in Minot, N.D., where he works as a field safety specialist in the oil industry.

At Combat Outpost Keating in 2009, he and about 50 other Americans, two Latvian trainers and an Afghan army unit manned a small, vulnerable compound that was surrounded by peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains, from which insurgents routinely fired down at the defenders. U.S. troops likened it to trying to fight from the bottom of a paper cup.

Military leaders came to realize that the post was too difficult to defend and the area too dangerous for provincial reconstruction teams. But plans to close Keating were delayed amid concerns about the message that such a retreat would send and its possible ripple effects on the political and security situations in Afghanistan.

When the Oct. 3 attack began at dawn, Romesha and other soldiers at Keating quickly realized that they were dealing with something far more serious than the usual sniping. More than 300 insurgents armed with B-10 recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, antiaircraft machine guns, mortars, sniper rifles and small arms attacked from every direction and quickly breached the compound.

Afghan troops soon abandoned their posts, leaving the Americans and Latvians pinned down.

“Every position was overwhelmed,” Romesha later explained, according to an account on the Army’s Web site. From the start of the attack, all the U.S. fighting positions were “pretty ineffective.”
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« Reply #141 on: February 13, 2013, 01:55:03 PM »

Family grateful remains of missing Korean War vet returned home
City native Pfc. James R. Hare went missing Feb. 13, 1951
Angie Brant
Cumberland Times-News The Cumberland Times-News Mon Feb 11, 2013

Pfc. James R. Hare was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and POW medal. The Cumberland native will be buried near his parents in Levels, W.Va.

CUMBERLAND — Pfc. James R. Hare, U.S. Army, Battery B, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was lost Feb. 13, 1951, near the Korean town of Hoengsong. On Feb. 13, 2013, exactly 62 years after he was classified as missing in action, the memory and service of a beloved son and brother will be honored, and he will be laid to rest near his parents with full military honors.

Hare was born in Cumberland in 1932, the first of 15 children to James and Opal Hare. He was just 19 years old when he joined the U.S. Army. After completing training at Camp Lejeune, he joined thousands of soldiers fighting in the Korean conflict in 1949.

While sporadic, his parents received letters from James, but soon the letters stopped and the fate of the eldest child was unclear.

After nearly two years of waiting, the Hares received a letter that indicated James had been captured by the North Koreans and had died.

“It was 1951, and I was just 12 years old when my parents learned that James had died of starvation at a POW camp,” Stanley Hare said.

He is the eldest of James’ surviving siblings and lives in Smithsburg.

“I remember well the shock of learning that brother Jim had been captured and died and was buried in a mass grave.”

Though devastated by the news, the family held out hope that James’ remains would be found and one day returned to his family for a proper burial. In the interim, James was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and POW Medal.

The Hare family suffered a second blow when their brother John was shot and killed by a sniper during the Vietnam War.

James Hare was among more than 7,000 U.S. troops unaccounted for during the Korean conflict. In 1993, the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office was created and charged with the task of recovering missing Americans from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.

Shortly after the office was established, two members of the Hare family provided DNA for the recovery/identification efforts.

“My sister Frances and brother Bill donated DNA. Frances died eight years ago, but Bill lived long enough to know that James had been found,” Stanley said. “Mother passed away in 1958 and Dad died in 1984, but neither gave up hope that James would one day be found.”

According to the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, Hare was captured while the 2nd Infantry Division was supporting Republic of South Korea forces near Hoengsong. He was among 100 servicemen captured by enemy forces and was reported as missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951. During a prisoner exchange in 1953, U.S. officials learned more about Hare’s capture from a fellow soldier who reported that James had been taken to a POW camp in Suan County. The soldier stated that James had died of malnutrition in April of the same year.

Throughout the years, members of the Hare family were contacted by U.S. officials as work continued to find and identify the remains of soldiers who were killed in action or had died in POW camps.

“We were invited to meetings, but no one wanted to go until they had proof positive that James had been found,” said Stanley. “Time went on and we still hoped that James would be returned to us.”

That proof positive came more than 60 years later, on Dec. 19, when Stanley received a call from Michael Mee, chief of identifications at the Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs center at Fort Knox, Ky.

“Mr. Mee left a message on my answering machine that he had news for my family about James. I could hardly believe it, after all these years,” Stanley said. “I returned the call but told Michael that I wanted the rest of my family to be together when we heard the news. I wanted us to all be together to hear the complete story.”

Stanley coordinated a family meeting and one week later, the Hare family learned the remains of their brother had been positively identified through DNA analysis and would be returned for a proper burial.

“We met at Bill’s house and we talked about where to inter James’ remains. After a long discussion, we decided it was only right that he be buried with our parents in Levels, West Virginia.”

During the meeting, the Hare family learned    James’ remains were found in boxes released by North Korea between 1991 and 1994 containing what officials initially believed were the remains of 200 soldiers. However, DNA testing revealed that remains of more than 450 soldiers were in those boxes.

“Finally, we had proof positive and we knew that we would finally be able to bring James home,” Stanley said.

The last month has been a time of great sadness and loss for the Hare family. Bill Hare died just weeks after learning that James had been positively identified through DNA he had provided.

Another sister, Deloris Burley, lives in Ellerslie. Though she was just a year old when James was captured, she said having James’ remains returned is something the family had “hoped and prayed for.”

“We are all so thankful that he has been found and returned. We now know what happened and we can have closure,” she said. “I wish our parents could be here for this — they never gave up hope.”

Burley said these last few months have been bittersweet. While glad that James will receive a proper burial, the family mourns his memory and is saddened that the parents and other siblings will not have the same opportunity to say goodbye.

“There are just eight of us left, but we have pulled together and we believe it is a blessing that we will be able to lay James to rest,” Stanley said. “It is a great honor to have this on my watch and be a part of this closure for my family. We always thought that one day maybe we could offer him a proper service, and that day has come. The Lord has seen to it that we can say goodbye and James has been brought home.”

The family will receive friends at the Scarpelli Funeral Home on Virginia Avenue today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be conducted there Wednesday at 1 p.m.

With the motto “Keeping the Promise,” the U.S. government continues to work to recover the remains of the more than 83,000 missing members of the military.

For more information on the efforts of the DPMO, go to

Angie Brandt can be reached at
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« Reply #142 on: March 18, 2013, 11:27:32 AM »

USS Monitor Civil War sailors buried at Arlington National Cemetery 150 years later

Published March 09, 2013
Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Va. –  More than 150 years after the USS Monitor sank off North Carolina during the Civil War, two unknown crewmen found in the ironclad's turret when it was raised a decade ago were buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The evening burial, which included a gun salute and a band playing "America the Beautiful," may be the last time Civil War soldiers are buried at the cemetery overlooking Washington.

"Today is a tribute to all the men and women who have gone to sea, but especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf," said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who spoke at a funeral service before the burial.

The Monitor made nautical history when the Union ship fought the Confederate CSS Virginia in the first battle between two ironclads on March 9, 1862. The battle was a draw.

The Monitor sank about nine months later in rough seas, and 16 sailors died. In 2002, the ship's rusted turret was raised from the Atlantic Ocean floor, and the skeletons of the two crew members were found inside.

On Friday, the remains of the two men were taken to their gravesite by horse-drawn caissons, one pulled by a team of six black horses and the other pulled by six white horses. White-gloved sailors carried the caskets to their final resting place near the cemetery's amphitheater. A few men attending the ceremonies wore Civil War uniforms, and there were ladies in long dresses from the time. The ceremony also included "Taps," which was written the same year that the Monitor sank and became associated with military funerals as early as the Civil War.

The sailors buried Friday would not have recognized some parts of the graveside service, however. The military band played "America the Beautiful," which wasn't written until three decades after the Monitor sank. And the flags that draped the silver coffins were modern ones with 50 stars, not the 34-star American flag of the early 1860s.

The cemetery where the men will lie, however, has strong ties to the Civil War. Arlington was established as a military cemetery during the war and is on grounds formerly owned by the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One of the cemetery's first monuments was a memorial to unknown Civil War soldiers.

A marker with the names of all 16 men who died onboard the Monitor will ultimately be placed at the gravesite of the sailors buried Friday. Researchers were unable to positively identify the remains, though they tried reconstructing the sailors' faces from their skulls and comparing DNA from the skeletons with living relatives of the ship's crew and their families. Medical and Navy records narrowed the possibilities to six people.

What is known is that one of the men was between 17 and 24 years old and the other was likely in his 30s. A genealogist who worked on the project believes the older sailor is Robert Williams, the ship's fireman, who would have tended the Monitor's coal-fired steam engine.

Relatives of some of the men who died attended Friday's ceremony. Diana Rambo of Fresno, Calif., came with four other family members. She's related through her mother, Jane Nicklis Rowland, to Monitor crewman Jacob Nicklis, who died when the ship sank. The family didn't know a relative had served on the ship until they received a letter requesting DNA, but Rambo said she's since learned more about the "connection to history that we never knew we have." She said after the ceremony that she's less concerned about knowing for certain who was buried Friday.

"It kind of doesn't matter. It was all about honoring the 16," she said of the ceremony.
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« Reply #143 on: April 11, 2013, 11:49:10 AM »

Medal of Honor soldier killed in Korean War to receive hero's burial 62 years later
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published April 11, 2013

Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr. was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, in Korea and died a day later from those injuries.

 The remains of a soldier awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed in the Korean War will be returned to his relatives for burial with full military honors more than 62 years after his death, officials announced Wednesday.

Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., of Washington, Ind., will be buried April 17 in Arlington National Cemetery, officials from the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said.

“What’s so amazing is that our country doesn’t give up."
- Barbara “Bobbie” Broyles, Faith’s only child

Faith, a veteran of World War II who continued to serve in the Army during the Korean War, was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and died a day later from those injuries. But his body was not recovered by U.S. forces at the time.

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor recognizing personal acts of exceptional valor during battle.

“What’s so amazing is that our country doesn’t give up,” Barbara “Bobbie” Broyles, Faith’s only child, told on Wednesday. “They keep looking for the missing and the prisoners of war and people who are unaccounted for in battles.”

Broyles, her husband and the couple’s three children will travel to Washington next week for her father’s burial. And with the current political climate in North Korea, she said it’s “particularly important” to remember veterans of the Korean War.

“It’s now just becoming apparent how critical the Battle of Chosin was,” Broyles told in reference to conflict along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950. “We sacrificed a lot to help Korea.”

At the time of his death, Faith and his unit — 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment — were attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team as it advanced along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

During attacks by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces, Faith assumed command with his supervisor missing, and he continuously rallied his troops, personally leading an assault on an enemy position, defense officials said.

In 2004, a joint team from the U.S. and North Korea surveyed the area where Faith was last seen and located his remains. To confirm the find, scientists used circumstantial evidence, forensic identification tools and mitochondrial DNA, using samples from Faith's brother for comparison.

“I’m incredulous,” Broyles, a 66-year-old psychotherapist, said when reached at her home in Baton Rouge, La. She praised Department of Defense scientists and researchers for their relentless work. “He’s been missing for 62 years and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing that he’s been found.”

More than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, U.S. defense officials said.
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« Reply #144 on: April 11, 2013, 03:02:23 PM »

The Responsibility of Intellectuals

TWENTY-YEARS AGO, Dwight Macdonald published a series of articles in Politics on the responsibility of peoples and, specifically, the responsibility of intellectuals. I read them as an undergraduate, in the years just after the war, and had occasion to read them again a few months ago. They seem to me to have lost none of their power or persuasiveness. Macdonald is concerned with the question of war guilt. He asks the question: To what extent were the German or Japanese people responsible for the atrocities committed by their governments? And, quite properly, he turns the question back to us: To what extent are the British or American people responsible for the vicious terror bombings of civilians, perfected as a technique of warfare by the Western democracies and reaching their culmination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, surely among the most unspeakable crimes in history. To an undergraduate in 1945-46—to anyone whose political and moral consciousness had been formed by the horrors of the 1930s, by the war in Ethiopia, the Russian purge, the "China Incident," the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi atrocities, the Western reaction to these events and, in part, complicity in them—these questions had particular significance and poignancy.

With respect to the responsibility of intellectuals, there are still other, equally disturbing questions. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us. The responsibilities of intellectuals, then, are much deeper than what Macdonald calls the "responsibility of people," given the unique privileges that intellectuals enjoy.

The issues that Macdonald raised are as pertinent today as they were twenty years ago. We can hardly avoid asking ourselves to what extent the American people bear responsibility for the savage American assault on a largely helpless rural population in Vietnam, still another atrocity in what Asians see as the "Vasco da Gama era" of world history. As for those of us who stood by in silence and apathy as this catastrophe slowly took shape over the past dozen years—on what page of history do we find our proper place? Only the most insensible can escape these questions. I want to return to them, later on, after a few scattered remarks about the responsibility of intellectuals and how, in practice, they go about meeting this responsibility in the mid-1960s.
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« Reply #145 on: April 30, 2013, 05:08:09 PM »

Luck, goodwill reuniting WWII vet with bomber jacket

By Jennifer Hlad Stars and Stripes   

Published: April 27, 2013

WASHINGTON — Robert Arand enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942 as an aviation cadet. He went to training in 1943 and by February 1945, he was headed to the Pacific — sleeping on the deck of a trawler for a monthlong journey from San Francisco to New Guinea.

Arand had flown B-25s in the United States, but flew more than 40 missions in B-24s overseas — from New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa. He flew the 22nd Bomb Group’s final bombing attack, a strike on the Kiangwan Airdrome in China. His last mission was a reconnaissance flight from Okinawa to Tokyo and back on Sept. 2, 1945, the day the Japanese signed the surrender in Tokyo Bay.

The last time he remembers wearing his leather bomber jacket was in San Francisco when he returned from the war in November 1945. He thinks his wife, a meticulous housekeeper, must have donated it to a charity organization in Cincinnati about 1950.

“I remember my wife asking if I was ever going to wear it again, and I said I didn’t think I would, except for a veterans’ parade,” he said.

More than 60 years later, John Dodds was at a Goodwill store in Washington with his daughter, a freshman at James Madison University in Virginia, when she called him over.

“Oh, Dad, I want to show you something,” she said.

It was a leather bomber jacket from World War II.

Dodds, assistant general counsel for the Air Force and a military history buff, has a replica. But this was the real deal. The leather was a little stiff, but the jacket was still in good shape. On the back was a bearded, red-headed man with a winged helmet, along with the words “Red Raiders” and “22nd Bomb Group.” The label inside had the model and order number. The lieutenant bars were in place on the shoulders.

The jacket even had a leather name tag sewed on the front: Robert G. Arand.

Dodds is an Air Force brat. He went through the Army ROTC program in college, served as an Army judge advocate general for four years and later served in the Air Force reserve long enough to retire. He also knows a thing or two about finding information about veterans: One of his pet projects is doing research on Austin Straubel, the WWII bomber pilot for whom the Green Bay, Wis., airport is named. He also helped a friend with research on the friend’s brother, who was shot down during the Vietnam War.

Dodds paid $17 for the jacket and emailed a friend. Within 24 hours, Dodds was on the phone with Arand.

The 90-year-old veteran told him about his time in the 22nd Bombardment Group — described on their webpage as “a hell-bent-for-leather organization of men.” The unit was the predecessor of today’s 22nd Operations Group at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

Arand remembered a commander with red hair, Col. Richard Robinson, whom the group was nicknamed after. He told Dodds about his five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He told him he was born Dec. 7, 1922, and lives next door to one of his six brothers.

And Dodds decided that while he originally had hoped to keep the jacket, he knew he had to send it back to its original owner.

Arand told Stars and Stripes he isn’t sure how the jacket made its way to that Goodwill store in Washington, but he “would love to know.”

“I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want the jacket after all these years,” he said.

Arand gave his blue Air Force uniform to his grandson, who put it into a case. But he said he probably could fit into it today.

“I’m the same height and weight as I was in the service,” he said.

After the war, Arand said he stayed in the Air Force reserve and retired in 1982 as a major.

He had been going through his military records, putting them into a book for his grandchildren. He wrote to his congressman to get new medals, to replace ones lost during a long-ago “show and tell,” he said. His awards include the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the WWII victory medal, and an Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster.

Dodds said he was amazed to find a bomber jacket in such great shape and was delighted to be able to connect with Arand.

“I just could not believe it,” he said. “It’s all working out pretty well.”

And while Arand is looking forward to seeing if it still fits, he’s most interested in sharing it with his family.

“My children and grandchildren are anxious to see it.”
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« Reply #146 on: May 09, 2013, 05:04:00 PM »

New Jersey veteran gets back dog tag he lost in World War II
Published May 09, 2013
Associated Press

May 8, 2013: Willie Wilkins, who lost his dog tags while serving in a U.S. Army Quartermaster Truck Company in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944, looks on during an event to return the tags to the veteran in Newark, N.J. (AP)

NEWARK, N.J. –  Carol Wilkins leaned over the side of her father's wheelchair and handed him the small red box, a heart-shaped cutout revealing its contents: a weathered, bent silver dog tag.

"Oh, Daddy, look," Wilkins exclaimed as her 90-year-old father opened it, his eyes beaming and smile wide. "They're back."

Sixty-nine years after losing his dog tag on the battlefields of southern France, Willie Wilkins reclaimed it Wednesday after a trans-Atlantic effort to return it to him. It started more than a decade ago in a French backyard and ended with a surprise ceremony in Newark City Hall.

"I am so happy," Carol Wilkins said. "You don't know what joy is on my heart for what you have done for my father."

In August 1944, Willie Wilkins was an Army corporal fighting in the Allied invasion of southern France. Amid the horrors of battle, Wilkins's job was one of the grimmest. A quartermaster, Wilkins was responsible for removing and identifying the bodies of dead American servicemen and having them buried or transported back to the United States.

At some point during the invasion, Willie Wilkins's silver dog tag slipped off his neck.

"It could have been an arm, it could have been a hip that dragged it off, because he was picking up dead bodies," Carol Wilkins said. "He said it was horrible. Blood everywhere. Parts. All he knew was to pick up those bodies for the family members of dead soldiers."

Willie Wilkins returned to Newark and worked on an assembly line. He was a happy man who doted on his only daughter, but his service as a quartermaster took a toll. He had a nervous breakdown and post-traumatic stress disorder and retired at age 44, his daughter said.

Willie Wilkins would sometimes talk about his war experience, especially when Carol was young, mentioning that he lost his dog tags. He and his family were convinced the small medallion would remain a tangible piece of the history of the invasion, buried somewhere in what were once the bloody battlefields of Provence.

In a backyard 4,000 miles away from Newark in Istres, France, Anne-Marie Crespo was tilling the soil around an olive tree on a spring day in 2001 and found the dog tag.

She hit a small piece of metal stamped with a name and numbers. She brought it inside, cleaned it and tried to straighten out the tag's bend, only to break it slightly.

Crespo knew the tag belonged to a soldier and kept it on a bookcase shelf. She presumed the soldier died on the battlefield, and held a ceremony to honor Wilkins and other American war dead.

"I often thought of this poor soldier dead for FRANCE + FREEDOMS," Crespo later wrote in a letter to Carol Wilkins.

Crespo showed the "treasure" she found in the backyard to visitors. One took photos of the dog tag and sent them to her brother, Philippe Clerbout.

Clerbout posted the pictures in an online history forum. He got a reply from the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., which said Wilkins joined the military on Dec. 31, 1942, in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Clerbout became a man with a mission: finding Willie Wilkins.

His quest to help an American soldier was personal. Clerbout's father was a prisoner in Germany from June 1940 until the camp was liberated in 1945. He returned to France with American troops and married Clerbout's mother.

Clerbout sent emails to anyone he thought could help, from the White House to media outlets. A woman from the U.S. Department of Veteran's affairs in Minneapolis located Willie Wilkins in Newark.

Carol Wilkins thought the phone call was a prank. It was the woman from Minneapolis, asking for her father's honorable discharge number because someone found his dog tag.

Carol Wilkins didn't believe the woman and insisted on calling her back. The call was legitimate.

"I said, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy," she said, "They found your dog tags."

The GI Go Fund, a Newark nonprofit that connects veterans with services and helps them make the transition to civilian life, brought them to New Jersey.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker presented the Wilkinses with the dog tag on Wednesday, Victory in Europe Day. Bertrand Lortholary, the Consul General of France, attended.

Carol Wilkins plans to display the tag in a case on her father's dresser. Willie Wilkins has been in a rehabilitation facility and suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and other ailments.

When asked if he ever thought he would see his dog tag again, Willie Wilkins shook his head.

"I never did," he said.
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« Reply #147 on: May 10, 2013, 04:50:21 AM »

Terrific thread.  Thanks Beach for taking time to post/add to it over the years.  Thanks to everyone else for keeping it respectful towards the heroes and not clutter it up with our usual BS.
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« Reply #148 on: May 10, 2013, 11:18:24 AM »

Terrific thread.  Thanks Beach for taking time to post/add to it over the years.  Thanks to everyone else for keeping it respectful towards the heroes and not clutter it up with our usual BS.

Appreciate the kind words.  We have some tremendous people in this great country.
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« Reply #149 on: May 23, 2013, 03:07:56 PM »

Navy to name destroyer after Inouye
By William Cole
POSTED: 08:51 a.m. HST, May 23, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 12:44 p.m. HST, May 23, 2013

The Navy is expected to announce that a new destroyer will be named after U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, one of the most influential members of the U.S. Senate during his long tenure, a tenacious fighter for the betterment of Hawaii, and a stalwart military supporter, sources said. (Star-Advertiser file photo)

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The Navy has announced that a new destroyer will be named after U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, one of the most influential members of the Senate during his 50-year tenure, a tenacious fighter for the betterment of Hawaii and a stalwart military supporter.

Inouye died Dec. 17 of a respiratory ailment at age 88.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus today announced the honorific namings for Hawaii's longtime senator and a former naval secretary. “As secretary of the Navy it is my privilege to name these ships to honor a respected naval leader and a true American hero." Mabus said. "For decades to come, the future USS Paul Ignatius and USS Daniel Inouye will represent the United States and enable the building of partnerships and projection of power around the world."

Paul Ignatius served as secretary of the Navy 1967-1969 and as assistant secretary of defense under President Lyndon Johnson.

Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II and later became a U.S. senator.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a release that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus called her today and confirmed the plans.

"I am pleased that Secretary Mabus called me to let me know that the Navy would name a destroyer after Sen. Inouye. Secretary Mabus informed me that he had tried to name a ship after Senator while he was still alive, and knowing Senator, he wanted no part of it," Hanabusa said. " The Arleigh-Burke Class is considered the strongest, most advanced surface ship in the world, responsible for multiple missions that ensure naval supremacy. This is a fitting tribute to Sen. Inouye, whose own strength and determination inspired so many of us. Our Navy will be proud to have a ship bearing his name deployed throughout the world, continuing to fight and defend us."

DDG-118 is on contract to be constructed at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, a major shipyard that is responsible for the construction of multiple types of surface ships, mostly ordered by the US Navy, Hanabusa said. The ship is expected to be delivered in mid-2018.

The ships will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.  They are capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare.
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