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Citadel News Service

Saturday, April 26, 2002 from The Post and Courier
Reprinted with permission.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii is saluted by Frank Christopher Baez of Honolulu and Kealiihooululahui M. Ichimura of Kaneohe (Hawaii) after laying a wreath at the grave of Gen. Mark W. Clark. Photo by Russell K. Pace.

Sen. Inouye joins Citadel barracks groundbreaking

BY SCHUYLER KROPF

     A U.S. senator who served under former Citadel president Mark Clark in World War II placed a wreath at the general's campus grave Friday and spoke of the need to support national defense.

    U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii spoke of the pride that filled thousands of Japanese-Americans who fought the Nazis and that of ordinary Americans fighting terrorism today.

    "Many people come up and say to me we're spending too much for defense," he said. "But as far as I'm concerned, if a young man or woman is willing to stand in harm's way in my behalf and in behalf of our nation, nothing is too good."

    He visited The Citadel to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for replacement of Padgett-Thomas Barracks, which were demolished last year for safety reasons.

    Inouye's reception was enthusiastic, in part because he pushed Congress to earmark $15 million in defense money to help replace the barracks. The replacement should be ready for the 2004 school year.

    Inouye was accompanied by fellow Senate Democrat Fritz Hollings, Citadel Class of '42.

    In a sense, the paths of the two senators first crossed on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, as the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Inouye, then 17, joined a first-aid litter team evacuating civilians wounded around Honolulu. Hollings, then a senior at The Citadel, listened to news of the attack inside his barracks room.

    Both men ended up serving in Europe during the war in units in Gen. Mark Clark's Fifth Army. In Italy, Inouye was shot in a gun battle with German troops on a heavily defended hill and lost his right arm. After recovering, he entered politics and is now in his seventh term in the Senate.

    Hollings pointed out that as a Japanese-American serving when others were being interned, Inouye "had to fight his country in order to fight his enemies."

    Inouye, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said he saw nothing out of line in appropriating federal dollars to rebuild the "P-T" barracks. Inside P-T, he said, the training of tomorrow's leaders will take place. "That is why the Congress felt it was appropriate to use taxpayers' money to participate in the construction of this building."

    Inouye helped secure $15 million in federal dollars for what is a $27 million project. It will house about 550 beds.

    The old barracks, raised in 1922 and razed last year, was the first built when the college moved to its present campus.

    Before leaving, Inouye announced another gift: He plans to get funding for a new, $2.8 million indoor rifle range for the school.