Mr. Seikichi Kaneshiro Retirement Ceremony (Andersen AFB, Guam)
Gates, Robert M., U.S. Department of Defense Speeches
As delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Friday, May 30, 2008
General, Governor, distinguished visitors, troops--Hoffa Adai!
Governor and First Lady Camacho, thank you for being with us. It is a real pleasure to be here in Guam. And it is an honor to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Seikichi Kaneshiro, a man known to all of you--and much of the island--as Mr. Paul. His service to country has spanned an incredible 66 years, most of it here.
When Mr. Paul joined the Army in 1943, Japanese Americans weren't allowed to fight in the Pacific theater. So he went from his native Hawaii to train in Mississippi and then crossed the Atlantic to the straits of Gibraltar. In Europe, he fought with the famed 442 nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of all Japanese Americans--the unit that introduced into the lexicon the expression "Go for Broke!" and whose heroism would go down in the annals of military history. Known for its high casualty rate, the 442nd remains the most decorated unit in United States history based on size and length of duty. Its members were awarded 20 Congressional Medals of Honor, and received the Presidential Unit Citation seven times. All the while, many Japanese Americans in the unit had family members who were interned back in the United States.
After the war, Mr. Paul returned to Hawaii. He volunteered to come to Guam to help rebuild after a hurricane destroyed much of the island. He planned on staying two years. That was in 1946.
During his time here, he has helped construct Andersen from the ground up--and I mean that literally. Whether in large buildings or in the meticulous craftsmanship of tables and cabinets, his touch permeates every element of this base. He has a saying: "Be reasonable. Do it my way." And Mr. Paul, I think I'm taking that one back to the Pentagon with me.
Mr. Paul's compassion extends into the local community, where he has always been willing to lend his time and expertise--especially for those facing hard times. The number of lives he has positively impacted is countless.
Mr. Paul has been through many eras in this island's history--when it was a line of defense in the Korean War and throughout the Cold War. …