Dear Members and Friends,
Under the evening skies as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of barking sands, our Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site was dedicated to each of the six military branches and to those with their families and friends that have served, sacrificed, and deployed all over the world. We were deeply honored to have the two oldest surviving living veterans from the state of Hawaii, whom served in World War II: Turk Tokita, and Whitey Kurasaki. Accompanying them were John Iwamoto, a Korean War veteran, and Edward Kawamura, a Vietnam veteran. All four of these veterans and 'Aunty' Aletha Kaohi, a respected elder and direct descendant of Hawaiian ancestry from Kauai, were involved with MDAA and the United States Navy in the creation, planning and implementation of this stunning tribute.
This MDAA inspired Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site, centered on tranquil water flowing gently under the "Pohaku" is a blessed Hawaiian scared rock, against the backdrop of the majestic Makaha Ridge cutting into the Pacific Ocean, represents the strength to prevent conflict and the peace that we all seek.
In a semi-circle which surrounds the spectacular view through and over the "Pohaku" are six stoic pillars that stand as sentinels, with each military seal prominent of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines. Their sacrifices from yesteryears up until today and towards the future, stand testament for preserving peace and are to be honored, treasured, respected, and a source of endless inspiration. That inspiration has a rightful place here where this Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site is embedded at the Pacific Range Missile Facility in Kauai.
Missile defense capability is a non killing weapons system which preserves peace, prevents conflict and protects around the world. It is developed and tested right here at the Pacific Range Missile Facility (PMRF). Currently, there are over 100 missile interceptors with 23 U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Defense Aegis ships in all of our fleets today. Those systems came through here. The protection of Europe is also being tested and developed., with the new Aegis Ashore site located here in Kauai that tracks ballistic missiles and shoots interceptors to negate them.
The new THAAD system that is about to be deployed in the Middle East and here in the Pacific region, that can track and shoot ballistic missiles at a lower altitude, was also tested and developed here in Kauai. The ability to coordinate these systems, with the Army's Patriot system, into a fully integrated and cohesive whole, has also been tested and developed here in Kauai. Yesterday we shot and successfully tested an SM31B interceptor, the next iteration of missile defense, that will fill the vertical launch tubes of Aegis BMD ships and the Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland. The future of these technologies in missile defense will not be just limited to what we are developing today but to other more advanced technologies that include electric rail guns and directed energy lasers, all for the same cause of prevention of conflict that this Memorial stands for.
But this Memorial is far more than that, it is about bringing cultures together as a common bond of creating peace and harmony. It is about the Hawaiian people and their culture and their greatest gift of aloha spirit that brings diversity together in peace, love and happiness to live together like no other state. It is about bringing our U.S. military, whose determination is often misinterpreted and misunderstood, to be seen as partners in sharing that common will of preventing conflict with tools that prevent escalation and support peaceful harmony around the world. This Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site is about inspiration and dream making, it is the merging point for our youth and our old to still climb to the stars, as the rockets that launch from here do. To dream big and be big in looking at how they too can help preserve peace, prevent conflict and bring diversity of culture, thoughts, and education through their community and their military.
It remains, and always will remain, about the men, women, and their families that served and sacrificed for our nation to preserve peace.
On behalf of our membership all over the country, we are truly honored to bring this Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site to full completion for the community of Kauai, the State of Hawaii, and to our military for our peace.