Midway, Wake may be given monument status
The U.S. Defense and Interior departments may have narrowed their list of recommendations for new national monuments in the Pacific.
James D'Angelo, president of the International Midway Memorial Foundation, said he believes Midway Atoll is on the short list, with consideration also being given to Wake Island.
The Arizona Memorial is expected to be on the list, and the National Park Service previously said it was interested in some sites on Ford Island receiving the designation.
President Bush in May proposed making Pearl Harbor a national monument alongside landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
While the USS Arizona Memorial serves as the final resting place for many members of the battleship's 1,177 crew, other objects of historic and scientific interest, including Ford Island, lie outside the memorial, the president said at the time.
National monument designation brings a lot of attention and the highest level of protection to sites that are designated.
D'Angelo, whose foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory and values of the Battle of Midway in World War II, would like to see the National Park Service join with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the atoll, in a Midway national monument.
He'd also like to see greater private-sector participation and more frequent tours to Midway to spur historic preservation on the atoll that's 1,250 miles northwest of Honolulu.
Both Midway and Wake Island had important roles in World War II. For 16 days at the start of the war, U.S. Marines put up a valiant fight against the Japanese on Wake Island, while the Battle of Midway turned the naval tide in favor of the U.S.
In January, Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the state of Hawai'i gave the San Francisco-based Oceanic Society a permit to conduct one-week excursions to Midway.
On its Web site, the Oceanic Society said it charges $4,890 for a trip to Midway, with 13 excursions planned for 2009. Historic-tour cruise ships also stop at Midway.
100TH BATTALION HEADS FOR TEXAS
The Army Reserve's 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, and about 500 soldiers recently completed a 29-day "mobilization readiness exercise" at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., in preparation for an October deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.
The unit will deploy with the Hawai'i National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade Combat team.
Following Saturday's send-off at Aloha Stadium, the approximately 1,700 soldiers will be heading to Fort Hood, Texas, for about two months of additional training.
The California exercise included weapons qualification courses, soldier skill refresher classes, warrior battle drills, operations in urban terrain, land navigation, gas-mask training, convoy operations, nonlethal-force training, and a convoy live-fire exercise.
"This is the first time the 100th Battalion has trained in one location as a battalion since World War II," said Brig. Gen. Alexander Kozlov, commander of the Pacific Army Reserve. "The majority of the soldiers in this unit are ethnic Polynesians with different languages and educational institutions, spread across seven time zones in two states, several territories and one commonwealth. ... This is why training together (at Fort Hunter Liggett) has such a big payoff."
STALDER TO LEAD MARINE FORCES PACIFIC
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder on Friday will assume command of Marine Forces Pacific, the largest field command in the Corps.
The headquarters for the command is at Camp Smith, but the change-of-command ceremony will be on the flight line at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The Pentagon announced in February that Stalder had been nominated for the command.
Stalder, who was commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., is replacing Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman, who took command of Marine Forces Pacific in August 2005.
Stalder has served as the commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, in Iraq, and as the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and deputy commanding general, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in Operation Iraqi Freedom I.
Reach William Cole at email@example.com.