Mark Takai, longtime member of the state Legislature and U.S. Congress, was posthumously awarded the U.S. Army Pacific’s Mana O Ke Koa (Spirit of the Warrior), an annual award honoring an individual who provided steadfast support to soldiers, families and the Army community.
U.S. Army Pacific Commander General Robert B. Brown presented the award to Takai’s surviving family members at the Army’s One Team Birthday Celebration at Schofield Barracks.
Takai was viewed by many as a man of “tremendous character who served our nation in Congress and in uniform. As a principled leader, he was a powerful and respected voice for the Pacific-based military community,” according to a press release.
While in uniform, Takai served in the Hawaii Army National Guard, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and served as president of the Hawaii National Guard Association. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. Takai served 20 months in Congress before succumbing to pancreatic cancer on July 20, 2016.
Past award winners include U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka and Gov. Linda Lingle.