On April 29, 2006, Steve Sakoda, born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb while serving his country as a Sergeant in the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, United States Army. He was in Iraq because he volunteered for active combat duty after witnessing the violent attacks of September 11, 2001.
Prior to his deployment, Sgt. Sakoda was a student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Communications. Some of his classmates and friends are currently trying to have him honored as a Distinguished Alumni from the University of Hawaii.
He was nominated, but the selection committee denied his selection this Friday, opting instead to honor Mr. Russell Okata, Executive Director of the HGEA, Mr. Maurice Kaya, the Chief Technology Officer from DBEDT, and Mr. Yukio Takeya, the owner of Ala Kai Realty.
Sgt. Sakoda has continued the legacy of the Hawaiian Soldier first started by the warriors of the 442nd in WWII. He has represented our great state honorably, the least we can do is to honor his memory and celebrate his life.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has the full story of Sgt. Sakoda:
HILO » Army Sgt. Steve Makoto Sakoda, 29, of Hilo, killed Saturday in Iraq by a roadside bomb, wanted to foster peaceful means of resolving conflicts, said Hilo writer and director Jeri Gertz.
Born Dec. 30, 1976, in Hilo, the younger of his parents' two children after his sister, Stella, Sakoda graduated from Waiakea High School in 1994 and joined the Marine Corps Reserve a few months later.
He graduated from UH-Hilo in 2002, met his wife-to-be, Michelle Vallente Castillo, the next year and married her in 2004.
At UH-Hilo, Sakoda had considered being a deejay or journalist, but he also liked the idea of flying helicopters, said Gertz.
The University of Hawaii-Hilo's Alumni & Friends has a website here, which is part of the University's system. They can be contacted at email@example.com or at 808-974-7501/7643.
A little over a year ago at my previous blog, I posted two stories documenting the less the friendly attitude towards veterans harbored by certain persons at UHH. Andrew Walden related the story of campus leftists attempting to silence a Hilo College Republican event that featured military veterans who had served in Iraq as speakers.
On October 17, 2005 the UHH faculty Congress Executive Committee passed a resolution that stated:
The Congress Executive Committee (CEC) recognizes that military recruitment on campus raises some legitimate issues regarding discrimination against homosexuals. The CEC encourages concerned students to organize forums to educate the campus community on this issue. The CEC also encourages student organizations (for example GLO, UHSA, and the political science club) to take action on this issue if they feel it is appropriate.
The above "legitimate issue" was raised by Justin Avery who was president of the student group Global HOPE. This is the same group that torpedoed former combat Marine Dylan Nonaka's appointment as student representative to the Board of Regents. The Global HOPE club has on two occasions shown the movie "9-11 in Plane Site" on campus. The movie maintains that the 9/11 attacks were conducted by the CIA.
Grant Jones: UHH class of 2005.
Crossposted at The Dougout