Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

It’s Aloha Friday, no work till Monday.

The Hawaii Excursion 2017

Waikiki Beach

View from the lanai of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, March 14, 2017

We arrived in Honolulu on March 13. First stop, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, located at the western end of Waikiki. The HHV is a huge complex of seven towers with restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and convention facilities. We had stayed there one night back in the 1980’s. We probably would not have chosen it had we not been there for Left Coast Crime, Honolulu Havoc. I have nothing against the HHV. Mary Fran and I are simply not resort people. We were very pleased and surprised with what we found. If you are doing a week-long Hawaiian getaway, the HHV is a great place with plenty to do for everyone, including kids. Best of all, it’s right on Waikiki Beach and an easy walk to some of the best restaurants and entertainment.

 

You don’t have to leave the Hilton for music. We heard the very talented Nohelani Cypriano one night in the beachside Tropics and we heard Jerry Santos and Olomana two nights in the Tapa Bar. Both Nohelani and Olomana are regular headliners at the Hilton. One of the Olomana performances,

Jerry Santos and Olomans

Jerry Santos (guitar) performing at The Tapa Bar, March 18, 2017

in particular, was a treat because it was the same night as the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest. We were in the Tapa Bar when the song contest finished and some of the judges came into the Tapa. A few of them performed some impromptu hulas.

Meals are expensive at the Hilton, as you might guess, but the Hilton Lagoon borders Waikiki Yacht Harbor and between the two is a parking lot where we found a great food truck with reasonably priced fish and shrimp tacos. On the other side of the Hilton is the Hale Koa, a hotel for servicemen and their families. You can’t get into the Hale Koa without a military ID, but there is an outside café and an outside bar, neither requiring IDs. The prices there are about half of the Hilton’s.

In coming weeks, I will post more about the conference and our Hawaii excursion.

Go For Broke

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is located next to Fort DeRussey where the Hale Koa Hotel is located as well as a military museum and Kuroda Field. The field is a large, green area commemorating Robert T. Kuroda, a Medal of Honor recipient who died in Bruyeres, France in 1944.

Kuroda Field, Ft. DeRussey

Honoring Robert T. Kuroda, Medal of Honor Recipient, 442nd RCT

Kuroda was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated American combat unit. The motto of the 442nd was “Go For Broke.”

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese population in Hawaii came under suspicion and their loyalties were questioned. They responded by taking measures to support the war effort and to demonstrate their allegiance to the United States. Many Japanese-American men, mostly Hawaiian-born, petitioned to be allowed to serve in the military. Some of these men were already serving in various units of the Hawaii National Guard, others were members of the University of Hawaii ROTC who called themselves the Varsity Volunteers for Victory. Their petition was granted and they were organized into the 100th Infantry Battalion on June 5, 1942. By this time, Japanese American citizens living in the western portion of the United States were being rounded up and sent to concentration camps throughout the West.
The 100th was the first US Army unit made up of Japanese Americans. Most of these men were Nisei, or second-generation, whose parents had emigrated from Japan (and who were not eligible for citizenship until sometime in the 1950’s.) The 100th trained at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin and Camp Shelby in Mississippi. In 1943 the US government offered Japanese American men on the mainland an opportunity to leave the camps by joining the Army. Many volunteered and were formed into the 442nd which was merged with the 100th. The 100th became the 442nd’s first battalion.

While the 442nd trained at Camp Shelby, the 100th was sent to Oran in North Africa. From there they were sent to Salerno, Italy and took part in the Italian campaigns, The rest of the 442nd joined them in early 1944 and continued the fighting through Italy and southern France.

I will give more about the 100th and the 442nd in the coming weeks. As I mentioned above, Robert Toshio Kuroda, born in Aiea, Hawaii, enlisted in the Army and served in the 442nd. He was twenty-one years old when he died. Here is his Medal of Honor citation.

Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, on 20 October 1944, near Bruyeres, France. Leading his men in an advance to destroy snipers and machine gun nests, Staff Sergeant Kuroda encountered heavy fire from enemy soldiers occupying a heavily wooded slope. Unable to pinpoint the hostile machine gun, he boldly made his way through heavy fire to the crest of the ridge. Once he located the machine gun, Staff Sergeant Kuroda advanced to a point within ten yards of the nest and killed three enemy gunners with grenades. He then fired clip after clip of rifle ammunition, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy. As he expended the last of his ammunition, he observed that an American officer had been struck by a burst of fire from a hostile machine gun located on an adjacent hill. Rushing to the officer’s assistance, he found that the officer had been killed. Picking up the officer’s submachine gun, Staff Sergeant Kuroda advanced through continuous fire toward a second machine gun emplacement and destroyed the position. As he turned to fire upon additional enemy soldiers, he was killed by a sniper. Staff Sergeant Kuroda’s courageous actions and indomitable fighting spirit ensured the destruction of enemy resistance in the sector. Staff Sergeant Kuroda’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

In total, twenty-one members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were awarded Medals of Honor.

Aloha Roland Cazimero

Last week Hawaii and the world lost a great singer, song-writer, and composer. Roland Cazimero was a 1968 graduate of Kamehameha Schools. With his older brother Robert, he shared his gift of music with the world for more than forty years, winning many Na Hokuhanohano awards and influencing several generations of Hawaiian musicians. The brothers formed the band, Sunday Manoa, with Peter Moon and quickly emerged as leaders of the Hawaiian music, art, and cultural renaissance in the 1970’s. Later Robert and Roland performed and recorded as a duo, The Brothers Cazimero. For many years they headlined at the Monarch Room in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. They were inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Though we mourn his passing, his music will never die.

Say It Ain’t So, Hawaii Five-O

Sadly, it is so. Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have left the show. I don’t know how they can be replaced. Grace Park, as Kono Kalakaua was one of the most kick-ass women on screen. She surfed. She stood up for victims of abuse. She kicked ass and gave out more punishment than she took. Daniel Dae Kim had that look of confidence and quiet menace about him, that told you he meant business. When Marshall Zeringue asked who I would cast if The Splintered Paddle were made into a movie, I nominated Daniel Dae Kim to play Moon Ito. Hop over to the “About Ava Rome” page of this site for the link to My Book, the Movie.

Until next time, Aloha.

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