WHT at 50: Fishing, rain, and Hawaii’s first Vietnam War casualty

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1969 | Volume II, Issue I

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1969 | Volume II, Issue I



“Kealakekua Soldier Is State’s First Vietnam Casualty Of ‘69”

No byline

Staff Sgt. Rodney J. Yano, 25, of Kealakekua, became Hawaii’s first casualty of the Vietnam War for 1969. Yano, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Yano of Kealakekua, was fatally wounded while on a combat mission with the Air Cavalry Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

The incident occurred on New Year’s Day when Yano was hit by fragments from a grenade that exploded as he was attempting to throw it. He was rushed to a medical field facility but died shortly afterward from the injuries he suffered.

Yano had been awarded the Air Medal for flying 25 missions into hostile territory in Vietnam and also the Meritorious Service Award for valor in action. Yano joined the Army shortly after graduating from Konawaena School in 1961.

Yano was the Big Island’s 21st Vietnam War casualty and the 173rd serviceman from the state of Hawaii to die in action there.

“Rains Blanket West Hawaii”

No byline

The first surprise of the new year came this week in the form of unseasonal rains that blanketed West Hawaii, from Kohala to Ka’u, over a period of four straight days. Driven by winds of 30-40 mph, pelting rains lashed the leeward side of the island, with up to 6 inches of rain falling from Friday through Monday.

Police reported numerous instances of high waters over the roads, especially in the areas of lava flows one and two. No injuries had been reported. January is normally a dry time in Kona.

“Big Island’s First Mayor!”

Standalone photo

Chief Justice William S. Richardson administers the oath of office to the Big Island’s first mayor, Shinuchi Kimura, at the county building in Hilo. The Rev. K. Boshard of Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua gave the inaugural benediction.


“Kohalan Is First West Hawaii Baby”

No byline

Little Miss Jodie Bertrille Kaleionamoku Marquez was the baby born in the New Year in West Hawaii. She was born at 10:29 a.m. Jan. 2 at Kohala Hospital. The proud parents were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Marquez of Kapaau.

“Year-End Tally” By Herb Price

The 1968 final marlin tally on the Kona offshore grounds, including Pacific blue, black and striped and silver marlin, reached 621. The all-time high stands at 772 boated in 1967. The biggest Pacific blue marlin of the year was a 933-pounder boated by anglerette Barbara Redburn of California on June 10. The current world record is shared by Hale Erickson of California, who boated on May 23, 1967, a 1,100-pound Pacific blue marlin, and Andre D’Hotman de Villiers, who boated an 1,100-pound blue marlin in the Indian Ocean off Mauritus on Feb. 20, 1966.

Nevertheless, the biggest Pacific blue marlin ever boated was an 1,148 pounder by Sherwyn Woods of California. Woods disqualified himself from a world record because he received an assist from a deckhand. This fish is displayed at King Kamehameha Hotel.

Weekly deals:

At Oshima Store: Kodak film, CX126 20s for $1.49; Miko franks, one pound for $0.54 and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, four for $0.67.

At K. Taniguchi Super Markets: Center Slice ham, $1.19 per pound; mainland pork butts, $0.49; and Temt luncheon meat, two 12-ounce cans for $0.79.

At Sure Save Super Markets: Hot dog in a bun, two for $0.15; Kona pumpkin, half or whole, $0.09 per pound; Hawaii-grown Chinese cabbage, $0.12 per pound; and an electric can opener for $4.95.

KK Super Mart (Honokaa): Hawaiian flour, five pound bag for $0.55; Darigold butter, one pound for $0.85; and C&H Sugar, five pound bag for $0.69.

At Kamigaki Store: Skippy peanut butter, 18 ounces for $0.64; Mauna Kea guava juice, 46 ounces, two for $0.69; and Del Monte Chunk Style Tuna, three cans for $0.89.

Featured films:


At Aloha Theatre: “Navajo Joe” featuring Burt Reynolds and Tanya Lopert; “Jigsaw” starring Harry Guardino and Michael J. Pollard; and “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas” with Leigh-Taylor-Young and Peter Sellers.

At Kona Theatre: Shirley Maclane and Peter Sellers in “Female 70 Times 7” plus “The Violent Ones;” Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra in “Speedway” co-featuring “A Matter Of Innocence” with Hayley Mills; and Enami Kyoko in “Onna Tobakushi Deisu Yen Joi.” For adults only, “Nemureru Bijo” (House of Sleeping Virgins); “Brand of Shame;” and “Love Root.’

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