Coast Guard Unveils Veterans Memorial in Honolulu

The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen, and Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara, the Commander of the Fourteenth District, join in the blessing of the recently unveiled Coast Guard Veterans Memorial at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Jan. 18. The ceremony included a National Anthem performance by Jim Nabors, music by Danny Kaleikini, wreath layings, 3-volley rifle salute, the playing of Taps, an HH-65 rescue helicopter fly over and music by the Marine Forces Pacific Band. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Michael De Nyse

The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen, and Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, the Commander of the Fourteenth District, join in the blessing of the recently unveiled Coast Guard Veterans Memorial at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Jan. 18. The ceremony included a National Anthem performance by Jim Nabors, music by Danny Kaleikini, wreath layings, 3-volley rifle salute, the playing of Taps, an HH-65 rescue helicopter fly over and music by the Marine Forces Pacific Band. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Michael De Nyse.

HONOLULU — Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, dedicated a memorial to Coast Guard veterans at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu Dec. 18. The memorial honors Coast Guard veterans.

The Punchbowl cemetery has long featured memorials for veterans of the other military branches, but today’s dedication formally unveils a memorial for Coast Guard veterans who fought on the battlefields of World War II. A stone from Guadalcanal is the centerpiece of the memorial.

“When I first heard of this memorial event I didn’t know much about it, but now that I’m here, I get it,” said Seaman Jason Lindbom, a member of the Coast Guard’s Aids To Navigation Team, Honolulu. “I’m glad to be here and honored to be a part of history.”

Federal, state and city and county of Honolulu officials helped dedicate the United States Coast Guard Pacific Veterans Memorial to those who have served in the Coast Guard in the Pacific. There are currently about 1,300 men and women serving in the Coast Guard’s Fourteenth District which covers the Pacific region. More than 41,000 men and women serve America’s interests in the Coast around the world.

“For more than 217 years, the United States Coast Guard has served our nation with distinction and honor, yet no single memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific marked the significant role of our service in the Pacific,” said Capt. Barry Compagnoni, Commander, Sector Honolulu and the memorial project officer.

“On a visit to the cemetery in the Spring of 2007, my father-in-law, who is a Coast Guard veteran, recognized this oversight and I pledged to him that we would correct it. A wonderful team of more than 40 volunteers have worked the last several months to recognize and validate the service and sacrifice of our veterans. They are the foundation of the legacy that we carry into the future and we are proud that we are finally able to recognize our veterans.”

The Coast Guard’s first participation in World War II was at Guadalcanal, where the service landed Marines in August 1942, the beginning of a six-month campaign. Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, died there rescuing a group of Marines.

The public was greeted and welcomed by remarks given by Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, the Commander of the Fourteenth District, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, Sen. Daniel Akaka, and Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann. In addition, Adm. Allen addressed the gathering of more than 1,000 guests, friends and members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Retired Coast Guard Cmdr. Douglas Sheehan, Munro’s nephew, was in attendance as well.

The ceremony included a National Anthem performance by Jim Nabors, music by Danny Kaleikini, wreath layings, 3-volley rifle salute, the playing of Taps, an HH-65 rescue helicopter fly over and music by the Marine Forces Pacific Band.

Since this is just the second time in his tenure that Allen has visited Hawaii, Adm. Allen paid a visit to the Honolulu Advertiser after the event and discussed Coast Guard-related issues at an editorial board.

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One Comment

  1. E.B. Lawson says:

    This is a great article and I’m honored that I was able to attend the event. I’m one of the volunteers and serve as the Webmaster for the CG Pacific Veterans Memorial Organization. This was a memorable occassion that I will always cherish. Thank you for the article.