By Photos and story by Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, USARPAC Public AffairsJanuary 21, 2009
HILO, Hawaii - Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commanding general, U.S. Army, Pacific,
spoke to members of Big Island rotary clubs at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel Jan 20 to discuss the role of the Army in the Pacific.
Representatives from South Hilo, Hilo, Hilo Bay, Pahoa, Volcano and Kona Rotary Clubs attended the event.
"It's important for Rotarians to learn what the Army is doing in Hawaii and as a nation," said Newton John Chu, who organized the event with Bill Moore, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the island of Hawaii.
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business and community leaders, according to http://www.rotary.org . Rotarians provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
Mixon discussed the environmentally friendly and energy efficient efforts of the Army in Hawaii, necessity of security in the Pacific region, and statistics of the education and backgrounds of Soldiers themselves, referring to them as "dedicated patriots."
"It's not my Army, it's your Army," Mixon said. "You represent the citizens of the United States of America, and these meeting are essential so that you, as Americans, stay informed."
Mixon ended his visit with a question and answer session. He fielded questions on a variety of subjects concerning Afghanistan, Iraq and relationships with Pacific nations.
Other CASAs Joining Moore were Alan Hoe, CASA Oahu-East and the islands of Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe, and Peter Apo, CASA Oahu-West and the island of Kauai. CASAs are members of local communities that are selected to volunteer their time to act as a liaison between the Army and the civilian population.
Mixon thanked the CASAs for what they do. "What CASAs do for me as a commander is interface for me and the Secretary of the Army to tell the Army story and they have been invaluable to me in the islands," he said.
"We are very honored to have General Mixon come and talk directly to us and get our direct questions and give direct answers," Chu said.
"It's interesting hearing the big picture about where we stand globally, added Helen Hemmes, a member of the Hilo Rotary Club. "I liked the emphasis that it's our Army, because it's so easy to assume that it's the government's Army. I saw today that in the Pacific Army, we're led by a person of integrity who is working to restore what our nation is challenged to do."