Honoring Vietnam War heroes

Standing on opposite ends of a montage of Maui soldiers (first photo) who died during the Vietnam War, Mike Schindler and Kimokeo Kapahulehua (not shown) blow conch shells to begin Wednesday evening’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial service at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku. The Maui Fallen Heros display was compiled by Janna Hoehn, who read the names of all those from Maui who died or are considered missing in action in Vietnam. As each of the 51 names was read, a bell was rung and family members, friends or others placed a lighted candle into a rack in the fallen hero’s honor.

Guest speaker Col. Chuck Probst (second photo) says history and the progress Vietnam has made since the war prove that America won. “Who really won that war?” Probst asked. “We did. You did.” Their homecomings from the war were often turbulent. He said he was spit on at San Francisco Airport for being in uniform. “Many struggled to reintegrate into society, and some of them never rejoined us,” he said. “Tonight we say, ‘Job well done. Welcome home. Mahalo.’ “

Hiram Kaukane (third photo) salutes after placing a candle in honor of Melvin Yamashita. Both Maui boys served in the 173rd Airborne. Kaukane said he returned home during the war to attend his friend’s burial service. The event sponsored by Maui County Veterans Council was held to mark the 39th anniversary of the end of the war.