Veterans, military service to be celebrated

LIHU‘E — Shrapnel, said J.Q. Smith of the United States Marine Corps League.

Smith was a tail gunner on a bomber in the Philippines during World War II and was wounded, said Bill Honjiyo, president of the Kaua‘i Veterans Council.

“He got a purple heart after being wounded, but that didn’t stop him,” Honjiyo said. “He’s a three-time veteran, having served in WWII, the Korean War and serving two tours in Viet Nam.”

Smith will be joined by Johnny Rabasa, a veteran of 30 years of military service, as grand marshalls for the Kaua‘i Veterans Council annual Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 5 starting at 10 a.m. through Kapa‘a town and ending at the Kapa‘a Beach Park.

Honjiyo made the announcement during the Veterans Administration Homeless Veterans Outreach Program, Friday, noting both gentlemen will be honored for their long term service in the military.

This year’s Veterans Day celebration focuses on the 50th anniversary of the Viet Nam War and special tribute will be paid to veterans of that war, Honjiyo said.

“Both Smith and Rabasa were veterans of Viet Nam tours, both serving at least two tours,” Honjiyo said. “When Rabasa left, he was a Command Sergeant Major of the Signal Battalion in charge of the message center.”

Their service continues with the veterans, Honjiyo said, Smith and Rabasa both making appearances during the VA Homeless Veterans Outreach Program and before that, were assisting during the visit by the Bruyeres, France, delegation to meet and honor veterans of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Command Team in late September.

Veterans of the 110th Btn and the 442nd RCT along with the Military Intelligence Service are scheduled to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in early November for their dedication and service to the country during WWII and Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will also acknowledge their heroism along with honoring the Viet Nam veterans on their 50th anniversary during the Nov. 5 parade.

Community organizations wishing to participate in the annual Veterans Day parade are invited to submit applications for the parade by Oct. 28 to the Kaua‘i Veterans Council.

Applications are available by visiting the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Kapule Highway in Lihu‘e  and checking with Aida Cruz or Honjiyo.

Call 246-1135 for more information.

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