2012 Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Grand Marshalls for the Kailua-Kona Independence Day Parade were six combat veterans from the Vietnam War era.

Among those saluted for their service and their dedication were:

U. S. Army Daniel Yoshida
U. S. Marine Corps Minoru Hanato
U. S. Navy Harry Pasco
U. S. AIr Force David Carlson
U. S. Coast Guard Doug Allen
Hawaii Army National Guard Arthur Mahi

Also honored were the families of several local Gold Star families.

Fireworks over Kailua Bay. Photography by Brad Ballesteros | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Fireworks over Kailua Bay. Photography by Brad Ballesteros | Special to Hawaii 24/7

The family of a military person killed in combat is called a GOLD STAR FAMILY. 276 Hawaii soldiers were killed in Vietnam and 19 of them were from West Hawaii. The unit is led by Gold Star Family member Drew Camacho, Vietnam Veteran Earl Regidor, and National Guardsman, Peter Angeleo, who served two tours in Iraq.

Gold Star Family member Pua Kauhaihao (cow-high-how) escorted a rider-less horse being led by Army Vietnam veteran, Clarence Medeiros, Jr. In military tradition, the riderless horse symbolizes the warrior or soldier who died on the battlefield and would ride no more. The boots set backwards in the stirrups symbolizes that the rider is looking back on his family one last time.

The parade honored Vietnam Veterans and four West Hawaii Gold Star Families and celebrate the freedom that their loved ones fought and died for in Vietnam for all of us.

Gold Star Family of Army 1st Lieutenant John Kauhaihao (cow-high-how) from Honaunau was represented by his wife, Shirley Kauhaihao, son John Kauhaihao, and daughter, Laurie Rocha. They are escorted by Vietnam veteran Stanley Kunitomo. Also escorting the family was Mary Katayama, widow of Vietnam veteran Charlie Katayama.

Fireworks over Kailua Bay. Photography by Brad Ballesteros | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Fireworks over Kailua Bay. Photography by Brad Ballesteros | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Gold Star Family of Army Sergeant 1st Class Rodney Yano from Kealakekua was represented by his brother Glenn Yano and his wife, Pauline. They were being escorted by Vietnam veterans Norman Takeoka and Councilman Angel Pilago.

Gold Star Family of Army Warrant Officer Wayne Hedemann from Kealakekua was represented by nieces, Ashley & Grace Hedemann. They were escorted by Vietnam veteran Melvin Kunitake.

Gold Star Family of Army Sergeant 1st Class Edward Loo, Jr. from Waimea was represented by his widow, Elaine Loo & daughter, Faelyn Loo-Jardine. They were escorted by Vietnam veteran Fusao Sugai.

Also saluted were Vietnam veterans: George Heloca and Jesse Valera.



1 Banner Carriers
2 JROTC Color Guard
3 Lions Club of Kona
4 Hawaii Fire Department
5 Cub Scouts
6 Boy Scouts – Aloha Council
7 – 12 Grand Marshals
13 Kealakehe Robotics Team
14 Governor Neil Abercrombie
15 Regency at Hualalai
16 Kona Shrine Club
17 Taggart Nakamoto
18 West Hawaii County Band
19 County of Hawaii
20 Hawaii County Police Department
21 Kona Community Hospital
22 Council Member Brenda Ford
23 Denny’s
24 West Hawaii National Parks
25 Dominic Yagong
26 Sheraton Keauhou Bay Hotel
27 Mitch Roth
28 Hawaii Meth Project
29 West Hawaii Today
30 Crossfit Ali’i
31 Daughters of the American Revolut
32 Mufi Hannermann
33 Kona United Methodist Church
34 National Federation of the Blind
35 Gold Star Families
36 Dru Kanuha
37 Karen Eoff
38 Maile David
39 Hospice of Kona
40 Camp Tarawa Detachment #1255
41 Kona Vet Center
42 Disabled American Veterans
43 Hawaii Army National Guard
44 Tulsi Gabbard
45 Hawaii Montessori Schools
46 Linda Lingle
47 Dolphin Journeys
48 Dave Bateman
49 Civil Air Patrol
50 Korean War Veterans
51 American Legion
53 Kona VA Clinic
54 West Hawaii Kapuna Softball
55 Bucky Leslie
56 Kona Commons
57 Advocats Hawaii
58 Auto Body Hawaii
59 Solar Wind Band
60 John Betlach – Stilt Walker
61 Jack Alexander
62 Filipino Americans of West Hawaii
63 Veterans of Foreign Wars
64 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla
65 Kona Elks Lodge 2616
66 Nouveau Gypsy Belly Dancers
67 Hawaiian Solar
68 Roy Ebert
69 West Hawaiian Ocean Adventures
70 Lincoln Ashida
71 Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill
72 Democratic Party of Hawaii County
73 Red Light Taxi
74 Echo City Derby Dolls
75 Volunteer Fire Co, #7 Bravo

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