Hickam honors WWII veterans with new C-17
By Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais
/ Published June 15, 2006
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) --
The delivery of the 7th of eight C-17 Globemaster IIIs here today brought 15th Airlift Wing and Pacific Air Forces Airmen together with World War II veterans.
The aircraft is christened The Spirit of “Go For Broke,” which is a tribute to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd fought fiercely in Europe in World War II, becoming the most decorated unit in the history of the U.S. military for its size and length of service.
The unit was composed of Japanese-American soldiers intent on proving their loyalty to the U.S. Many of their families were interned while they fought during the war.
To the members of the 442nd, Go for broke meant to be all-in, for better or worse. Ronald Oba, a former member of the 442nd, said it’s also the perfect slogan for the theater’s newest airlifter.
“I think it’s a great honor to have a plane named after our regiment,” he said. “No matter what we do, everything is ‘do the best you can,’ or ‘go for broke.’”
The aircraft taxied into the ceremony with members of the World War II unit aboard. Civilian photographers rapidly snapped photos of the veterans as they made their way from the jet to their seats accompanied by Hickam Airmen.
Brig. Gen. Peter S. Pawling, commander of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing at Hickam, compared the unit’s successes to those of the new jet.
“The C-17 has set more aviation records than any other airlifter in history,” said
Brig. Gen. Pawling. “And the 442nd earned more medals for valor than any U.S. military unit of its size during World War II.”
Hickam’s fleet of C-17 Globemaster IIIs allow Pacific Command, Pacific Air Forces, and 15th Airlift Wing leaders to respond to humanitarian efforts for theater allies as well as deliver military force where necessary.
It is the only wing outside the continental United States to permanently host the C-17.