By PV2 Jesus ArandaAugust 23, 2008
A rainy morning was quickly ushered out by a welcoming Hawaiian rainbow as Soldiers, guests, and family members of the Tropic Lighting community gathered on the 25th Infantry Division parade field to recognize the achievements of a Hawaiian hero and political icon.
The 25th Infantry Division honored Medal of Honor recipient, Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye during a Medal of Honor flag presentation ceremony on Sills Field, Wednesday.
Inouye was presented a congressionally approved Medal of Honor flag by Capt. Terry H. Zoch, commander, Echo Company, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th ID. Zoch and her Soldiers represented men from Inouye's "Go For Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
According to Zoch, the senator specifically requested a commander from Echo Company present him with the flag at a Schofield Barracks' ceremony to honor his men from the 442nd RCT. "It was a great honor to present the senator with the flag," said Zoch.
Having served as a lieutenant and platoon leader for the 442nd RCT, Inouye was granted the Distinguished Service Cross for displaying exceptionally heroic action in combat during World War II. His award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in June of 2000.
"Obviously, I was honored and proud to receive the Medal of Honor, but I was deeply certain that there were hundreds of others who were much more deserving than any one of us," said Inouye. "I received my medal in Washington on behalf of the troops. But I am deeply honored by you, and I am certain the men of the 442nd are also deeply honored," he added.
Following his career in the military, Inouye became the first congressman of Hawaii in 1959 and later a senator of the state of Hawaii. His term in the senate is the third longest to date.
"Lieutenant Inouye embodied the 'Warrior Ethos' that makes our Soldiers the best and brightest in the world," said Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commanding general, 25th Inf. Div. "He demonstrated the importance of leadership, service, and commitment at every level, and he continues to serve all of us today," said Caslen.
The Medal of Honor Flag was created in 2002 for display by living Medal of Honor recipients and primary next of kin of Medal of Honor recipients. With his closing remarks, Caslen requested his Soldiers continue to follow in the tradition of great American heroes, like Senator Inouye.
"As we honor Senator Inouye today, as well as all of our distinguished Soldiers of the past, we can only ask ourselves, with a debt of gratitude, 'Sir, have we earned what you have done for us','" Caslen asked the Senator rhetorically. "As this Division prepares for deployment back to Iraq, I am confident that our Soldiers will carry on the great traditions and legacies, sir, that you have set before us," said Caslen.