There is a new Warrior on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus, a 12-foot tall statue of a Hawaiian warrior from the time of King Kamehameha that stands for all of the Fallen Warriors from the storied UH ROTC, the university’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corp, founded in 1914.
“We have a long and proud history here at the University of Hawaiʻi ROTC program,” said UH Cadet Lt. Col. Claire Yakabe. “We were one of the only programs in the country, who was battle streamers, who was activated during World War II during the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
At a May 9, 2014 dedication ceremony for the memorial attended by more than 100 people, 16 chairs sat empty, each representing a Fallen Warrior, a UH ROTC cadet or cadre member killed in combat during World War II, the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One by one, cadets read a brief biography of each soldier and how they were killed in the line of duty. They then placed a white rose on each chair, or presented it to family members able to attend.
A short time later, to a thunderous applause, the statue, hand carved from a single monkeypod tree by master carver Tuione Pulotu, was unveiled.
“For my family, our biggest fear is that Nainoa would be forgotten,” said Alan Hoe about his son Army Lt. Nainoa Hoe, one of UH’s Fallen Warriors. “It’s things and moments and ceremonies like this that basically reassures us that he will never be forgotten.”
“To see this statue being placed here in honor of the cadets and the cadre members who have gone before us and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, it’s just really important and special so we can always remember our roots and where we are going in the future,” said Yakabe.
First conceived of in 2006, the memorial was funded by private donations and fundraisers by cadets and supporters. The dedication ceremony ended with a powerful tribute and blessing—a Warrior oli written specifically for Mānoa.
The Fallen Warrior statue stands at the front of the ROTC facilities across the Les Murakami Baseball Stadium on lower campus, and will forever serve as a reminder of the UH ROTC members who died in service of their country.
Mānoa Warrior oli
Hawaiʻi Army National Guard 1st Lt. Jerrod Avegalio performs a warrior oli at the May 9, 2014 dedication ceremony of the Fallen Warrior statue.