FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (April 19, 2012) -- Hawaii's top Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets were honored during the annual Governor's JROTC Awards Ceremony and Review at Fort Shafter's historic Palm Circle April 19.
More than 800 cadets representing 26 schools participated in the event, which was hosted by Maj. Gen. William J. Beard, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific U.S. Army Reserve, and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie.
"The ROTC has led the way in recognition of what the all volunteer Armed Services means," said Abercrombie. "It is the very foundation of democracy and the very fundamental element of civic responsibility. The young people you see before you today represent the legacy of that great tradition."
Beard and Abercrombie presented 26 cadets, one from each high school, with the Kina'Ole award and an engraved poi bowl.
Kina`ole is a Hawaiian term defining a concept of flawlessness, or more specifically, doing the right thing in the right way at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling- for the first time.
"We cadets organize and run the whole event, our instructors help mentor, but we take care of everything, and this motivates us to be better people," said Cadet Lt. Col. Kristel Guino, the Kina`ole award recipient for Kapaa High School, Kauai. She said she was pleased to have participated in the ceremony with fellow Hawaii cadets and was thankful for the opportunity to help represent JROTC not just for Oahu but for the entire state.
"We as instructors do the coordination for this event, and act as advisors, but when it comes to the operations, it's all the cadets… they do all the work," said retired Army Lt. Col Les Bise, Assistant Director of Army Instructions, Department of Education. "It then goes back to self-esteem, their experience in leadership, application of things they learned in class at the ceremony, so the Governor's ceremony represents the entire year and recognizes all 26 programs."
The JROTC program has grown to more than 3,200 units strong, from its meager beginning of just six units at its inception 99 years ago at the beginning of World War I.
Hawaii's JROTC program, managed by the Hawaii Department of Education, consists of 17 Army, four Air Force, four Navy and one Marine Corps unit.
"This event gives the military and the state an opportunity to honor these cadets who do so much for our community," said Lt. Col. (ret.) Antoinette Correia, JROTC Program Manager for Hawaii's Department of Education. "If you look at the community service and service learning they engage in, they are helping veterans, helping the homeless, and so much more. It's just amazing how much they contribute."
For the past three years, the 311th Signal Command has been the executive agent for the event. The 311th is the designated Signal command for the Army Service Component Commands within the Pacific theater. Its mission to build, maintain, and defend a robust LandWarNet and provide tactical Signal Support in the Pacific theater ensures that information services, systems and communications are provided throughout the Pacific region under any conditions.