The following blog was written by Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, Commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific about Senator Inouye’s story and his commitment to the people and the Navy.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s dedication to the people of Hawaii for more than half a century was unparalleled. His commitment to a strong national defense base in the Pacific was unmatched.
Well known and well chronicled are his courage on the battlefield, honor in the halls of Congress, and commitment to a strong and ready military. What I remember most, though, was his warm and generous nature, always showing the spirit of Aloha in all he did. He was a teacher and a mentor.
As the incoming commander for Navy Region Hawaii, I met with Senator Inouye in his office in Washington, D.C. Despite his busy schedule as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he showed a personal interest in me, my new command and our Navy. We spent an extended time “talking story” about family, service, sacrifice and his love of Hawaii — for the people of the ‘aina and for the natural beauty of the islands.
Senator Inouye was a true visionary. He valued education, supported innovation and championed new and renewable sources of energy. He also knew that protecting global commerce at sea meant jobs and a growing economy back home.
Demonstrating his devotion to our military and their families, he made a special point to participate wherever possible in ground breaking ceremonies or grand openings at our installations — from operational facilities at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai to the newest Ford Island Child Development Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam last October.
Throughout his lifetime, Senator Inouye epitomized honor, courage and commitment. He cared for and about people. He believed in inclusion, cooperation and strength of character. He believed that a strong military — ready at all times — can prevent war. He was a truly great American hero, and he will be missed.