Fifty four of the living 81 recipients of the Medal of Honor will gather next week in Honolulu for the group’s annual convention. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, one of the best known recipients, will be among them. Allan Kellogg, who lives in Kailua, Oahu, will also represent Hawaii.
The Medal of Honor Society gathers each year to reunite living members as they continue their legacy of inspiring our youth, honoring patriots and exemplary citizens, and memorializing those recipients who have passed.
Allan J. Kellogg was a gunnery sergeant serving in Vietnam and leading his unit to recover a fallen comrade when he was hit by a grenade. He threw himself over the grenade to save his fellow Marines, and was seriously injured in his chest and shoulder. After retiring, he worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a benefit counselor at Tripler Army Medical Center and works with veterans today.
Senator Inouye’s exploits ere detailed in Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generaton.” Inouye was a member of the 442nd all Japanese American Regimental Combat Team, the unit that got some of the very toughest jobs during World War II. Inouye was serving in Italy and heading up a hill towards a nest of Germans when he was struck in the abdomen by a bullet. He kept on going. He continued his one-man assault, throwing two grenades before the Germans launched a grenade into his right arm, shattering it. Inouye kept on going. He pried a third grenade out of his useless right hand with his left, and threw it, and then kept up a machine gun attack. His unit was successful. Twenty five Germans were dead, and Inouye captured 8 more. Inouye received the Distinguished Service Cross, though most believe he would have been awarded the Medal of Honor at the time had he not been of Japanese ancestry. Inouye later was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Inouye had previously received a Bronze Star for his role in rescuing 140 Texas troops trapped by the Germans in Italy. Inouye celebrates 50 years as Hawaii’s U. S. Senator in January.
The Medal of Honor is this country’s highest military honor, awarded for acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. There are three different versions of the medal, one for the Army, one for the Navy, one for the Air Force. Members of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard are eligible to receive the Navy version. The medal is always awarded by the President of the United States. Over the past 151 years, fewer than 3,500 recipients have been awarded the Medal. Only 81 living recipients remain today, including the two from Hawaii.
The other recipients are coming from all over the country, and will spend much of their time on Oahu visiting schools. There are several public events for those who may be on Oahu next week.
Medal of Honor Public Events
Oct. 3: MEMORIAL STONE DEDICATION CEREMONY?10:30 a.m. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The dedication of a memorial stone will honor 32 Medal of Honor recipients interred at Punchbowl. Admission is free. Limited parking will be available at Punchbowl, along with off-site parking and free shuttle service at Lincoln Elementary, Stevenson Middle and Roosevelt High schools starting at 8 a.m. The shuttle will take attendees to and from alternate parking sites.
Oct. 5: DOWNTOWN BLOCK PARTY ?6-10 p.m. Actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band will perform a free concert on Nimitz Highway between Smith Street and Nuuanu Avenue. Medal of Honor recipients will be the guests of honor. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Oct. 6: MEDAL OF HONOR BOOK SIGNING ?9-11 a.m., and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet more than 50 Medal of Honor recipients at Hale Koa Hotel. Tickets cost $20 each. Only 500 tickets will be sold for each session. Each ticket includes a hardcover Medal of Honor quote book. Tickets need to be purchased ahead of time at medalofhonorconvention2012.com.
Oct. 6: PATRIOT AWARD DINNER ?4:30-10 p.m. A reception aboard the USS Missouri, followed by a gala awards dinner. Tickets cost $500 each and are available through Oct. 1. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $5,000. To purchase tickets or a table, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.