Happy Labor Day!
After a week in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in March, Mary Fran and I moved to Mokuleia for another week. Mokuleia is about as far as you can go on Oahu without turning around. It is on the North Shore, west of Waialua, towards Kaena Point. The cabin we rented was in a compound called Owen’s Retreat, which consisted of five cottages next to Mokuleia Beach Park. Our cottage, the Orange Cottage was basically a studio apartment built right on the beach. It had a bedroom, bathroom, very small kitchen, and a large lanai. How small was it? It was so small, there was only one way in and out of bed.
Unlike other North Shore beaches, Mokuleia is not great surfing. There was one surf break just beyond the reef from our lanai where three or four surfers would appear every morning, but it was not crowded. The big attraction of Mokuleia is the wind. Every afternoon and evening as many as thirty windsurfers and kite surfers would hit the water off the beach park, providing us with an incredible show while we sipped our gin and tonics. We were so far from the city, there was hardly any light pollution. There was no moon while we were there. I can’t recall ever seeing so many stars. They seemed so close you could pick them out of the sky. We would go outside every night just to look at the Milky Way.
The reef came right up to the beach and had great snorkeling. It was a shallow, coral reef teeming with fish and turtles. One day while snorkeling, I had the great experience of having a very large turtle rise up from the bottom in front of me and swim ahead of me for several minutes. I didn’t see him on the bottom until he came up. On another evening, we were sitting at the water’s edge when a Hawaiian guy came sneaking out of the shrubbery behind us and crept to the water. He was watching the reef fish the whole time. When he reached the water he threw in a net and quickly pulled it back with thirty or forty fish. Anything smaller than his hand, he threw back in, but that left him with nearly half a bucket. He said he planned to split them open and fry them in oil like potato chips.
Although the beach was never crowded, we saw people out there everyday. On one day, while walking the beach, I came upon two old Polynesian guys under a tree playing music on a guitar and ukulele. They let me sit and listen. We about forty minutes we discussed life, philosophy, and Hawaii. They even played a little music for me.
Our last weekend at Mokuleia, we had 25 foot waves generated by a storm in the North Pacific. The water washed up under our cottage. The surf was a constant roar. I would go back in a minute.
Go For Broke!
Hill 140—Little Cassino
In July 2, 1944, the 442nd engaged the enemy near Livorno, Italy on their push to the Arno River. Hill 140, the main point of German resistance, was held by a single German battalion. The 2nd and 3rd battalions had to cross rolling hills and already harvested wheat fields under fire from German mortars and devastating 88s. The German mortars and artillery wiped out a machine gun squad of L company and all of G company except its commander.
For three days, the Nisei fought to hold their vulnerable position. The terrain was so rocky, they had difficulty digging trenches for protection from the German artillery. The fighting so fierce and so hard, they renamed Hill 140, Little Cassino.
On July 4, Private First Class Frank Ono’s squad was pinned down by machine gun fire. Ono set out on his own, firing his rifle and throwing grenades. He maintained an exposed position, making himself a target, until his squad could withdraw safely. Private First Class William Nakamura’s squad was likewise pinned down. Nakamura crawled to within 20 yards of the machine gun nest and lobbed four grenades, which destroyed it and the enemy. Then he maintained his position to cover the withdrawal of his platoon. Nakamura was killed by a sniper.
The 232nd engineers, attached to the 442nd defused land mines and the antitank company carried the wounded away. Casualties were so heavy they swamped the medics. The 522nd artillery maintained a barrage on the Germans. The 2nd battalion attacked on the eastern front and the 3rd battalion on the western front, converging on the German flanks. Finally on July 7, the 442nd seized Hill 140 from the Germans.
Medal of Honor Citations
Ono, Frank H.
Born: June 5, 1923, Delta, Colorado
Died: May 6, 1980.
Rank: Private First Class
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Medal of Honor citation:
Private First Class Frank H. Ono distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. In attacking a heavily defended hill, Private First Class Ono’s squad was caught in a hail of formidable fire from the well-entrenched enemy. Private First Class Ono opened fire with his automatic rifle and silenced one machine gun 300 hundred yards to the right front. Advancing through incessant fire, he killed a sniper with another burst of fire, and while his squad leader reorganized the rest of the platoon in the rear, he alone defended the critical position. His weapon was then wrenched from his grasp by a burst of enemy machine pistol fire as enemy troops attempted to close in on him. Hurling hand grenades, Private First Class Ono forced the enemy to abandon the attempt, resolutely defending the newly won ground until the rest of the platoon moved forward. Taking a wounded comrade’s rifle, Private First Class Ono again joined in the assault. After killing two more enemy soldiers, he boldly ran through withering automatic, small arms, and mortar fire to render first aid to his platoon leader and a seriously wounded rifleman. In danger of being encircled, the platoon was ordered to withdraw. Volunteering to cover the platoon, Private First Class Ono occupied virtually unprotected positions near the crest of the hill, engaging an enemy machine gun emplaced on an adjoining ridge and exchanging fire with snipers armed with machine pistols. Completely disregarding his own safety, he made himself the constant target of concentrated enemy fire until the platoon reached the comparative safety of a draw. He then descended the hill in stages, firing his rifle, until he rejoined the platoon. Private First Class Ono’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.
Nakamura, William Kenzo
Born: January 21, 1922
Died: July 4, 1944
Rank: Private First Class
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Nakamura and his family were interned in the Minidoka, Idaho concentration camp from which Nakamura volunteered serve. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Medal of Honor citation:
Private First Class William K. Nakamura distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. During a fierce firefight, Private First Class Nakamura’s platoon became pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a concealed position. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura crawled 20 yards toward the hostile nest with fire from the enemy machine gun barely missing him. Reaching a point 15 yards from the position, he quickly raised himself to a kneeling position and threw four hand grenades, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy soldiers. The enemy weapon silenced, Private First Class Nakamura crawled back to his platoon, which was able to continue its advance as a result of his courageous action. Later, his company was ordered to withdraw from the crest of a hill so that a mortar barrage could be placed on the ridge. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura remained in position to cover his comrades’ withdrawal. While moving toward the safety of a wooded draw, his platoon became pinned down by deadly machine gun fire. Crawling to a point from which he could fire on the enemy position, Private First Class Nakamura quickly and accurately fired his weapon to pin down the enemy machine gunners. His platoon was then able to withdraw to safety without further casualties. Private First Class Nakamura was killed during this heroic stand. Private First Class Nakamura’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.
The Tiki Bar is open.
Fortunately for us in College Station, we were not adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey. We had a lot of rain, over 25 inches, but no damage. With nothing to do, we watched tv and drank. What better concoction than a Hurricane? We added our own variation to the traditional Hurricane. We call this the Hurricane Harvey.
4 oz dark rum
2 oz lilikoi/passion fruit juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orgeat syrup
Juice of 1 Lime
Shake with crushed ice. Pour drink and ice into a Hurricane glass or a tiki mug.
Aloha! Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend!