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Tokuda Finds Way to Strip Name of Captain Cook from Post Office
By News Release @ 2:56 PM :: 1005 Views :: Hawaii County , Hawaii History, Military

Rep. Tokuda Introduces Bill to Rename Hawaiʻi Island Post Office After Vietnam War Veteran Hero

Press Release from Office of Rep Tokuda, July 1, 2024

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Representative Jill Tokuda (HI-02) introduced a bill to rename the Captain Cook Post Office on Hawaiʻi Island after First Lieutenant John Kuulei Kauhaihao of Hōnaunau, who was killed in action in Vietnam and posthumously awarded the U.S. Army’s second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

“There are no amount of words to express my sincere gratitude to First Lieutenant Kauhaihao who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country and no words can express my deepest condolences to his family for their loss more than 50 years ago. First Lieutenant Kauhaihao exhibited extraordinary courage and heroism as he led and protected his soldiers in Vietnam. For that, he rightfully deserves to be recognized in the community he was born, where he lived, and where his beloved wife and family still reside,” said Rep. Tokuda, member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Our veterans are heroes and role models for the next generation, and we must honor and always remember the sacrifices they have made for our country.”

On September 5, 1969, at the age of 27, Kauhaihao was fatally injured during a reconnaissance-in-force operation in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. When his platoon came under enemy fire, Kauhaihao launched over 30 grenades in 15 minutes at enemy bunkers while simultaneously drawing fire on himself so that his men could sight enemy gunners.  He is survived by his widow and Konawaena High School sweetheart, Shirley, and their four children. 

“Our ʻohana is so grateful to Congresswoman Tokuda for introducing this bill to honor John's memory and legacy of service to our country," said Shirley Kauhaihao, Lt. Kauhaihaoʻs widow. "It is our sincere hope that naming the post office after John will bring recognition to the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam War veterans who served and died, as well as those who came home and continue to serve their communities and country, especially those from Hawaiʻi. John was an excellent husband, father, and man, and he loved his role as a soldier because he loved his country. He truly was the greatest."

“The Hawaii Army National Guard’s First Lt. John Kuulei Kauhaihao's exemplary bravery and ultimate sacrifice embody the highest ideals of our military. Naming this post office in his honor ensures that his legacy of heroism and dedication to Hawai‘i and our nation will be remembered and will serve as an inspiration for all.” said Major General Kenneth Hara, Adjutant General of the State of Hawai‘i. 

U.S. Representative Ed Case (HI-01) is an original cosponsor of the bill. If it becomes law, it would be the first time a post office has been named on Hawai‘i Island. The last time a post office was named in the state was 2011.

More information on the bill can be found here...

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HTH: Rep. Tokuda introduces bill to rename Hawaii Island post office after Vietnam War veteran hero - Hawaii Tribune-Herald 

SA: U.S. House bill would rename Hawaii island post office after Vietnam War hero

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