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VIDEO – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard honored the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor:

“My heart is in Hawaiʻi today. At almost this exact time, on this very day 75 years ago, the first bombs were dropped in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 people perished on that fateful day that will forever live in infamy.

“We remember our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price, and those who answered the call to serve in the months and years that followed, including our two former Senators Inouye and Akaka, and the more than 320,000 who gave their lives in that war.

“We remember the Japanese Americans whose lives forever changed when after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were thrown into internment camps. And the brave Nisei, who in spite of these atrocities, volunteered to serve, forming the Nisei-only “Go For Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment, serving courageously, and sacrificing greatly.

“May we never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor, the lessons learned, and the sacrifices of all who served.”

Background: Last month, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reintroduced a House resolution originally authored by Congressman Takai that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and honoring the more than 320,000 men and women who gave their lives in defense of the United States during World War II.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park Unveil New Submarine Exhibit

Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Frederick “Fritz” J. Roegge, in partnership with Chuck Merkel, executive director of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, unveiled a new submarine exhibit in honor of the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Dec. 6.

Rear Adm. Fredrick "Fritz" Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Rear Adm. Fredrick “Fritz” Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, addresses guests during an unveiling of a new submarine exhibit at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific theater. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence and responsiveness in the region. (Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released)

Roegge spoke to more than 150 guests, military and civilian, about the importance of the submarine force during World War II.

“Within hours of the attack, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark ordered, ‘Execute against Japan unrestricted air and submarine warfare.’ Our submarines were the only forces able to immediately begin war patrols. They carried the battle across the Pacific and into Imperial Japanese home waters while the fleet was repaired.”

He explained that while the submarine forces made up only two percent of our entire Navy, they sank 30% of all Japanese warships, and 55% of all Japanese merchant ships sunk during the war.

“Submariners also paid the heavy price of the greatest casualty rate of any American branch of service in the war,” Roegge said. “Submariners are well-aware that the challenges of World War II produced some of our greatest successes, our greatest heroes, and our greatest sacrifices.”

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

In 2011 I got to tour the Submarine USS Cheyenne.

Roegge explained the intention behind the exhibit by noting that, “It’s hard to find that important story within the existing narrative on display across the many museums and memorials that fill the horizon, and failing to highlight those details reflects a missed opportunity – not only to honor our heroes, but to share our story here at Hawaii’s most popular tourist and historical destination until today.”

Today, we begin to share that story – honoring our heroes – with a new display located in front of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, free and accessible to anyone visiting Pearl Harbor’s iconic landmarks.

Coast Guard Participates in Pearl Harbor 75th Observance

The Coast Guard, alongside the other armed services, are observing the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu, this week.

Coast Guard men and women are participating in a number of events around the island to honor the survivors and the sacrifices of the more than 2,000 Americans killed in the attacked. The Coast Guard was also present in Oahu and served alongside our shipmates during the attack.

U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific Subscribe 11 Crewmembers from various units throughout the Coast Guard 14th District greet a World War II veteran from an American airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. Dec. 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events to honor the courage and sacrifices of Pacific Theater veterans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific Crewmembers from various units throughout the Coast Guard 14th District greet a World War II veteran from an American airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. Dec. 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. The U.S. military and the State of Hawaii are hosting a series of remembrance events to honor the courage and sacrifices of Pacific Theater veterans. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

One of the most prominent lasting effects of Pearl Harbor on the Coast Guard is the way we conduct search and rescue. The Coast Guard conducted a medevac of an ill mariner north of Oahu as recently as Sunday. This case illustrates the importance of the hoist capable helicopters regularly used to provide lifesaving assistance to mariners around the nation. This capability was actually born out of the events of Dec. 7th and Pearl Harbor. Coast Guard Lt. Frank Erickson served in Hawaii that day and after. He witnessed the death of thousands of sailors who couldn’t safely be reached and rescued. He went on to work with Igor Sikorsky to build an experimental hoist capable helicopter and was the Coast Guard’s first helicopter pilot. His intuition and ingenuity completely redefined the way the Coast Guard performs search and rescue and provided for this mariner’s rescue. More can be read about Erickson’s story here: https://goo.gl/vPTlFe.

A World War II veteran poses next to an old photograph of himself while being greeted by several military and various personnel after the arrival of an American Airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. More than 100 World War II veterans, including Pearl Harbor survivors, arrived to Honolulu to participate in the remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served during Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific Theater. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence, and responsiveness in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

A World War II veteran poses next to an old photograph of himself while being greeted by several military and various personnel after the arrival of an American Airline honor flight from Los Angeles at the Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. More than 100 World War II veterans, including Pearl Harbor survivors, arrived to Honolulu to participate in the remembrance events throughout the week to honor the courage and sacrifices of those who served during Dec. 7, 1941, and throughout the Pacific Theater. Dec. 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. As a Pacific nation, the U.S. is committed to continue its responsibility of protecting the Pacific sea-lanes, advancing international ideals and relationships, well as delivering security, influence, and responsiveness in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Other crews and assets involved in Dec. 7, 1941, include:

USCGC Kukui (WAGL 225) was positioned at Pier 4 in Honolulu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. As the buoy tender was unarmed, they remained dockside, at Pier 4 until further instruction was passed. The Army requested the Kukui transport a combat squad to Ni’ihau in response to the reports of Japanese aviators having landed there. They arrived with the squad to find the aviators deceased.

USCGC Tiger (WSC 152) was under Navy jurisdiction and assigned to the local defense forces of the 14th Naval District. Equipped with depth charges, listening gear and firearms, Tiger was designed to interdict smugglers who attempted to unload booze during the height of Prohibition. Early on Dec. 7, 1941, they intercepted dispatch from a Navy destroyer that claimed the destruction of an enemy submarine. They continued the patrol eastward toward the Pearl Harbor entrance and around 8 a.m. started taking fire from an unknown source. They guarded the entrance all day and throughout the night, even taking what is now thought to be friendly fire in the darkness from Army units along the shore that assumed the ship was a foreign threat.

CG-8 lay moored to Pier 4 in Honolulu Harbor when the Japanese attacked. The crew of six went to general quarters and prepared to get the vessel underway. At approximately 9 a.m., CG-8 moved to Sand Island to pick up the depot keeper while bombs exploded nearby. CG-8 proceeded back across the channel to Kewalo Basin and was strafed by Japanese aircraft while en route. At the basin CG-8 prohibited the small private vessels and sampans from leaving until Naval Intelligence could clear the owners. After the two waves of Japanese planes withdrew, the Coast Guard secured the port areas, blacked out all navigational aids and stationed guards along the waterfront.

The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, USCGC Taney (WPG 37) was tied up at Pier 6 in Honolulu Harbor six miles away from the naval anchorage.  After the first Japanese craft appeared over the island, Taney ‘s crew went to general quarters and made preparations to get underway.  While observing the attack over Pearl Harbor, Taney received no orders to move and did not participate in the initial attack by the Japanese.  Just after 9 a.m., when the second wave of planes began their attack on the naval anchorage, Taney fired on high altitude enemy aircraft with her 3-inch guns and .50 caliber machine guns.  The extreme range of the planes limited the effect of the fire and the guns were secured after twenty minutes.

The USCGC Walnut (WAGL 252) was patrolling Midway Atoll to conduct aids to navigation work, 1,200 miles northwest of Oahu when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces on Dec. 7, 1941. Upon receiving word of the attack, the Walnut crew ensured that all lights were immediately extinguished to prevent the enemy from using the aids as a navigational reference. That night, about 1,000 miles northwest of Hawaii, Japanese destroyers shelled Midway Island. At 9:30 p.m. the unarmed buoy tender Walnut observed gun flashes from the northwest. Shells began landing within 100 feet of the ship, but Walnut remained anchored during the 30-minute attack. During this attack, a U.S. PBY Flying Boat crashed in Midway Lagoon within the Walnut’s vicinity. Walnut’s crewmembers recovered the injured aircrew, ultimately saving their lives. Walnut continued to complete aids to navigation work, conduct search and rescue, and run convoy missions.

Dec. 10, 1941, John Sweeney, the keeper of Barbers Point Light Station, witnessed an aerial attack and recounts the events in this after action report. According to Sweeney, “At 8 a.m., many planes were seen overhead, both Japanese and ours. Dog fighting continued for twenty minutes, bullets hitting the ground in bursts. Then all planes headed south, our planes chasing them. Two parachutists were dropped close to the station; they were confused in the kiawi trees and prowled around the station all Sunday night, the Fort Kam. 55th C.A. boys firing at them with rifles and machine guns. One was wounded, and was later found on the beach, buried by his mate. His feet were sticking out of the sand. The other was later shot by an officer.”

More about the Coast Guard in Pearl Harbor including first hand account and narratives can be viewed at: https://www.uscg.mil/history/Pearl_Harbor_Index.asp

Congresswoman Gabbard Op-Ed: Giving Voice to Millions of Americans – End U.S. Wars of Intervention

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s op-ed on ending U.S. wars of intervention published in The Nation today:
tulsi-bannerI recently met with President-elect Donald Trump to give voice to the millions of Americans, including my fellow veterans, who desperately want to end our country’s illegal, counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government. We had an hour-long, meaningful, back-and-forth discussion about the problems with current U.S. policy in Syria and where to go from here.

I felt it critical to meet with him now, before warmongering neocons convince him to escalate this war that has already taken more than 400,000 lives and left millions of Syrians homeless and in search of safety for themselves and their families.

I conveyed to the President-elect how the post-9/11 neocon agenda of interventionism and regime-change has left U.S. foreign policy absurdly disconnected from our actual security interests. Our actions to overthrow secular dictators in Iraq and Libya, and attempts now to do the same in Syria, have resulted in tremendous loss of life, failed nations, and even worse humanitarian crises while strengthening the very terrorist organizations that have declared war on America.

Since 2011, the United States—working with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey—has been providing support to “rebel groups” fighting to overthrow the government and take over Syria. A recent New York Times article reported that these “rebel groups” supported by the U.S. “have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria, formerly known as al-Nusra.”  How the United States can work hand-in-hand with the very terrorist organization that is responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 boggles my mind and curdles my blood.

This absurd alliance has allowed terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo, where they are now using the civilian population as human shields and their deaths as propaganda tools.

Additionally, escalating this regime-change war by implementing a “no fly/safe zone” in Syria would not only be ineffective, it would put the U.S. in direct military confrontation with nuclear-power Russia, require tens of thousands of ground troops and a massive U.S. air presence, and commit us to yet another endless war in the Middle East that does not serve American or Syrian interests.

In short, even if the U.S.-Saudi alliance were successful in overthrowing the Syrian government, we would be saddled with the responsibility of building a new nation in Syria. Trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, and who knows how many American lives, will be lost, and there will be little to show for it. As was true in Iraq and Libya, the U.S. has no credible government or leader able to bring order, security, and freedom to the people of Syria if Assad is overthrown. To maintain order after Assad’s fall would require at least 500,000 troops in a never-ending occupation.

The most likely outcome of this regime-change war is that it will open the door for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups who are the most powerful fighting forces on the ground, to take over all of Syria, amass powerful weapons (many of which will have been provided to them by the U.S.), and pose a far worse threat to the Syrian people, religious minorities, and to the world.

The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: we must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people.

Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard-Stewart Bill to Expand Veterans’ Healthcare Passes House

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard released the statement below after the House unanimously passed the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act (H.R.5458). The congresswoman introduced the legislation with Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) in 2015. The bill expands veterans’ healthcare options by allowing veterans to temporarily pause their TRICARE benefits to participate in an employer’s Health Savings Account (HSA) program if they so choose. Under current federal law, it is illegal for a TRICARE-eligible veteran to participate in an HSA program.

gabbard-health-bill“As a soldier and a veteran, I have seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans and their families make in service to our country. That service should never limit their access to quality healthcare, and the ability to make decisions about their own health,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act gives our veterans the ability to choose the best healthcare options for themselves and their families.”

“Our veterans deserve our most profound gratitude,” said Rep. Chris Stewart. “Nothing about their military service should prevent them from accessing the same benefits as their non-veteran co-workers. The very least we can do is ensure they receive the benefits we’ve promised them, and that the process goes as smoothly as possible.  We still have a lot of work to do on that front, but the passage of this bill is a great step in the right direction.”

Background: Health Savings Accounts have proven to be an effective way to pay for medical costs and proactively save for future medical expenses. Employees invest and save tax-free money in HSAs, which are then used to pay for qualified medical expenses. These have become increasingly popular healthcare plans in the private sector.

Under current federal law, it is illegal for a TRICARE-eligible veterans to participate in an HSA program. The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act simply gives veterans the choice to voluntarily pause their TRICARE benefits in order to participate in an HSA program.

The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act is supported by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS).

House Passes Gabbard-Cook Bill Encouraging Employers to Hire More Veterans

The HIRE Vets Act (H.R.3286), introduced by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Cook (CA-08), unanimously passed the House today. This bipartisan bill would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create a medallion program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. This bill will now move to the Senate.

gabbard-vet-bill-passRoughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans that have returned home since 9/11. While we’ve taken some important steps to encourage employers to hire more veterans, more than 400,000 veterans across the country are still unemployed today,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experiences, and leadership training that make them especially valuable to employers. The HIRE Vets Act incentivizes employers to hire veterans, and recognizes employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees.”

Background: The bipartisan HIRE Vets Act would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and efficient program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a four-tiered system – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.

Search Called Off for Missing Hawaii Air National Guardsman

A Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) Airman who went missing at Tarague Beach, Guam, last week, has been identified as Master Sgt. Greg Ramos from the 154th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 154th Wing.

Master Sgt. Greg Ramos with his brother, Sraff Sgt. Gavin Ramos while at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on April 14. Photo By: Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Master Sgt. Greg Ramos with his brother, Sraff Sgt. Gavin Ramos while at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on April 14. Photo By: Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Ramos was temporarily assigned to Andersen Air Force Base, supporting a HIANG KC-135 tanker rotation.  Ramos was swept out to sea and search and recovery efforts were called off after five days with no evidence of death or remains being found.

In a message to HIANG Airmen this morning, Brig. Gen. Gregory Woodrow, 154th Wing Commander asked “that you keep Greg, his family, and the LRS in your thoughts and prayers”.

Information regarding memorial services will be announced at a later date.

Hirono, Gabbard Announce House Vote on Filipino Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Bill

Senator Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today the House will vote on legislation to award WWII Filipino Veterans the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill unanimously passed the Senate in July, and is scheduled for a vote in the House on Wednesday, November 30. Should the bill pass the House, it will be sent to the President to be signed in to law.

filipino-veterans“This week, Congress will take the next step to recognize the brave and courageous service of Filipino World War II veterans like Domingo Los Banos from Kauaʻi,” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “This Veterans Day, I joined Domingo aboard the USS Missouri to recount how these veterans were instrumental to our victory in the Pacific, but had to fight for decades to receive the benefits they earned. The unanimous support this bill earned in the Senate and the overwhelming backing it has in the House honors the sacrifice so many of these veterans made for our country.”

“This week, the House will take a historic vote to honor our Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal—our highest civilian honor. These loyal and courageous soldiers suffered, fought, and gave up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war, and have waited decades for their service to be recognized. They cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “It has been an honor to personally get to know some of these veterans and their families, and to hear them humbly tell their courageous stories of service. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to pass this timely legislation, and to honor our veterans with this long-overdue recognition.”

Background: Senator Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2015, and have worked together toward the bill’s final passage. The legislation acknowledges the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S Congress.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Offers Special Programs for Youth to Gain a Better Understanding of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

In preparation for this year’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has created three specialized programs, each designed to provide Hawaii’s youth with a better understanding and appreciation for what took place at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

pearl-harbor-youth-dayStudents, teachers and families are encouraged to participate in the following:

December 6, 2016 – Blackened Canteen Youth Symposium, 10 – 11:30 am, Pacific Aviation Museum Theater. For the last 21 years, WWII veterans from the United States and Japan have joined in silent prayer, pouring whiskey from a blackened canteen into the hallowed waters from the USS Arizona Memorial in observation of Dec 7. The annual Blackened Canteen ceremony, hosted by Pacific Aviation Museum, commemorates the friendship, honor, and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII. The canteen used in the ceremony was recovered from a B-29 bomber that was destroyed after colliding with another B-29 bomber over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945.

Following the ceremony, a youth symposium will be held in the Pacific Aviation Museum Theater, from 10 – 11:30 am. The symposium will highlight the story and lessons of the Blackened

Canteen Ceremony, commemorating the friendship, honor and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII.

Students from Nagaoka, Japan and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu will participate in the program, along with Dr. Hiroya Sugano and Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot and author of The Blackened Canteen. Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng will serve as moderator.

This event is free and open to the public. Teachers at public, private, or charter schools who register their classes for the Youth Symposium will receive The Blackened Canteen classroom curriculum and an autographed copy of the book. Additionally, the cost of bus transportation to the event will be provided for registered school groups. Curriculum materials and a video of the symposium will also be available at PacificAviationMuseum.org.  Seating is very limited.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthSymposium

or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

December 8-9 – Discover Pearl Harbor Youth Program, 7:30 am on 12/8 to 4 pm on 12/9. Two-day program for teens that combines engaging, aviation-related STEM activities within the historically significant context of the Pearl Harbor sites. Open to students ages 12-15, program participants will spend two days at Pacific Aviation Museum and one night onboard the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial. The program will build upon the anticipated national and international youth participation in the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Discover Pearl Harbor provides youth with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that brought peace, and ultimately, friendship, between two nations previously at war. The cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” will once again serve as a vital theme, as it is now a call to action for youth to learn these stories of courage, resiliency, and innovation, and to use the lessons of WWII to create a more peaceful world. Discover Pearl Harbor offers a cross-cultural opportunity for teens to gain greater understanding about the history of WWII while also learning about the impact of scientific and technological advancements that were introduced during that era.

Students will begin the program at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument where history will come to life. They will hear stories of courage and sacrifice that transformed the entire world, and will visit the USS Arizona Memorial to gain a greater appreciation for the peace and friendship that has been forged between former enemies. Their experience continues at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, where skilled instructors and costumed interpreters will share the legacy of Pearl Harbor through guided tours, hands-on activities, and team assignments.

In the evening, students will stay onboard the Missouri Battleship Memorial, engaging in activities that emphasize the historical precedent for peacemaking that emerged from WWII.

Day Two brings the students to the 21st century with an array of learning challenges that spotlight the role of technology in the increasingly global culture, and emphasize the need for collaboration and critical thinking. The program ends with a closing ceremony of remembrance and honor in historic Hangar 79.

Cost is $225 per student, $202.50 for museum members and includes meals, snacks, overnight accommodations and program on the USS Missouri Battleship, program materials and souvenir T-shirt.

Registration is limited to 50 youth.

December 10, 2016 – Pearl Harbor Youth day, 9 am – 3:30 pm. Families and visitors of all ages can explore the lessons and legacy of WWII through special presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Event will engage and educate youth about the history of Pearl Harbor and its impact on young people in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

Featured activities include:

  • Special screening of “Under the Blood Red Sun,” followed by a presentation and Q & A session with author Graham Salisbury.
  • Historical exhibits designed and created by local high school students.
  • Thematic tours of the Museum
  • Costumed interpreters and historical demonstrations

Event is free to students 18 years and younger, free with museum admission, and free to museum members. Registration required for teachers and youth organizations that are interested in bringing large groups and wish to apply for funding assistance for bus transportation.

For more information or to register for these events, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthDay or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

Coast Guard Searching for Helicopter Near Molokai

The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter with two persons aboard near the south side of Molokai, Wednesday.

A Coast Guard C130

A Coast Guard HC130

Multiple Coast Guard air and surface crews and a Maui Fire Department aircrew are currently searching in the area.

Crews currently engaged in the search are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.
  • Crews of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) homeported in Honolulu, was diverted from operations off Maui.
  • Air1 helicopter crew from Maui Fire Department.

The helicopter was reported overdue by the owner’s employee at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday. The employee called 911 and dispatch notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center personnel who in turn relayed the call to the watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Communications Center in Honolulu. The black, privately owned helicopter reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening with two people aboard and did not arrive to a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.

An urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from mariners in the southern Molokai area has been issued.

Anyone with information that may help locate the helicopter or crew is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 21 to 23 mph winds, partly sunny with showers.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Congratulates Service Member Graduates, Honors Veterans of Foreign Wars

Leading up to Veterans Day Week, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spent the day recognizing the service, sacrifice, and accomplishments of active duty service members and veterans of foreign wars at events on Oʻahu.

tulsi-11416This morning, she delivered congratulatory remarks to 48 men and women currently serving in the Army, Navy, and Air Force who just earned their degrees in higher education. She then presented the graduates with honorary certificates. The congresswoman connected with the service members, sharing her own experiences of earning her bachelor’s degree in challenging conditions while serving on her Middle East deployment.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard delivered keynote remarks to over 300 veterans at the Annual Western Region Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary Conference. She thanked them for their service and sacrifice and spoke strongly about her commitment to fight for the benefits and care that they were promised, have earned, and deserve. She highlighted the recent atrocities in the DOD’s attempts to “claw back” bonuses received in good faith by California National Guardsmen. She applauded veterans continuing their mission of service even after they lay down the uniform as they enter the civilian workforce, take on new leadership and mentorship roles, and volunteer in their communities.

tulsi-11416a“There are too many misperceptions that persist with regards to post-traumatic stress or other challenges that some of our brothers and sisters are dealing with as they make this transition from the military to civilian world,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

tulsi-11416c“We need to change this culture to one in our society where employers and leaders in our community go first to our veterans to employ them, to serve in positions of leadership, to make a difference in our communities, recognizing that our brothers and sisters in uniform are the best equipped to lead, knowing what it means to be a member of a team, to make decisions under pressure, to put service before self, and to always stay focused on the mission—never accepting failure, never accepting defeat.

tulsi-11416b“Ensuring that each of you, my brothers and sisters in arms, get the respect that you deserve, that you get the care, the services, and the benefits that you have earned through your service and that you’re entitled to, and that you are honored and recognized for the sacrifices that you and your loved ones have made for your country—this is what guides the work that I do every day in Congress.”

Governor’s Statement on Death of Schofield Soldier

governor-ige-profileOur state and our nation mourn the death of a valuable member of Hawai‘i’s 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I extend my deepest condolences to the soldier’s family, those who served alongside that soldier and the leadership of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Please join me in honoring this soldier’s service and contributions to our community and our country.

— Governor David Ige

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces Critical Milestone Crossed For Congressional Gold Medal Bill to Honor WWII Filipino Veterans

This afternoon, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard  hosted a roundtable of leaders from Hawaii’s Filipino community to update them on the legislation she introduced to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Filipino Veterans of World War II (H.R.2737). The bill recently crossed a critical milestone and, after decades of attempted recognition for Filipino World War II veterans, is closer to passage than ever before.

gabbard-filipino-round-table“Congressional Gold Medal bills require two thirds of the House, or at least 290 members, to sign on to the bill before it can move forward.  I’m happy to report to you today that we’ve exceeded this with 309 co-sponsors, with colleagues representing both parties and nearly every state and territory in our nation supporting legislation to recognize these men for their service and sacrifice,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced this afternoon to a group of leaders from Hawaii’s Filipino community.

“Despite their critical role in the Pacific, Filipino World War II veterans have never been recognized by Congress for their service. We’ve waited far too long to recognize these heroes alongside units like the Tuskeegee Airmen and Hawaii’s own 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion with the Congressional Gold Medal. With just 18,000 Filipino World War II veterans alive today, time is of the essence for Congress to pass this legislation and honor these courageous men with the long overdue recognition they deserve.”

gabbard-filipino-round-table-2Last year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R.2737) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Filipino veterans. The bill acknowledges over 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag against the Imperial Forces of Japan during World War II.  305 Members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors of the congresswoman’s bill, and she is working with House leadership to schedule it for a vote. With support from Hawaii’s Filipino community and organizations across the country, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hopes to pass the legislation before the end of the year.

At this afternoon’s roundtable with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the group also discussed important issues regarding U.S.-Philippines relations, building greater understanding of Filipino history, culture, and contributions in the U.S., higher education, immigration and family reunification, transition programs for service members entering the civilian workforce, the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, and more.

Hawaii National Guard Receives Three New Blackhawk Helicopters

The Hawaii Army National Guard’s newest unit has received three HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters. The Blackhawks were offloaded from a C-17 transport at the Kalaeloa Airfield today. They will be assembled on-site and operate out of Wheeler Army Air Field until a new facility at Kalaeloa is completed.

new-helisDetachment 1, Company G, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment is a new aeromedical evacuation unit and is in the process of filling its ranks. The detachment’s mission is to provide MEDEVAC support to military entities. The unit will have about 30 soldiers, most of whom will be drill status, or part-time forces.  The unit will not provide full-time support to civil authorities, but when fully staffed, it may provide supplemental support.

This unit is one of the most requested types of units to deploy, with its specialty of MEDEVAC being in high demand.

new-helis2

The new Blackhawk models have a couple of features that differentiate them from the HIARNG’s current UH-60M Blackhawks. These HH-60M have an external hoist, a Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) and the capability to carry six litter patients or six ambulatory (or three of each patients) within its MEDEVAC cabin configuration. The four-person crew is made up of two pilots, one crew chief and one flight medic.

It will initially operate from Wheeler Army Airfield, Army Aviation Support Facility #1, until administrative requirements are completed. The new unit will then operate from the nearly completed Army Aviation Support Facility located at Kalaeloa. The Kalaeloa AASF cost $32.6 million and is being built by Watts Constructors, LLC. The estimated completion date is November 2016. The Kalaeloa AASF will encompass almost 67,000 square feet and will have a large hangar to support aircraft as well as an administrative area for classrooms, restrooms, conference rooms and offices.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Chinese Mariner

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday evening for a Chinese mariner who was unreported while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran across the Pacific.
 guo-chuan
Guo Chuan, 50, remains missing.
“Mr. Chuan was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate Mr. Chuan. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community.”
Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crews conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the Quindao China and its charted course following notification of the situation Tuesday and into Wednesday. The USS Makin Island deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Chuan. Their hails over the radio went unanswered and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to the vessel. They followed up by deploying a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.
Weather on scene was reportedly 23 mph winds, seas to 5-feet with good visibility and scattered clouds.
On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 4,600 square miles over the two-day period.
Involved in the search were:
  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • USS Makin Island (LHD 8) homeported out of San Diego
  • Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew attached to the USS Makin Island
The Quindao China remains adrift, the mainsail has been doused and the vessel has been marked. A broadcast notice to mariners alerting vessel crews in the area to the potential hazard to navigation has been issued. Chuan’s racing team is making arrangements to recover the vessel.
Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China personnel that the vessel Qingdao China, with one person aboard, had not been heard from for 24 hours prompting the response.
The Makin Island is an amphibious assault ship attached to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment, Oct. 14, to provide maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the Pacific.

New Exhibit Honoring World War II Veterans Unveiled at Honolulu International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), in conjunction with the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL), is proud to unveil the new permanent exhibit celebrating the Nisei veterans of World War II. The unveiling was commemorated with a ceremony today at the exhibit site located at the Honolulu International Airport in the makai end of the Interisland Terminal near gate 56.

The distinguished veterans watch as the new Hawaii Nisei Veterans exhibit at the Honolulu International Airport is blessed by Kahu Wendell Davis.

The distinguished veterans watch as the new Hawaii Nisei Veterans exhibit at the Honolulu International Airport is blessed by Kahu Wendell Davis.

The exhibit was produced by volunteers from the Nisei Veterans Legacy, a nonprofit organization created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.

“The Japanese American soldiers fought two battles during the war: the Axis enemies in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific and domestic racism and suspicion at home,” said Wes Deguchi, Nisei Veterans Legacy President. “This exhibit will expose millions of travelers, not only from our country but overseas as well, to the heroism and achievements of these veterans. Very few of them are still with us to tell their stories in their own words, so it was our goal that this exhibit and the work of the NVL tell of their sacrifices for Hawaii, our nation, and the world. We’re very grateful to the Hawaii Department of Transportation for this opportunity and to our volunteers for their time and creativity.”

Honored veterans from left to right: Governor George Ariyoshi, Kenji Ego, Herbert Yanamura, and Robert Kishinami.

Honored veterans from left to right: Governor George Ariyoshi, Kenji Ego, Herbert Yanamura, and Robert Kishinami.

Funding for the exhibit was provided in part by a grant from the Hawaii State Legislature for the construction of the display cabinet. The contents were produced or donated by the NVL.

Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan. More information on the Nisei Veterans Legacy can be found by visiting http://www.nvlchawaii.org/

Groundbreaking Held for Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial – Affordable Senior Housing

Yesterday afternoon, Mayor-Elect Harry Kim and Big Island Veterans broke ground on the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial.
harry-kim-at-hivmThe project has been in the works for quite some time and it’s good to see that it is finally going to happen.The location is located off Kawili Street below the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus and across the street from Waiakea High School.

hivm-site-planEarlier this year, after HIVM received the first increment of our $425,000 state grant to help us start the project, we had an engineer prepare a plan for a box culvert common-use entrance into our lots along Kawili Street. Isemoto Construction was selected from our list of bidders to construct the common-use driveway entrance and perform related construction tasks and they have begun the installation of the box culvert and new entryway. We are in the final stages of an agreement with a large and respected non-profit housing development corporation, EAH Housing, Inc., to develop and operate 75 units of affordable senior-living units on our upper 5+ acre lot.

Artist rendition

Preference for these units will be given to veterans and their spouses. Other income-qualified senior Hawaii residents will also be able to rent these units in the event there is an insufficient number of qualified vets, their spouses or vets’ widows on the wait list at the time of vacancy. This senior independent living community will also include a centrally located community center for socializing, educational, recreational, and leisure activities.

 The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

History: Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) all-volunteer non-profit corporation privately organized in 1997 to serve as a development entity for the island’s many veterans and veterans groups. Our mission was to develop a one-stop combined veterans center (CVC) together with a senior independent living community complete with a multi-purpose activity center and dining facility for our islands’ 20,000+ active, reserve, retired, veterans, and other eligible seniors. A site was identified on an overgrown 7 acre parcel of unplanned public lands in Hilo along Kawili St. just below the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and was obtained for this purpose in 2004 by a Governor’s executive order.

After acquiring a start up lease in 2005, funds were raised privately to complete an approved final environmental assessment (FEA) including a master plan with all preliminary engineering. This was developed with all stakeholders, including the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH), neighbors and neighboring institutions, AARP, all the veterans organization on Hawai’i and the county of Hawai’i. The FEA was completed in 2006 and was accepted and approved by the County.

Re-zoning and subdivision into 3 separate lots for each project component were completed by mid-2007 when the lots were graded, partially grubbed and a sewer tap installed on the lower lot planned for the one-stop CVC as Phase 1. With an agreement in hand with the USDVA (VA) to build and lease to them a 5000 sq ft facility estimated at $2.1m. $1m in state and county matching funds were then sought, approved, and appropriated for FY 2008 to enable HIVM to privately finance the balance and begin the project. However the national financial meltdown reached Hawaii in the summer of 2008 and stopped all planned construction because of no available private or public financing. With development actions at a stop for the next 4 years, HIVM subleased the site to a private contractor to use as a base yard in exchange for periodic mowing and essential maintenance.

We resumed progress in 2012 with an improved economic outlook, a new lease, new opportunities, and a rejuvenated board of directors to move us forward to our current status.

Gabbard Honors Legacy and Service of Hawaii Nisei Veterans – Airport Unveils New Exhibit

At the Interisland Terminal of the Honolulu International Airport this morning, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard  joined the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center and Department of Transportation officials at the unveiling and blessing ceremony of a new permanent exhibit celebrating Hawaii’s Nisei veterans.

tulsi-nisei“It’s a privilege and an honor to be here to celebrate the Hawaiʻi Nisei Veterans display and all that it symbolizes—especially with our Nisei veterans here today, representing service and sacrifice from different conflicts and different generations,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

tulsi-nisei2“Your courage during a very difficult time says so much about the values that we strive to uphold and celebrate in this great country. To have this display here provides the opportunity for people coming through as they travel—both kama’āina and visitors from across the country and around the world—to learn more about your sacrifice and to make sure that the legacy of your service continues for generations to come.”

tulsi-nisei3The exhibit was produced by volunteers from the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center, a nonprofit organization created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Congratulates Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Graduates

This afternoon at the Historic Hickam Officers Club, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard delivered congratulatory remarks at a ceremony honoring 135 Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility apprentice program graduates.

tulsi-pearl-harborThe congresswoman serves on the House Armed Services’ Sea Power and Projection Forces Subcommittee and spoke about the importance of the journeymen’s service and their work to care for the military’s aging ships, especially with the United States’ focus on the Asia-Pacific Region.

tulsi-pearl-harbor2The Shipyard’s Apprentice Program is a partnership between the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Honolulu Community College. The program prepares students for Shipyard careers by combining academic study with paid work experience. This year’s graduating class includes journeymen in nineteen different trades.

tulsi-pearl-harbor3The Shipyard is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in Hawaiʻi with a combined civilian and military workforce of over 5,000.  Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Navy’s largest ship repair facility between the West Coast and the Far East is about a week of steam time closer to potential regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Connects Hawaii Soldiers With Employers at Transition Summit

This afternoon at Schofield Barracks, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke to a group of more than 200 Hawaiʻi soldiers who are considering a transition from military service to civilian life.

tulsi-schofieldShe explained that our soldiers have the skills, leadership, and experience that would benefit any agency, organization, or business in the private sector. The congresswoman also highlighted some of the obstacles veterans face as highly trained applicants ready to join the civilian workforce when there are misconceptions about their preparedness once the uniform is laid down.

“This kind of transition summit sends a strong message to our service members—when you’re ready to lay down the uniform, you’re not going to get kicked to the curb and left on your own,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard. “Changing misconceptions that a veteran may not be fit to serve in the workforce is necessary—and it comes down to each of us affecting change in our own spheres of influence. Tell your story and encourage your fellow soldiers to do the same to help those who have never served understand the value that our veterans bring to the table. The need for this understanding is real.”

tulsi-schofield1In Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has worked to create incentives for businesses to hire veterans, to fight against attempts to roll back the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and to increase opportunities for veterans to participate in apprenticeship programs and more.

On the 12th anniversary of the Iraq War, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard launched the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who have served in the military after 9/11, and who are dedicated to issues related to the newest generation of veterans. The caucus’ legislative agenda focuses on the 2.8 million veterans who have served and deployed since 9/11 and provides a forum for this new generation of veterans to voice their concerns and ideas.

tulsi-schofield2Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act—a bill that works to make that transition smoother by enabling veterans to use their GI Bill benefits to learn critical workplace skills or apprenticeship programs in the skilled-trade industry. Currently, GI Bill benefits cannot be used to cover the cost of Department of Labor approved pre-apprenticeship programs that teach the skills and techniques necessary to prepare individuals for training and careers in the skilled-trade industry.