Emotional ceremony offers thanks, honors a legacy

| January 30, 2015 | 0 Comments
Thirteen current members of the 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt., 9th MSC, sing their battalion song at the conclusion of the Legion of Honor Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center, Jan. 23. The current Soldiers sang to honor Nisei veterans who had served before them and to display pride for the continued legacy of service in the “Go for Broke” Bn. (Photo by BRIAN MELANEPHY 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

Thirteen current members of the 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt., 9th MSC, sing their battalion song at
the conclusion of the Legion of Honor Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center, Jan. 23. The
current Soldiers sang to honor Nisei veterans who had served before them and to display pride
for the continued legacy of service in the “Go for Broke” Bn. (Photo by BRIAN MELANEPHY
9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

Story and photos by Brian Melanephy
9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Twenty-seven surviving World War II veterans from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat team received La Legion d’honneur – France’s highest decoration – at the Japanese Cultural Center, here, Jan. 23.

Seven family members also received the award on behalf of veterans who recently passed away.

Prior to the ceremony’s start, the Royal Hawaiian Band played a musical prelude for the audience as it gathered. Then the 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt. Color Guard presented the colors, which included the U.S. flag, the French flag and the 100th Bn. flag.

The Manoa Grand Room was the stage for the ceremony, which was a mix of pride, patriotism, tears and cheers.

Clarke Bright, bandmaster, Royal Hawaiian Band leads the musical prelude prior to the Legion of Honor Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center, Jan. 23. The Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, was presented to 27 surviving World War II veterans from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and seven surviving family members of veterans. They received the honor for their heroic actions in Bruyeres and Biffontaine, France in 1944. (Photo by Brian Melanephy, 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

Clarke Bright, bandmaster, Royal Hawaiian Band leads the musical prelude prior to the Legion of Honor Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center, Jan. 23. The Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, was presented to 27 surviving World War II veterans from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and seven surviving family members of veterans. They received the honor for their heroic actions in Bruyeres and Biffontaine, France in 1944. (Photo by Brian Melanephy, 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

The Honorable Pauline Carmona, consul general of France in San Francisco, presented the awards.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige; Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Lt. Col. Daniel Austin, commander 100th Bn., 442nd Inf., all spoke at the ceremony.

Ige’s father served in the 100th Bn., 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. He spoke very fondly of his father and all of the Nisei Soldiers who fought so bravely for their country in spite of many of their friends and family being placed in internment camps across the U.S.

The most powerful moment during the event came from Harris, the first four-star Navy admiral of Japanese descent, and the highest-ranking Asian-American in the history of the service.

He choked back tears when he said, “I’ve heard that on windy, gusty nights at home, amid the rustling of the trees, some can still hear the echoes of the dying comrades calling for their mothers. Okaasan. Okaasan.”

Harris, overtaken by emotion, paused and looked down after making this powerful and heart-wrenching statement.

One day prior to the ceremony was the 10-year anniversary of the death of 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe, who was killed by a sniper while serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Iraq. His brother, Staff Sgt. Nakoa Hoe, who is a current member of the 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt., was in attendance at the ceremony and was recognized by Harris.

After Harris’ remarks, Carmona took to the podium, shared thoughts on behalf of the French president from a grateful nation and then moved to the stage, where one-by-one she presented medals in French, shook hands and shared hugs with each surviving veteran or family representative.

9th MSC

9th MSC

At the conclusion of the ceremony, current members of the 100th Bn., 422nd Inf. Regt., 9th Mission Support Command, sang the battalion song in honor of the heroes being recognized. The color guard then came forward to retire the colors and the ceremony concluded.

This is the second time in two months the color guard has presented the colors at an event involving Ige, who personally requested the color guard for his inauguration Dec. 1, 2014.

The 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt., is the only infantry battalion in the Army Reserve with Soldiers located in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.

• The 9th MSC

The 9th Mission Support Command is the most ethnically diverse, geographically dispersed command in the U.S. Army Reserve, crossing seven times zones, two states, two territories, a commonwealth and two foreign countries. Its Soldiers speak more than 27 languages.

The 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard posts the French Flag, the battalion flag, and the U.S. Flag at the start of the Legion of Honor Ceremony at the Japanese Cultural Center, Jan. 23. There is a strong legacy of service in the 100th Battalion and current members take every opportunity to show their respect and gratitude to the Nisei Veterans from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat team at every opportunity.

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Category: News, Observances

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