‘Wolfhounds’ continue decades-old tradition hosting Japanese keiki

| August 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Four orphans from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, are buried under leis given by the Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, on July 29, 2016. The 27th Inf. Regt. hosts orphans from The Holy Family Home for an annual summer visit. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Public Affairs Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Four orphans from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, are buried under leis given by the Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, on July 29. The 27th Inf. Regt. hosts orphans from The Holy Family Home for an annual summer visit.

 

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

HONOLULU — Four children from Japan were greeted with aloha, lei and open arms by the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” during a reception at the Honolulu International Airport, here, July 29.

“Today, as we begin the 59th visit of the children to Hawaii, we look forward on building on the tradition of love and friendship begun so many years ago,” said Lt. Col. Glen T. Helberg, commander, 2-27th Inf. Regt., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Kumiko Yasui is greeted with endless leis from the Soldiers of 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” as she walks to the reception room at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, on July 29, 2016. Yasui one of four orphans from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, hosted by families of the 27th Inf. Regt. for two weeks. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Public Affairs Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Kumiko Yasui is greeted with endless leis from the “Wolfhounds”.

The Wolfhound’s showed the ohana spirit by hosting Kumiko Yasui, Mihi Tazawa, Yosuke Yamaguchi and Kirito Uchikaneku from the Holy Family Home in Osaka for the annual summer visit to Oahu. The two boys and two girls are spending time with two different host families, changing host families in the middle.

The family hosting the boys, Yosuke and Kirito, during their first week in Hawaii, was 1st Sgt. Jonathan Dyon’s, assigned to Company C, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID.

“I’m very exciting for hosting the kids today,” Dyon said. “It’s an awesome experience.”

He said language would be no barrier between him and the children as they had translator apps to help with understanding each other.

“We bought the kids special backpacks with the colors they like and certain things they like to do, such as art stuff,” he added. “They’ll have a good time.”

First Lt. Paul Weiss, 2-27th Inf. Regt., said his family will host the boys on the second week. Weiss said one decision about being a host family was based on their own son, Eric, being the same age as Yosuke and Kirito.

“We have a few things planned within our family,” Weiss said. “We’ll go out and show them some of the stuff we like to do for fun, and show them what families do around in America.”

“We’re thankful for having the four of you here, and we’re excited to introduce you to our beautiful island home,” Helberg said as he looked on at the children.

The story of the 27th Inf. Regt. Wolfhound continues to resonate today, said Yasushi Misawa, Japan Consul General.

“It is a story of devotion and commitment of the regiment and Master Sgt. Hugh O’Reilly to help the children of the Holy Family Home after post-World War II,” Misawa said.

Kumiko Yasui gives her thanks the Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” for their generosity at the reception room at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, on July 29, 2016. Yasui one of four orphans from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, hosted by families of the 27th Inf. Regt. for two weeks. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Public Affairs Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Kumiko Yasui thanks the Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” for their generosity, July 29.

The genesis of the link between the Holy Family Home and the Wolfhounds began during the post-war occupation of Japan, when O’Reilly led a party of 1-27th Inf. Regt. Soldiers to a Christmas party for the orphanage in 1949 at the invitation of the Red Cross.

O’Reilly was a former Marine who fought in the bitter island hopping campaigns, including the Battle for Guadalcanal. War had hardened his heart toward the people who had bitterly fought him and his nation. Then he saw the deplorable conditions for the poor young victims of war, who were being cared for by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

O’Reilly, being a religious man, felt compassion for the children and led efforts to raise $143 from the generous Wolfhounds at their next payday, to be given orphanage on New Year’s Day.

“It is this charitable kindness that Wolfhounds have transcended the boundaries of countries, cultures, politics and governments,” Misawa said. “They capture the divining essence of post-war healing for Japan and America.”

The link between the Wolfhounds and Holy Family Home was kept strong by O’Reilly, culminating with an annual summer visit for the orphans since 1957.

Osaka native Yuko O’Reilly, the mother of the Wolfhound regiment and widow of Master Sgt. Huge O’Reilly, held back tears as she spoke about the Wolfhounds.

“I cannot help being emotional looking at these kids,” O’Reilly said in English and Japanese. “These kids coming to Hawaii, they will never, never forget this moment in their life.”

From left to right, Kumiko Yasui, Mihi Tazawa, Yosuke Yamaguchi, and Kirito Uchikaneku, are four children from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, at a welcoming reception held by the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, on July 29, 2016. The 27th Inf. Regt. hosts orphans from The Holy Family Home for an annual summer visit. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Public Affairs Team, 25th Infantry Division)

From left to right, Kumiko Yasui, Mihi Tazawa, Yosuke Yamaguchi, and Kirito Uchikaneku, are four children from The Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, at a welcoming reception held by the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” at the Honolulu International Airport, July 29.

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