Pacific Warfighting Center dedicated in honor of late congressman

The Pacific Warfighting Center on Ford Island has been renamed in honor of late Congressman Mark Takai.

Its new name, K. Mark Takai Pacific Warfighting Center, recognizes Takai’s many years of faithful service to Hawaii, the United States, and the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. Pacific Command hosted a dedication ceremony Wednesday.

“I remember just a year ago, following President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima, Congressman Takai invited Japan’s Prime Minister Abe to make a similar visit to Pearl Harbor in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Oahu, and sure enough, that important visit happened just right over there behind my left shoulder at the Arizona Memorial,” said Adm. Harry Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command.

“Congressman Takai was a visionary who fought for a better tomorrow for Hawaii, for our nation, and indeed the globe. President Obama said Mark was always a fighter. He stood up for America’s most vulnerable. He championed our troops and veterans and proudly wore our nation’s uniform. That’s exactly right, which brings me to why we’re here today, to pay tribute to an Army warrior and a son of Hawaii,” Harris continued.

Takai was a longtime member of the Hawaii State Legislature and a veteran of the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Elected in 2014 to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Takai served just 20 months in Congress before succumbing to pancreatic cancer on July 20, 2016. He was 49 years old.

“He absolutely loved the job. When he got to Congress, he fought hard for an appointment to the House Armed Services Committee. It wasn’t just given to him, because he felt so strongly that it was where he needed to be,” said Takai’s wife, Sami Takai. “Early on when he was in Congress, he was invited on a congressional delegation to Asia, and was the newest member of that delegation by far. … But even though he was new, his colleagues looked to him to be the voice for the military community, and he got to participate more than he could have ever dreamed possible.”

The K. Mark Takai Pacific Warfighting Center supports the U.S. Pacific Command’s joint and combined training, simulations, mission rehearsals, conferences, and world-wide collaboration events on Ford Island.

The two-story, 34,000 square-foot facility provides a robust, networked infrastructure for simulations that prepare U.S. forces to successfully conduct a full range of military operations, and support information exchange and collaboration among government and non-government agencies.

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