On October 20th, The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) honored U.S. Pacific Command and all the military components that took part in “Operation Tomodachi,” the U.S. military’s response to the tragic earthquake and tsunami this past March 11 in northeast Japan, at its annual dinner with the JASH Bridge Award. The Bridge Award recognizes individuals or groups in the community who have worked hard to promote the important relationship between U.S. and Japan. This year, because of the tragic events in Japan, JASH decided to make the theme of the dinner “Friends in Need–Japan Disaster Relief,” and recognized the U.S. military for Operation Tomodachi. Over 400 attended the gala event, including members of the military services. A video tribute was also played in their honor.
On hand to accept the award was the Deputy Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Lieutenant General Daniel Darnell, who was the keynote speaker for the evening. In his acceptance remarks, General Darnell complimented the teamwork of all the military services and men and women of Pacific Command, noting that the operation required the support of some 18,000 U.S. forces. General Darnell emphasized that the U.S. Forces worked in support of the Japan Self Defense Forces and used the opportunity to compliment Chief of Staff of Japan’s Joint Staff General Ryoichi Oriki (who was present along with his wife Hideko) and all the members of Japan’s Self Defense Forces for their “immense courage, resolve, self-sufficiency and poise” in executing disaster relief following the tragic events. General Darnell ended his comments by quoting U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who spoke of Operation Tomodachi, saying “together we have served not only the defense of Japan, but the cause of peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific Region.” General Darnell thanked the members of JASH and the community for this recognition, and pointed to the important role JASH plays in promoting and maintaining the important U.S.-Japan relationship.
Military components in Hawaii sent senior commanders or representatives to the event as follows: General Gary North, Commander, Pacific Air Forces; Lieutenant General Duane Thiessen, Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific; Major General Darryll Wong, Hawaii State Adjutant General and Commander, Hawaii Air National Guard; Rear Admiral Charles Ray, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard District 14; Brigadier General Roger Mathews, Deputy Commanding General Hawaii Army National Guard; Captain Timothy Smith, Director, Joint Support Task Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Colonel Keith Tamashiro, Commander, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, U.S. Army Pacific. Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle delivered congratulatory remarks while Hawaii senior Senator Daniel Inouye sent a congratulatory message, along with Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, and Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz. It was a great evening to recognize the great men and women of our military who we are proud to have as members of our community.
For more photos of the Annual Dinner please visit our Facebook album.