2014
Women's Equality Day event highlights roles at work, home
Navy contractors begin drilling for two new ground water monitoring wells
Navy Region Hawaii - Storm Announcements
USS Denver Will Decommission After 46 Years of Service
Hawaii to welcome USS Preble and USS John Paul Jones
USS Lake Erie to depart for new homeport of San Diego
We're in this Together: One Suicide is One Too Many
Region 'Know Load' team helps Forest City residents
RIMPAC 2014 begins June 26
Impact of RIMPAC, balancing the benefits
USS Hopper assists successful missile intercept
Summer safety advice for RIMPAC participants
E komo mai means welcome
RIMPAC 2014 facts
Take care of Hawaii's environment during RIMPAC
USS North Carolina holds change of command
Welcome to our RIMPAC friends
USS Halsey (DDG 97) to Deploy to 7th Fleet Areas of Reponsibility
RIMPAC Sailors volunteer, learn about Native Hawaiian culture
Navy water consumers in Hawaii receive annual water quality report
Navy continues battle against coconut rhinoceros beetle
Visiting Sailors volunteer to clean historic Kalaeloa Heritage Park
Navy participates in public meeting on response to Red Hill fuel release
RIMPAC 2014 participants conduct sinking exercise
Ball cap wear policy to expand starting this September
Navy Region Hawaii sets Tropical Cyclone of Readiness Four
Navy Region Hawaii sets Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Four
USS Lake Erie Visits Osaka
Navy in Hawaii combats sexual harassment, assault
USS Lake Erie completes western Pacific deployment
Wear testing begins for Lightweight Type I Navy Working Uniform
Navy releases name of Sailor who died June 8 at Maunalua Bay
Military urged to stay safe while enjoying summer activities
Tips for Summer Safety
Drinking Water Remains Safe after Red Hill Leak Reported
Three pinholes found in Red Hill's empty tank 5
Navy begins visual inspection of tank at Red Hill
Navy to brief Hawaii lawmakers on Red Hill water safety
Forest City reinvests in military communities in Hawaii
Navy housing liaison shares energy saving tips
Navy rallies to conserve, reduce at Energy Action Day Fair
State, industry, port partners and U.S. military establish alternate port to enhance State of Hawaii's readiness
Theme of Hispanic Heritage Month emphasizes past, present, future
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Military, state reach new heights with crane blessing ceremony
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam hosts Women's Waterfront Symposium
Energy officials discusses Navy's future at summit
Hurricane season is still here - here comes Ana
"Know Load" tips can help residents conserve energy
Pearl Harbor Day: Let us not forget
Base brings burner to beetle battle to help prevent spread
Newspaper Archives
Admirals Commentaries
Energy security supports SECNAV, CNO goals
The role of chief: Backbone of our Navy, providing leadership
Showcasing excellence and pride at air show this weekend
'Take care of our people' is priority one
Energy Action Month: Moving from brown to green
Standing with Veterans: The meaning of 'Thank you for your service'
Lessons on working together from the past, present and into the future
Defining leadership: making a difference
Chosin and importance of perspective, reflections on namesake
Preserving Memory of Pearl Harbor Day, 'Greatest Generation'
'Pearl Harbor Colors' will honor military and families
Seizing the opportunity
Cooperative partnerships build stronger community
Vietnam War commemoration: 'Unity Over Self'
Battle of Sundra Strait lessons and need to be ready
In time of need NMCRS team supports our people, mission
'Communicating the value' of Hawaii's schools
Feeling of 'ohana' makes Hawaii special
It's an honor to lead Navy Region Hawaii/MIDPAC ohana
Service, summits show commitment to our people
Back to school, back to promoting summer safety
Remembering, Honoring, Celebrating: '70 Years of Peace'
Red Hill Fuel Facility is national strategic asset
Suicide prevention: '1 Small ACT' of kindness, hope
A Pearl Harbor perspective on remembering 9/11
Mid-September highlighted with awards, advancement
'Young enough to not die from smoking'
Stakeholder letter updates community about Red Hill
Recognizing, honoring humble heroes of WWII
Resolving to do more right in 2016
Press Releases
First 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony January 15
USS Halsey to return from deployment
Next 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony set for Feb. 26
Next 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony set for Mar. 19
Navy Confirms Death of Sailor Sunday in Hawaii
Alleged Hazardous Material Confiscated at JBPHH
Navy goes to Merrie Monarch
Green is color of Next 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony
Shipyard Personnel to Conduct 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony, Honor History and Heritage
USS Michael Murphy to return from Western Pacific Deployment
USNS Mercy and USNS Millinocket To Depart Hawaii for Pacific Partenership Deployment
Dock at USS Arizona Memorial Under Repair. Navy, Coast Guard Investigations Underway
Vietnam Veterans to be Honored at the Next 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony
Drinking Water Remains Safe in Red Hill Vicinity
Vietnam Veteran Tim Guard to Be the Guest Speaker at Thursday's 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony
Navy Region and MIDPAC Change of Command set for Friday
'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony to Salute Youth
Red Hill Fuel Facility is a national strategic asset
'Pearl Harbor Colors' 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Pacific
Former POW Gerald Coffee to be guest speaker at Thursday's 'Pearl Harbor Colors' Ceremony
U.S. Navy signs EPA and state of Hawaii consent order
USS Preble to Return from Independent Deployment
Navy seeks public input at open house scoping meetings
USS Theodore Roosevelt to arrive in Pearl Harbor Sunday
Navy invites Board of Water Supply to tour Red Hill
Chinese Navy Ships to visit Hawaii Sunday
Navy to celebrate Festival of Lights in Pearl Harbor
USS Chafee to return home from independent deployment
Chief of Naval Personnel visits Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
COLA Living Pattern Survey takes place from Feb. 1 to March 1
Civilian helicopter goes down in Pearl Harbor
CNRH Represents Navy at Hawaii Governor's Gold Star Proclamation Signing
Hawaii Sailors Engage with Praxis to Fight Sexual Misconduct
Navy's Red Hill Tanks Pass Tightness Testing, Show No Leaking
Naval Forces Visits Hawaii
Navy Continues Stakeholder Comms on Red Hill
Secretary of the Navy Visits Hawaii Sailors, Marines
Career information Center assists Pearl Harbor commands with retention awards
Navy’s partnership with Polynesian Voyaging Society
Pearl Harbor Remembers the Battle of Midway
Native Oysters Making a Return to Pearl Harbor
Exercise Citadel Pacific 2019 taking place through June 28
Fair Winds and Following Seas to a Pearl Harbor Icon
Hawaii hurricane season has begun
Chung-Hoon Sailor recognized for saving child's life
2015
Pearl Harbor Colors honors African Americans
Hawaii commands garner CNO environmental awards
Sailors say farewells as USS Preble departs to western Pacific
Mayor, City Council promote sexual assault prevention
Navy commands in Hawaii garner top environmental awards
Pearl Harbor Colors celebrates Women's History Month
Sea Cadets learn naval tradition, leadership skills
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society honors volunteers
NEX Earth Day Expo educates young minds about environment
Pearl Harbor Colors celebrates Earth Day and National Park Week
Military Children Recognized for Scholastic Achievements
JROTC Joins Worldwide 5K Run
Pearl Harbor Plants Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention
Joint Base rescues sea turtle
USS Chafee leaves on deployment
Leadership of two top military commands in Hawaii to change
Joint service ceremony marks anniversary of West Loch Disaster
Ogden relieves Collins as CO of USS Chung-Hoon
Teams work together to repair USS Arizona Memorial
Navy in Hawaii honors Vietnam veterans
Navy provides annual water reports to Navy water consumers in Hawaii
Student transition program makes sure military children feel welcome
U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts 'Hiring Our Heroes'
Next Pearl Harbor Colors to highlight youth service
Sailors honor late Pearl Harbor survivor EMC Haag
Hawaii's history and military legacy perpetuated at regatta
Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange is one of 2014 Bingham Award winners
Navy Region Hawaii is conducting the command climate survey through July 31
Pearl Harbor Colors ceremony honors future service members, leaders
Tropical Depression Ela posed no threat, but is reminder
Drivers urged to use caution as school starts July 29
USS Preble enjoys Australian culture in Darwin
Congresswoman Gabbard tours Red Hill facility
Radford Transition Center helps students adjust
USS Paul Hamilton returns from deployment
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Holly Petraeus brings financial advice to Joint Base
USS Theodore Roosevelt visits Hawaii
Military, Honolulu officials rededicate site as war memorial
Pearl Harbor Colors ceremony honors Marine birthday
SECDEF Message: Celebrate the Holidays Safely
Veterans Day ceremony aboard Mighty Mo honors veterans
Navy makes strides toward energy efficiency in 2015
Japanese minister of defense visits USS Port Royal
Events to commemorate 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor remembrance
McGinn tours Red Hill Fuel Facility during visit to Hawaii
Christmas Fire Safety
Pearl Harbor Remembrance to highlight 'Pathway to Reconciliation'
Ho`okele Magazine 2019

Vietnam War commemoration: 'Unity Over Self'

Rear Adm. Rick Williams

02/27/15

By Rear Adm. Rick Williams, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

Recently, Rear Adm. Mike Franken, director of the OSD Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and I had the distinct privilege of meeting with retired Navy Capt. Gerald “Jerry” Coffee and retired Capt. Jim Hickerson. Both are American heroes and former Vietnam prisoners of war at the prison branded the “Hanoi Hilton.”

Capt. Coffee was held for seven years and Capt. Hickerson for five. These esteemed warriors shared some of their sage guidance and wisdom, along with an enlightening perspective that provided a deeper appreciation for these special veterans.

I read and recommend Jerry’s elegantly penned book “Beyond Survival: Building on the Hard Times — a POW’s Inspiring Story” about his triumph over adversity and what he calls “the invincible human spirit.”

Jim’s wife, Carole, is a founding member of National League of Families of America’s Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia who designed the logo used on the POW/MIA flag.

American and Allied POWs, including Jerry Coffee and Jim Hickerson, endured torture, humiliation and extreme deprivation at the hands of their captors. Their families lived with fear, emptiness and grief.

During the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War, a grateful nation remembers and honors the sacrifice of all those who served, most as volunteers. In particular, we remember those who were held as POWs or who are still missing in action or unaccounted for. We remember the more than 58,000 killed in action and the hundreds of thousands wounded or who suffered PTSD. They and their families are heroes, and they must never be forgotten.

One of the great tragedies of Vietnam was the way service members were treated when they returned state-side. Often, the men and women who served in that war were shunned, disrespected and even verbally abused. The nation is trying to correct that wrong.

Speaking to Vietnam veterans, President Barack Obama said this:

“We reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations: to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us … This is what this 50th anniversary is all about.

“It’s another opportunity to say to our Vietnam veterans what we should have been saying from the beginning: You did your job. You served with honor. You made us proud. You came home and you helped build the America that we love and that we cherish … You have earned your place among the greatest generations.”

During the Vietnam era, Hawaii provided key bases for forward deployment, training and support. And, of course, Honolulu was the best R&R spot for troops. In the ’60s and early ’70s Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers often met their loved ones at Fort DeRussy for a brief respite in Waikiki.

When POWs finally came home from Vietnam in March 1973, the first state they stepped foot on was Hawaii — right here at what is now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Today, all of us, in or out of uniform, need to understand the service and sacrifice of the more than three million Americans who served in Vietnam. Collectively, we must refocus our efforts to the lessons of history.

That’s why here in our region we’re committed to remembering and honoring all veterans: Vietnam and Korea, World War II and the Cold War; Desert Storm and the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

We must communicate our appreciation and conviction that the United States would not long exist without brave heroes like them — those that demonstrated the fortitude to defend the enlightened ideals upon which this country was founded.

For that dignified purpose, some of our beloved shipmates perished and our POWs suffered. From this uncommon sense of commitment, veterans like Jerry Coffee and Jim Hickerson have helped us preserve peace.

Those of us in uniform today feel a strong kinship with our veterans through our privileged association, whether or not we served alongside them in battle or suffered the same hardship. We will keep alive the memory of our fallen shipmates, better understand their strength, and show our appreciation for their courage and service to our nation.

Through our veterans outreach initiatives, including Pearl Harbor Colors ceremonies, we show our appreciation and deep conviction to preserving the memory, history and heritage of our service members past and present.

The ability to stay connected with our veterans and our heritage is a team effort. Our stakeholders and partners include the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Military Affairs Council, Navy League, Friends of Hickam, Fleet Reserve Association, Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Missouri Memorial Association, Bowfin Museum, National Park Service and other groups.

Capt. Hickerson, Carole Hickerson and Capt. Coffee remind us of the importance of that team effort and the importance of working together toward a common goal.

As a POW, Capt. Coffee overcame adversity with his fellow POWs in part through a simple but inspiring phrase. “Our motto in prison was simple: Unity Over Self,” he said. “Our very survival depended on it. It was based upon faith in and loyalty to one another: Unity Over Self.”

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