Gates Honors 66-Year Federal Employee at Retirement
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam, May. 30, 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates paid tribute to a legendary figure here who was retiring from the federal government with 66 years of service.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, left, presents the Outstanding Civilian Career Service award to Seikichi Kaneshiro during his retirement ceremony on Anderson Air Force Base, Guam Friday, May 30, 2008. Kaneshiro retired after 66 years of federal service. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jerry Morrison
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gates lauded Seikichi "Mr. Paul" Kaneshiro for embodying the principles of Americanism during Kaneshiro’s retirement today as the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's vertical repair superintendent during ceremonies at the base theater.
“Our country is only as strong as its citizens and their willingness to serve the greater good,” Gates said. “In this respect, Mr. Paul is an example to us all -- an example of the extraordinary service required to keep our nation safe, prosperous and strong.”
A native of Hilo, Hawaii, Kaneshiro joined the Army in 1943 and served for three years with 522nd Field Artillery in Germany, France and Italy. His unit was part of the famed 442nd “Go for Broke!” Battalion made up of Japanese-American soldiers who collectively earned 20 Medals of Honor and seven Presidential Unit Citations.
After the war, Kaneshiro began working as a woodcraftsman at Hickam Air Depot in Hawaii. He came to Guam in 1946 for what he expected to be a two-year stint helping to rebuild the island after Typhoon Querida.
But 62 years later, Kaneshiro is still in Guam, where he rose through the ranks to become Andersen Air Force Base’s vertical repair superintendent.
Gates hailed Kaneshiro as “a man who traveled halfway around the world to fight for freedom on Europe’s battleground and who spent the rest of his career supporting generations of men and women devoted to keeping the world safe from tyranny.”
Kaneshiro’s handiwork is everywhere at the base. “He has helped construct Andersen from the ground up, literally,” Gates said.
He designed and built countless storage cabinets, conference room tables and display cases -- most from solid oak. He has designed and overseen the construction of several buildings, including the Airman Leadership School and the command post, which took two and a half years of planning.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Owens, commander of 36th Wing here, praised Kaneshiro for his “distinguished and long-serving career.” Owens noted that Kaneshiro recently restored the base’s dedication plaque -- one originally dedicated when he was on duty here in April 1950 -- for the Air Force’s 60th anniversary.
“He has been a valued team member who represents the history of Andersen Air Force Base,” Owens said.