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Veteran’s Corner

Column by Jesse Church

Hello my beloved veterans and people of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans’ news and upcoming events. Some working dogs in the Army hold a rank higher than that of their handlers. Why is that? The greater rank is not official; it’s honorary, according to a recent Army news release. The custom is believed to have started as a way to deter handlers from mistreating dogs. Out of respect for the dog, the dog is always a rank higher than its handler. Handlers make the mistake of thinking they’re actually in charge said Sgt. 1st class Regina Johnson of Military Working Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. “You’ve got to tell them, hold up. That dog has trained 100 students. That dog is trying to tell you something.”

Four Army Air Forces airmen missing since World War II have been identified and buried as a group in a single casket on Sept. 21 at the Arlington National Cemetery, Va., along with the remains of five previously identified Army Air Forces airmen. The nine airmen flew a BITE Flying Fortress on a bombing run June 26, 1943, over Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, but were ultimately shot down by Japanese fighter aircraft. One crew member, 2nd Lt. Jose L. Holguin, survived and was held prisoner until September 1945.  Remains of the crew were recovered in 1949, but could not be identified at the time.

Another historical tidbit: Cmdr. Wally Schirra made the fifth Project Mercury Flight on Oct. 3, 1962. Project Mercury was the NASA program that put the first American astronauts in space, with six spaceflights from 1961 through 1963.  The program’s objectives were to orbit a manned spacecraft around earth, to investigate man’s ability to function in space and to recover both astronaut and spacecraft safely. During the 9 hour 13 minute mission, Schirra made six orbits at an altitude up to 175.8 statute miles at 17,558 mph. Schirra is credited with superb control of Sigma 7, bringing the capsule down within five miles of the aircraft carrier Kearsarge, about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean. Seeing the ship as he began his descent from orbit, Schirra quipped, “I think they’re gonna put me on the number three elevator.”

Well, veterans, the slab was poured for the new Vets Center on Thursday, Oct. 13, and the carpenters should begin work sometime the week of Oct. 17.  If there are any veterans who would like to volunteer to help, please go to the Veterans Center, and talk to Mac Poepoe. The Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday  from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The next VFW meeting will be at Commander George Harada’s home on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 12:30 p.m. If you have any questions, call the commander at 553-5730. John Candello, the Veterans Advocate, will be at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in Kaunakakai, on Thursday, Nov. 3 and 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment, call 553-3611. Remember our essay contest on “What does being an American mean to you,” ends on Oct. 31, so get your essay in. Send entries post marked no later than Nov. 1 to P.O. Box 482219 or email editor@themolokaidispatch.com, good luck. Let’s not forget our military personnel stationed around the world, and especially those in harm’s way. We send them a big mahalo for all they do, and to our veterans at home for all they have done, and the people of Molokai for supporting them. You are all very special and dear to me, I love you all.

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