Army History Rich with Service, Sacrifice

Army History Rich with Service, Sacrifice

Speakers at AUSA leadership forum
Photo by: AUSA/Jared Lieberher

Soldiers serving today must never forget the sacrifice and legacy of those who came before them, Army veteran and Gold Star father Allen Hoe told a group of about 120 emerging leaders.

Speaking May 14 during the Association of the U.S. Army’s LANPAC Leadership Forum, held in conjunction with the association’s LANPAC Symposium and Exposition in Honolulu, Hoe highlighted for the young leaders the service, sacrifice and heroics of native Hawaiian soldiers who served from World War II through today.

Among them were the men who served in the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Japanese American soldiers who fought for the United States during World War II despite facing discrimination and distrust from their countrymen. The 442nd, whose motto was “Go for Broke,” is one of the most highly decorated units in Army history.

The LANPAC Leadership Forum, hosted by AUSA’s Center for Leadership, featured about 120 mid-grade officers and NCOs from all three Army components and allied and partner militaries in the Indo-Pacific.

With a theme of “Joint and Coalition Team Building in the Indo-Pacific,” the forum aims to professionally develop and inspire leaders.

Service is a key part of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture, said Hoe, a native Hawaiian who grew up hearing about his family’s warrior class history.

Drafted at 19, Hoe became a combat medic, serving first in California and then Vietnam. He spent 10 months in combat, earning a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Combat Medic Badge, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs biography.

After his Army service, Hoe enrolled in college, eventually earning a law degree. He and his wife, Adele, had two sons, Nainoa and Nakoa, and both carried on the family’s legacy of service by joining the military, according to the VA biography.

In January 2005, 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe was killed in a sniper attack in Mosul, Iraq. He was 27. He was carrying the flag his father had given him from his time in Vietnam.

“My ohana, or family, legacy that I’m most proud of are my two sons,” Hoe said.

He challenged the soldiers in the room to observe and take to heart lessons from those who came before them. “That is the challenge for all you … leaders out there, to inspire the young soldiers who serve under you,” Hoe said. “A truly successful warrior possesses a unique skill set and charisma. How else will you convince young men and women to follow you to hell and back?”

America continues to be blessed with exemplary men and women who volunteer to serve, Hoe said. This is why “we must fulfill our duty to never forget our fallen,” he said.

For soldiers serving today, the words duty, honor and country “reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be,” Hoe said. “They are your rallying points for courage when courage seems to fail, for faith when there’s little cause for it.”

Every little bit of effort and time spent with soldiers is worth it, Hoe said. “If you think what you do in front of your troops on a daily basis doesn’t make a difference, it does,” he said. “Trust is all about the guy on your left, the guy on your right, and what you do to make sure that guy survives.”