Rep. Tokuda Introduces Bill to Rename Hawaiʻi Island Post Office After Vietnam War Veteran Hero


There is a proposal in Congress to rename the Captain Cook Post Office after a deceased Vietnam War hero. (Courtesy /photo)

A bill was recently introduced in Congress to rename the Captain Cook Post Office after First Lieutenant John Kuulei Kauhaihao of Honaunau, who was killed in action in Vietnam and posthumously awarded the U.S. Army’s second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

“There are no amount of words to express my sincere gratitude to First Lieutenant Kauhaihao who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country and no words can express my deepest condolences to his family for their loss more than 50 years ago,” said U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), who introduced the bill. “First Lieutenant Kauhaihao exhibited extraordinary courage and heroism as he led and protected his soldiers in Vietnam. For that, he rightfully deserves to be recognized in the community he was born, where he lived, and where his beloved wife and family still reside.


“Our veterans are heroes and role models for the next generation, and we must honor and always remember the sacrifices they have made for our country.” added Tokuda, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

On Sept. 5, 1969, at the age of 27, Kauhaihao was fatally injured during a reconnaissance-in-force operation in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. When his platoon came under enemy fire, Kauhaihao launched over 30 grenades in 15 minutes at enemy bunkers while simultaneously drawing fire on himself so that his men could sight enemy gunners.

He is survived by his widow and Konawaena High School sweetheart, Shirley, and their four children.

“Our ‘ohana is so grateful to Congresswoman Tokuda for introducing this bill to honor John’s memory and legacy of service to our country,” said Shirley Kauhaihao. “It is our sincere hope that naming the post office after John will bring recognition to the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam War veterans who served and died, as well as those who came home and continue to serve their communities and country, especially those from Hawaii.

“John was an excellent husband, father, and man, and he loved his role as a soldier because he loved his country. He truly was the greatest.”

U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii is an original cosponsor of the bill.

If it becomes law, it would be the first time a post office has been named on Hawaii Island. The last time a post office was named in the state was 2011.

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