Recognizing Seamen Who Serve Us Well

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/15/97)
By Ray Pendleton

As Veteran's Day was just last Tuesday, I am sure there are few people in Hawai`i who have not recently recognized the debt of gratitude we owe the personnel of our military services, both past and present. But, in general, we tend to recognize the sacrifices they have made in combat situations, rather than during peacetime activities.

This past Thursday the Honolulu Council of the Navy League of the United States held its 37th annual Sea Service Awards luncheon at the Ala Moana Hotel to honor 67 exceptional men and women from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Those honored were chosen from more than 25,000 candidates in the Pacific region and a major criteria in their selection was community service.

"We hope these awards will recognize in some small way the many contributions our men and women in uniform provide our country and especially the state of Hawai`i," Navy League Executive Director Jim Pitton said.

"Each sea service, after a laborious screening process, has chosen the men and women we recognize today as the very best within the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps stationed in Hawai`i.

"The award recipients we are honoring today, in addition to being described as outstanding professional military persons, are also very actively involved in community activities such as Hawai`i youth programs, the Red Cross, P.T.A.s, Big Brothers, Disaster Team volunteers, Easter Seals, church work, outreach programs, state litter cleanups, and a myriad of other activities which help others," Pitton continued. "They are, in the words of their commanding officers, the consummate military-citizens."

These military-citizens also came from virtually every sector of their respective sea services. The two recipients at my table were Lt. Dennis Robertson and Sonarman Guy Foster, submariners off the USS Honolulu, but sailors stationed aboard surface ships and on land were honored as well.

Of the six Coast Guard personnel honored, three - Daniel Friedman, Alan Jardine and James Kephart - are stationed in Honolulu, one - Douglas Ebbers - is stationed at Barber's Point, one - Bradley Degeus - is stationed on Maui, and one - Daniel Ostergaard - is aboard the Point Evans at Kaua`i.

Before the final applause, with candid appreciation for the fact that many times the "best" will be the first to acknowledge that the support they receive from their loved ones at home allows them to be the best they can be, Pitton also asked all of the recipients' spouses to stand and be recognized.

The Honolulu Navy League itself should be applauded for the exceptional work it does throughout the year as a civilian support vehicle for the sea service personnel stationed in our state. With some 5,500 members, it is the largest council of the 350 Navy League councils throughout the world. The donations raised by its highly successful fund raising activities have unquestionably helped make Hawai`i a better duty post.

For their efforts and contributions, members of the Honolulu Navy League look forward to monthly golf tournaments at the Navy-Marine Golf Course and to occasional invitations for cruises aboard some of the Navy's finest ships.

Living in Hawai`i, surrounded by the sea, and with Pearl Harbor a constant visual reminder, perhaps belonging to the Navy League sounds like the right thing to do. If so, give the Honolulu office a call at 422-9404.

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